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IPL 2019: Ashwin-Buttler face again, as KXIP, Rajasthan Royals look for momentum

Rajasthan Royals coming into the game having beaten Mumbai Indians. KXIP lost the last two and would be seeking to improve their game all-round.

cricket Updated: Apr 16, 2019 08:43 IST
Shalini Gupta
Shalini Gupta
Hindustan Times, Mohali
IPL 2019,KXIP,Rajasthan Royals
File image of R Ashwin, Jos Buttler(AFP)

The last time Rajasthan Royals faced Kings XI Punjab, skipper Ravichandran Ashwin ‘Mankading’ Jos Buttler whipped up a story, overshadowing the victory in Jaipur.

The scars may still not be healed as over the last few days Ashwin has defended his action and the RR opener said he had asked the spinner if that is how he wanted to play the game.

It would be interesting to see how the two protagonists approach the return game here on Tuesday. More than them, both the side will have to prove their mettle. KXIP are lying fifth in the points table, a slot below the cut-off for play-off, while Royals are seventh, only above bottom-placed Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Rajasthan Royals coming into the game having beaten Mumbai Indians. KXIP lost the last two and would be seeking to improve their game all-round. Against RCB in the last game, Chris Gayle’s 99 runs was the only saving grace in what turned out to be a poor result at home for KXIP.

Kings XI, however, will hope KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal fire at the top and back Gayle. Their middle order has been scratchy, but top-order runs can give them the buffer they need.

In the bowling department, Mohammed Shami and Ashwin will have to deliver if they are to stop Buttler, Steve Smith and Ben Stokes. Ajinkya Rahane’s captaincy is under the scanner due to poor results, and one change could be the inclusion of Australian all-rounder Ashton Turner in the playing eleven.

Last month, Turner, caused ripples with his match-winning 84 in Mohali as Australia chased down a record target of 359 to level the ODI series, which the visitors went on to win. However, it would be a tough call as RR will have to drop one of the four foreign players to include Turner.

It was Buttler’s 89 runs that fashioned RR’s win over Mumbai Indians in the last game. Having won just two games, RR will know the enormity of their task as KXIP have been outstanding at home, barring the last game against RCB.

First Published: Apr 15, 2019 19:52 IST

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