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IPL 2019, KXIP vs RR - Kings XI Punjab vs Rajasthan Royals - All eyes on Ashwin and Buttler in this round of battles

While the post-Mankad meeting of Ashwin and Buttler would be the most anticipated duel, there are a few other key player-battles that might actually add a nice sub-plot to the KXIP vs RR clash on Tuesday.

cricket Updated: Apr 16, 2019 17:31 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
IPL,IPL 2019,Indian Premier League
(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 25, 2019 Rajasthan Royals' Jos Buttler (L) exchanges words with Kings XI Punjab's Ravichandran Ashwin (2nd R) during the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. (AFP)

The last time Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals played against each other in the Indian Premier League (IPL), it led to the biggest controversy that the league has seen this year. KXIP captain R Ashwin ‘mankaded’ Rajasthan Royals batsman Jos Buttler and that changed the course of the match. KXIP have built on that success since while Rajasthan Royals have found the going tough. When these two teams lock horns for a re-match, this time at the home ground of KXIP at Mohali, all eyes will be on how Ashwin and Buttler fare against each other.

Of course , there is the larger picture of a play-off berth at stake, where KXIP with four wins under their belt are better placed than the Royals, but it will actually be the player-battle that would be a matter of grave interest among many. While the post-Mankad meeting of Ashwin and Buttler would be the most anticipated duel, there are a few other key player-battles that might actually add a nice sub-plot to the KXIP vs RR clash on Tuesday.

Ajinkya Rahane vs R Ashwin

The captain vs captain duel gets an altogether different meaning when KXIP take on RR. KXIP captain Ashwin has tormented Rahane to a great extent in the IPL, further exposing the Royals’ captain’s weakness against the off-spinners. Ashwin has dismissed Rahane four times and he doesn’t even allow Rahane to score at a run-ball. In the 30 balls that Ashwin has bowled to Rahane, he has given away only 28 runs.

Chris Gayle vs Dhawal Kulkarni

Not many bowlers in the world could claim to have an upper hand against the big-hitting West Indian talisman Chris Gayle but Dhawal Kulkarni is among those very few who actually can. The Royals’ medium pacer has had Gayle’s number in the IPL. Kulkarni has dismissed Gayle three times and has conceded only 43 runs in the 40 balls he had bowled to him, largely in the powerplay. Needless to say, it would once again be upon Kulkarni to send Gayle back in the hut early.

KL Rahul vs Jaydev Unadkat

Rahul has been in scintillating form this IPL and if you are Jaydev Unadkat, waiting to take the new ball against him, then there is enough reason for you to worry. Rahul has been severe against Unadkat, hitting him for 46 runs in 27 balls at a strike rate of 170.37. While Kulkarni has been doing a fine job for Royals, Ajinkya Rahane would be hoping that Unadkat too can turn the tables on Rahul.

Jos Buttler vs Mohammed Shami

A modern version of AB de Villiers up against a rejuvenated Indian fast bowler. When Jos Butler comes out to open the batting against Shami, it promises to be mouth-watering contest. The numbers too suggest that it’s going to be a tough battle between the two. Shami has dismissed Buttler once conceding only 18 runs off 15 balls.

Sanju Samson vs Andrew Tye

The Australian fast bowler has not been at his best in the league so far and Sanju Samson too has blown hot and cold but one thing is for certain that both of them have the ability to win matches for their teams when they get going. Tye and Samson have up against each other only once and that round went to the Australian when he sent Samson back on his third ball. But one can bet that the young Indian keeper would be eyeing revenge soon.

First Published: Apr 16, 2019 17:30 IST