IPL7: Rajasthan Royals Seek Victory Against Kings XI Punjab to Seal Playoff Berth
Fourth in the points table, Rajasthan Royals would look to seal a playoff berth when they play Kings XI Punjab in Mohali on Friday. Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad are also in the hunt for the spot, which makes this match a must-win game for the Royals.
As the scramble for the top four positions has set off, Kings XI Punjab have not much to worry even as they look to consolidate their position at the top while a victory for Rajasthan Royals is a must when the two teams clash on Friday.
Punjab, who lost to Mumbai Indians here on Wednesday, are currently on top of the table with 18 points from 12 outings. Rajasthan have 14 points from 12 matches, the same as Kolkata Knight Riders but they are placed third due to slightly better net run-rate. (Drifted in the middle overs against MI, says Sanjay Bangar)
The Royals, champions of the inaugural edition, have been performing according to expectations with some little-known players contributing massively to their success. However, they are coming into this match after a 25-run loss against Mumbai Indians, paying the price for resting key players such as Steven Smith and Ajinkya Rahane.
Barring opener Karun Nair's 48 and Brad Hodge's 40 and James Faulkner's 31 down the order, none of their other top-half batsmen contributed significantly as Mumbai won by 25 runs after setting a target of 179 for the Royals.
Smith and Rahane are likely to make a comeback and need to fire against Punjab, who are on a roll despite suffering defeat at the hands of Mumbai Indians on Wednesday.
Setting a reasonable target of 157, KXIP lost to Mumbai Indians, with their opening batsman Lendl Simmons leading his side to victory with an unbeaten ton. After disappointing local fans, before whom the Kings XI made their first appearance of this season, the George Bailey side will look to do better in the next two home games.
The collapse of their middle order against Mumbai would be a concern and the team will look to sort that out. The good thing for the local outfit this season has been the ability of a range of their players to come up and perform unlike in the past when they banked heavily on a couple of players.
Local fans would hope for another big knock from Glenn Maxwell, who has enthralled the people with his fearless big-hitting batting.