Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) host Rajasthan Royals (RR) at Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali on Tuesday. The Ravichandran Ashwin-led side have won 4 and lost 4 matches so far in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019. KXIP have been inconsistent with their performance so far. They lost their previous match against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) which was their first loss at home (in 4 matches). On the other hand, RR have managed to win just 2 matches out of 7 outings. The Ajinkya Rahane-led side won their previous match against Mumbai Indians (MI) at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Opener Jos Buttler's 43-ball 89 was the cornerstone of Rajasthan's chase of 188 against Mumbai. He was supported well by Rahane's 37 and Sanju Samson's 31 to achieve the victory target.
The only other match which Rajasthan won was against RCB, in which Buttler again played a key role, hitting 59 runs when his team was chasing a target of 159.
If Buttler boosts Royals' batting, Kings XI have Chris Gayle, who smashed an unbeaten 99 to single-handedly anchor Punjab to 173 against RCB in the previous game.
Other Punjab opener KL Rahul also have been in good form but his 64-ball unbeaten 100 too went in vain when MI chased down 197 to hand them a three-wicket loss.
The bowling attack of Kings XI has been good only in patches. They failed to defend 197 against MI the other day with Kieron Pollard's knock of 31-ball 83 blowing them away. In their last game against RCB, Punjab's bowling again failed as they allowed the opposition overhaul the target of 173 with four balls to spare.
Mohammad Shami, Andrew Tye and all-rounder Sam Curran bled too many runs to hurt the hosts and they will need to bowl a tight line to support skipper Ravichandran Ashwin, who has the ability to frustrate even top batsmen with his intelligent bowling.
"We let ourselves down on the field. We have a few more games at home and we need to string some wins and gain some momentum," Ashwin had said.
Kings XI have the likes of Mayank Agarwal, David Miller, Sam Curran and Mandeep Singh to bolster their batting, but they will need to play good knocks to support their openers.
For Rajasthan, Buttler has been the top-scorer but their batting line-up also includes skipper Rahane, Samson and Steve Smith and they will need to deliver to confront Kings XI at IS Bindra PCA stadium here.
Rajasthan Royals pacer Jofra Archer has troubled the batsmen with his fast bouncers and deadly yorkers and would look for another good outing Tuesday.
Among others, seamers Jaydev Unadkat and Dhawal Kulkarni along with spinner Shreyas Gopal would have to deliver for their skipper if they have to stay alive and make it to the Playoffs.
English all-rounder Ben Stokes, who failed to defend 18 runs in the last over against Chennai Super Kings, had missed the last match due to an injury and it remains to be seen if he makes a comeback against Punjab.
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (capt), Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, Ashton Turner, Ish Sodhi, Oshane Thomas, Liam Livingstone, Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson (wk), Shubham Ranjane, Stuart Binny, Shreyas Gopal, Sudhesan Midhun, Jaydev Unadkat, Prashant Chopra, Mahipal Lomror, Aryaman Birla, Riyan Parag, Dhawal Kulkarni, Krishnappa Gowtham, Varun Aaron, Shashank Singh, Manan Vohra, Rahul Tripathi.
Kings XI Punjab: Ravichandran Ashwin (capt), KL Rahul (wk), Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Sarfaraz Khan, David Miller, Mandeep Singh, Sam Curran, Andrew Tye, Murugan Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb Ur Rehman, Karun Nair, Moises Henriques, Varun Chakravarthi, Harpreet Brar, Simran Singh, Nicholas Pooran, Hardus Viljoen, Ankit Rajpoot, Arshdeep Singh, Darshan Nalkande, Agnivesh Ayachi.
Match starts at 8 pm IST
(With PTI inputs)