Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) clash in a must-win match in match 50 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 encounter at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi. A win for either side will keep their hopes of making it to the playoffs alive. The previous encounter between these two sides was a memorable one as it saw RR record the highest successful run-chase in IPL history and or KXIP, it was the first of five continuous defeats they would go on to suffer.
It is RR who have a superior record over KXIP in IPL, having won 11 and lost nine in the 20 matches, but the Kings have won three out of the previous five encounters.
HEAD-TO-HEAD IN IPL
Overall: Matches – 20 | RR – 11 Wins | KXIP – 9 Wins
Last 5 matches: RR – 2 Wins | KXIP – 3 Wins
Suggested teamsWhile you could go for the above team, you also have the option of choosing your own team from cricket.com's Fantasy Research Centre. Based on algorithms we come up with six different teams that could fetch crucial points.
Batsmen have found it hard to score runs at Abu Dhabi as the run-rate of 7.9 depicts, however, they have not thrown away their wickets at the same time with one falling every 23 deliveries, which is the highest balls per wicket ratio among the three IPL 2020 venues.
The average first and second innings scores are 163 and 149 respectively, which are the lowest when compared to Dubai (173 & 150) and Sharjah (187 & 169).
Out of the 16 matches at the venue the team chasing have won on nine occasions (including a Super Over) and that has been the case even in the last five matches, the teams chasing have won on four occasions. With the pitches getting drier the bowlers too are getting good purchase off the wickets and it should be a good contest between bat and ball. We might see the captains winning the toss and batting first.
Despite the tracks drying up, the fast bowlers rule the roost at Abu Dhabi, picking up over 69% of the wickets. However, they have the worst bowling average (31.7) and bowling strike-rate (23.8) compared to pacers bowling at Sharjah or Dubai. But it is the exact opposite for spinners at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium as the runs per wicket ratio (30.5) and balls per wickets ratio0 (26.6) is the best.
Another fact to be noted is that while there is a notion that the spinners are getting into the game much more, it is however not true. At the halfway stage of the tournament (till match 30), the pacers accounted for 65.4% of the wickets at Abu Dhabi and that has only further gone up to 69.1% since. Hence, the simple advice would be to stock your team with pacers, with one maybe two quality spinners, which both RR and KKR have at their disposal.
There could also be a few interesting match-ups to look forward to.
KL Rahul has been in sensational form this season so far, as has Jofra Archer. The clash between two heavyweights will surely be a mouth-watering affair, but it has been rather one-sided. The KXIP skipper is yet to be dismissed by Archer while scoring at a strike-rate of close to 170 against him. In the previous encounter in Sharjah, Rahul took 20 from 12 balls off Archer, smashing him for four boundaries along the way.
Jos Buttler has struggled against Mohammed Shami over the years they have come face-to-face in a T20 match. Shami’s pace coupled with some swing usually does the batsmen in mostly especially early on in the innings and Buttler is no different. After starting off as an opener in the tournament, Buttler has become more of a finisher for RR. Shami, who could also bowl a couple of overs at the death, has dismissed the England wicketkeeper two out of four times, giving absolutely nothing away.
Chris Gayle’s return has given KXIP a new hope. Ben Stokes on the other hand has not bowled much this tournament and RR might keep it that way especially if Gayle is at the crease. The swashbuckling West Indies batsman has taken 47 off 21 balls against Stokes in T20s and has been dismissed just once. Will be interesting to see which column will go up if these two come together again.
In the first seven matches of the tournament, KL Rahul scored 387 runs at 64.5, but KXIP won just one. In the next five matches, he slammed 208 runs at 52, but his side tasted victories in all five – an indication of the other batsmen stepping up to the plate. While the average has taken a considerable dip, it must be noted that they are not all that bad. With every game now potentially a must-win for KXIP, they will need Rahul to deliver once again. The fact that he has not scored more than 30 in any of the last three innings is a worry, but we can expect the KXIP to come good given the magnitude of the match. He has an excellent record against RR too, having scored 344 runs at a strike-rate of 127.4, which includes four fifties from eight innings.
Our Criclytics player projector predicts Rahul could score 17-40 runs in this match.
Not surprisingly, Gautam Gambhir too has picked Rahul as his captain for his fantasy team. Here's a look at his full team:
KXIP are yet to lose a game this season in which Chris Gayle has played. Gayle has already notched up two fifties from five innings already and has further added to the depth of his team’s batting. His 29-ball 51 against KKR in the previous match was just another proof of why Gayle is the best T20 batsman of all time. We could expect more fireworks from the West Indies batsman.
Our Criclytics player projector predicts Gayle could score 16-39 runs in this match.
Ben Stokes is slowly but surely turning the heat on in this IPL and his unbeaten 107 against Mumbai Indians is a true testament of what he can do on his day. The fact that he does not bowl as much is a worry, but his batting is more than good enough to fetch you the important points. His knock with the bat could very well spur him on to do well with the ball as well, you never know! With the one big innings out of the way, we might see a much more consistent version of Stokes, which could not have come at the right for RR.
Our Criclytics player projector predicts Stokes could score 13-36 runs and pick up 0-1 wickets in this match.
The ever-reliable Jofra Archer has scalped 17 wickets 18.82 this season and he seems to be in no mood to stop. He does most of the damage in the first six overs – a phase in which he has picked up eight wickets at 13 and with a miserly economy rate of 4.7. Archer has induced 37.1% false shots in the first six overs, which is the best among bowlers who have picked up at least a wicket, further proof of the chances he has created.
Our Criclytics player projector predicts Archer could pick up 0-1 wickets in this match.