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Steven Smith’s and Co. are set to lock horns with Kings Xl Punjab in what will be the 9th match of the Indian Premier League 2020. Both teams will be coming into the match on the back of wins. RR stunned the 2019 runners-up CSK by scoring a thumping 216 runs which proved too many for the Men in Yellow as they fell short by 16 runs.

Rajasthan Royals despite without their key players- Ben Stokes and Jos Butler did a very good job in the match against CSK and will be looking to repeat the same. Their key player once again could be Sanju Samson, who blasted six maximums and did a very good job behind the stumps as well. 

KXIP on the other hand come into this match after defeating RCB by one of the largest margins in the history of IPL. After losing their first match to Delhi Capitals after a poor show in the super over. KXIP needed the win badly and the captain once again led them from the front by scoring a whopping 132* of a mere 69 balls. RCB were left clueless as they were dismissed for 109 runs which is now the lowest score in this season.

With both teams in stunning form and having scored more than 200 in their last match. This much looks very promising to be a thriller and have a tight finish. Can RR stay undefeated? Or will K.L Rahul prove to be the difference again for KXlP?

Head to Head

Matches Played- 19, Rajasthan Royals- 10, KXIP- 8, Tied- 1

Team News

The Rajasthan Royals camp will be more than happy to welcome back Jos Butler to the line-up. The addition of Jos Butler is likely to be at the expense of David Miller but the inclusion will definitely boost the RR top-order. Ben Stokes is yet to join the RR camp, as he is still in New Zealand owing to personal reasons.

KXIP have not reported any injuries and are likely to play the same winning combination that played against RCB.

Pitch and Conditions

The pitch in Sharjah has been doing wonders for the batsman and is likely to continue the same way as it is. Given that, the spinners will also have their say once the pitch slows down as we saw in the previous matches.

The weather is reported to be clear with the temperature expected to hover in the 30-32 degree range which is lower than usual. The humidity though is expected to be the higher side.

With due playing a crucial role in most of the matches, the team winning the toss will likely look bat second.

Probable Playing Xl

Rajasthan Royals (RR): Robin Uthappa, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson (wk), Steven Smith (c), Jos Butler, Riyan Parag, Shreyas Gopal, Tom Curran, Jofra Archer, Rahul Tewatia, Jaydev Unadkat

Kings Xl Punjab (KXlP): Lokesh Rahul (c & wk), Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, Sarfaraz Khan, James Neesham, Murugan Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Sheldon Cottrell

Key Battles

Jofra Archer (RR) vs K.L Rahul (KXlP)

Jofra Archer (RR) vs K.L Rahul (KXlP)

The KXIP captain is in prime touch and is the second highest run scorer in the tournament only behind Chennai Super kings star batsman Faf du Plessis, but Rahul has played one match less than the South African. It would need something really special to stop the Right-hander and RR will be hoping they get him early as he could take the game away from opposition in no time.

RR have Jofra Archer, the 25-year old has is turning out to be a world-class bowler and is already considered to be one of best bowlers in England. He is not someone who can easily be outrun by even the most in-form batsman. It will definitely be a well fought battle between the two.

Will the KXlP captain continue his sheer dominance? Or will the English all-rounder have the last laugh?

Sanju Samson (RR) vs Sheldon Cottrell (KXIP)

Sanju Samson (RR) vs Sheldon Cottrell (KXIP)

The wicket-keeper batsman demolished the CSK bowlers by clearing the fence on a whopping nine occasions. He amassed 74 runs of a mere 32 deliveries which helped RR notch up 216, which is now the highest team total in this edition of the Indian Premier League. Apart from his stunning batting he also did a brilliant job behind the stumps. He is someone the Punjab team would have definitely done intense homework on as they would be hoping to get his wicket as early as possible.

The West Indian Sheldon Cottrell as expected did showcase some stunning skills with the ball. He claimed the crucial wickets of Devdutt Padiakkal and the RCB captain Virat Kohli which sealed the game for the KXIP. He is a bowler who loves taking up challenges and seldom bowls anything in favor of the batsman. 

Can the youngster win the battle against the ex-army personnel? Or will he be a victim of the customary Salut of the West Indian?

Prediction

Both the teams come into the match with momentum on their sides and have some really good high caliber players. Kings Xl Punjab will be playing their first match in Sharjah while Rajasthan Royals their second. That might give a slight edge to the home team. Rajasthan Royals have a very well balanced team and do not depend on a single player to win the game. 

Kings Xl Punjab on the other side depend lot on their captain and Mayank Agarwal. As we saw in the first game first against Delhi Capitals, it was Mayank Agarwal who helped them take the game to the super over.  With the addition of Jos Butler to the RR side, the team looks the one to beat in this tournament.

Cricwizz predicts Rajasthan Royals to win the match