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Recent Match Report – Kings XI Punjab vs Rajasthan Royals 9th Match 2020



Rajasthan Royals 226 for 6 (Samson 85, Tewatia 53, Smith 50, Shami 3-53) beat Kings XI Punjab 223 for 2 (Agarwal 106, Rahul 69) by four wickets

As it unfolded, it felt like a match that defied logic in every way possible. But by the time the Rajasthan Royals were done mowing down a target of 224 – an IPL record – the scorecard reflected one bit of cold, hard T20 logic: the team that hits more sixes wins. Kings XI Punjab hit 11 sixes – seven coming off the bat of Mayank Agarwal, who made a scintillating 106 off 50 balls – and the Royals hit 18.

Sanju Samson hit seven of those sixes while scoring a second successive half-century for the first time in his IPL career. His 42-ball 85 was more reward for the intense training he did during cricket’s Covid-19 hiatus, which enabled him to take his natural ball-striking ability and turn it into an instrument of almost scientific precision.

Samson put on 81 for the second wicket with Steven Smith in just 40 balls, putting the Royals well in touch with their asking rate. They then promoted Rahul Tewatia – their only left-hander – to No. 4, and the move was beginning to look like one of the most ill-judged tactical interventions in IPL history when he struggled to hit the ball off the square and crawled to 8 off 19 balls. But the six-hitting ability that he possesses came into view just when the Royals seemed out of it. Tewatia smacked Sheldon Cottrell for five sixes in a match-turning, match-defining 18th over, and an improbable 51 off 18 balls turned into a far more straightforward 21 off 12.

A partnership of two tempos

Sent in to bat – Smith, the Royals captain, expected dew to play an influential role through the second innings, and it did – Kings XI got off to a flier, their openers rushing to 60 in the powerplay. From there, Agarwal and KL Rahul extended their partnership to 183 – the third highest for the first wicket and the eighth highest overall in the IPL.

The two batsmen approached their innings differently. At one end, Agarwal went for his shots at every opportunity, and also looked to create opportunities to play his shots. He moved around his crease – to manufacture room to hit Ankit Rajpoot over mid-off, for instance, or to manufacture length to shovel the quickish legspin of Tewatia over midwicket – and in general went through with his shots with a degree of abandon; some of the sixes he hit weren’t off the cleanest connections, but a batsman can gamble on a small ground like Sharjah.

Even so, Agarwal’s sparkling form allowed him to achieve a control percentage of 80 – which is pretty high for an innings achieving a strike rate of 212.00. At the other end, Rahul faced 54 balls – four more than Agarwal – and pulled off a control percentage of 85, but only struck at 127.77. Aside from a hat-trick of fours against Jofra Archer in the fourth over, he seemed to almost consciously play second fiddle to Agarwal, giving him the strike whenever possible.

It’s a common tactic in partnerships like this, and Rahul has the game to up his tempo dramatically later on – his unbeaten 132 against Royal Challengers Bangalore followed the same template.

Maxwell, Pooran apply the finish

On this day, however, both Rahul and Agarwal seemed to tire as their partnership progressed, and from 172 for no loss at the 15-over mark, Kings XI scored 22 off the next 18 balls – a period in which they lost both openers.

Only 21 balls remained in the innings when Glenn Maxwell walked in, and only 12 when Nicholas Pooran came to the crease. It can be difficult to come in at that sort of time and find the boundary immediately, but both managed it to varying degrees of success. Rajpoot and Tom Curran managed to tie Maxwell down to an extent, but he created a couple of boundaries with his movement around the crease. Pooran, however, got a few balls in his slot and dispatched all of them ruthlessly – he hit three sixes and a four in just eight balls, three of those boundaries coming in an 18-run final over from Jofra Archer.

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Kings XI Punjab vs Rajasthan Royals, IPL 2020, Fantasy Pick, team predictions



Kings XI Punjab vs Rajasthan Royals, Abu Dhabi

Pro tip:
It’s hard to look past KL Rahul but take a chance on Sanju Samson as he shown promise in the last couple of games.

Our XI: KL Rahul (capt), Jos Buttler(wk), Nicholas Pooran, Sanju Samson (vc), Chris Gayle, Ben Stokes, Chris Jordan, Jofra Archer, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Shreyas Gopal
Substitutes: Steven Smith, Mayank Agarwal, Rahul Tewatia, Glenn Maxwell

NOTE: We might not always be able to tip you off about late injury (or other relevant) updates, so please finalise your team after the toss.

Player availability: All players are available for selection. There is no official update on Mayank Agarwal’s availability yet.

Captain: KL Rahul
It’s hard to look beyond Rahul, the Orange Cap holder by a distance. Rahul has scored 50 or more six times in 12 innings this season. He has gone three innings without a fifty, but we are backing him to come good in this game. He scored 69 in Kings XI’s previous game against the Royals. Since 2018, Rahul has four fifties in five innings against the Royals and the most runs against them (304) as well.

Vice-captain: Sanju Samson
Samson has shown great promise in the last couple of games. He had an extremely rough patch after scoring fifties in the first couple of games but it seems like he is back in form now. He scored an unbeaten 54 to take the Royals through in their last game and the last time these two teams met, Samson scored a blistering 42-ball 85.

Hot Picks
Jofra Archer: Royals’ best bowler by a mile. He has picked up 17 wickets with an economy rate of 6.71 and a strike rate of 16.8. In his last five games, Archer has picked up six wickets in the powerplay at a strike rate of 10.00, suggesting he gets a powerplay wicket in virtually every game. He invariably comes back to bowl at the death too, when there are more wickets up for grabs.

Mohammed Shami: Shami has been bowling as well as he ever has. He has picked up 10 wickets in his last 5 games while conceding 8.6 runs an over. For someone who opens the bowling and bowls at the death, that is a fantastic economy rate. In the powerplay, Shami has picked up seven wickets this season while going at only 7.37 an over.

Chris Gayle: Gayle has had a tremendous impact since his comeback. He has scored 177 runs in his five innings so far at a strike rate of 138.28. He has scored two fifties along with a couple of cameos as well. Given he might not face much of Jofra Archer as he is batting at No. 3, we could be in for a big performance with two legspinners and some inexperienced quicks in the Royals attack.

ALSO SEE: Kings XI Punjab vs Rajasthan Royals match home

Differential Picks
Ravi Bishnoi: Bishnoi is the second-highest wicket taker for Punjab this season with 12 wickets and an excellent economy rate of 7.2. He has been clever with his lines and lengths and varied his pace well. His tight overs in the middle phase have given Punjab control: in the middle overs (7-16), Bishnoi has picked up 11 wickets while maintaining an economy rate of 6.92.

Shreyas Gopal: Gopal has been very in the last few games. He has bowled in the powerplay as well as the middle overs and has had success in both phases. In Abu Dhabi, Gopal has picked up six wickets in four games at a strike rate of 16.50 in addition to an economy rate of 6.18. Two-thirds of his wickets have come at this venue this season.

Alternate Scenarios

  • An alternate vice-captain option is Jos Buttler. He has a very good record against Kings XI though most of his runs have come at the top of the order – 229 runs in five innings since 2018 at an average of 45.80 and a strike rate of 139.63.

  • Given Ben Stokes is not bowling much, Rahul Tewatia is an option to replace him. Before the century against Mumbai, Stokes had scored only 110 runs in five innings.

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Match Preview – Kings XI Punjab vs Rajasthan Royals, Indian Premier League 2020 2020, 50th Match



Big picture

When the Kings XI Punjab met the Rajasthan Royals the first time this season a little over a month back, we witnessed one of the games of the tournament, but Steven Smith and his men go into Friday’s return fixture in Abu Dhabi knowing nothing less than a win will keep their campaign alive. Their confidence should be high after a magnificent chase against the Mumbai Indians, riding on the back of a Ben Stokes century. However, unlike their last meeting, they run into a red-hot side this time that has brought up five wins on the bounce after beating the Kolkata Knight Riders earlier this week.

While Stokes’ century and Sanju Samson’s return to form were huge positives for the Royals in their last game, what will worry Smith most is their bowling. Already over-dependent on Jofra Archer, the Royals have the worst economy (12.40) at the death among all teams in this tournament.

Getting their act together with the ball will be crucial against the Kings XI, for whom Chris Gayle‘s inclusion has provided the middle order some stability. That apart, the Kings XI also enjoy the cushion provided by KL Rahul and Nicholas Pooran on either side of Gayle. The Kings XI line-up has missed Mayank Agarwal through injury in the last couple of matches, and his return might see him slot in to open alongside Rahul, in which case Mandeep Singh could drop down the order and replace Deepak Hooda. Their bowling has had a settled look in recent games, with Mohammed Shami leading the attack, allowing legspinners M Ashwin and Ravi Bishnoi to come on when the opposition batsmen are already under a fair amount of pressure.

Previous meeting

Agarwal (106) and Rahul (69) shared a 183-run opening stand to power the Kings XI to an imposing 223 for 2, but the Royals’ reply was spearheaded by Smith, who smashed 50 off 27 balls as an opener to get some momentum going. Samson made a jaw-dropping 85 from 42, clobbering seven sixes and four fours, but his wicket in the 17th over appeared to put the Kings XI ahead. That’s when Rahul Tewatia, who had limped to 5 off 13, took the attack to Sheldon Cottrell to complete one of the great comebacks in an individual innings, helping the Royals nail the highest successful IPL chase.

Likely XIs

Kings XI Punjab: 1 Mayank Agarwal, 2 KL Rahul (capt, wk), 3 Chris Gayle, 4 Nicholas Pooran, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Mandeep Singh/ Deepak Hooda, 7 Chris Jordan, 8 M Ashwin, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Ravi Bishnoi, 11 Arshdeep Singh

Rajasthan Royals: 1 Ben Stokes, 2 Robin Uthappa, 3 Sanju Samson, 4 Steven Smith (capt), 5 Jos Buttler (wk), 6 Riyan Parag, 7 Rahul Tewatia, 8 Shreyas Gopal, 9 Jofra Archer, 10 Ankit Rajpoot/ Varun Aaron/ Jaydev Unadkat, 11 Kartik Tyagi

Strategy punts

  • Rahul is closing in on 600 runs for the season but has scores of 15, 27 and 28 in the last three matches. However, the Royals have been a friendly opposition to him: he averages 57.33 against them and his last five matches have produced innings of 84, 95, 4, 52 and 69, the last one coming earlier this season in Sharjah. If batsmen around him can take their chances early, he could consider dropping the anchor and looking to cash in on the death overs.

  • Smith will need to figure out the best way to employ Archer. Rahul has a good record against Archer, having struck at 170 and never been dismissed in four previous match-ups. But Gayle averages just 17.50 against him and Maxwell 6.50, with both having been dismissed twice by Archer. With the legspin of Shreyas Gopal and Tewatia critical components of the middle overs, Smith might not want to have the left-handers Gayle and Pooran face a majority of those. Spreading Archer’s overs through the middle and the death might sound counterintuitive given how good he has been in the powerplay, but it could help throttle the Kings XI innings at the backend, especially if the Royals are to chase.

Stats that matter

  • This match will pit the two most prolific six-hitters – after 48 games this season – against each other. Samson (23) and Pooran (22) have smashed the most sixes so far, with Rahul (20) not too far behind either.

  • With 17 wickets, this is already Archer’s best IPL season as a bowler. His average of 19.23 and economy of 6.86 are also his best in three seasons.

  • Gopal needs three scalps to bring up 50 IPL wickets.

  • Pooran needs two sixes to bring up 200 sixes in T20 cricket.

  • Gayle requires seven maximums to bring up 1000 T20 sixes.

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CSK vs KKR, 49th match, IPL 2020



Welcome to ESPNcricinfo’s Rolling Report of the 49th game of IPL 2020, between the Chennai Super Kings and the Kolkata Knight Riders. The likes of MS Dhoni, Faf du Plessis, Ravindra Jadeja, Ambati Rayudu and Sam Curran take on the likes of Eoin Morgan, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik, Pat Cummins and Lockie Ferguson in Dubai.

Chennai Super Kings vs Kolkata Knight Riders full scorecard.

Chennai Super Kings vs Kolkata Knight Riders ball-by-ball commentary.

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