Some mega rivalries will be on the cards when Rajasthan Royals host Kings XI Punjab for their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 season opener at the Sawai Man Singh stadium in Jaipur later today (Monday).
Kings XI Punjab come knocking at the doors of the Sawai Mansingh Stadium (SMS), venturing out of their den for their first game of the season. Let’s take a closer look at what we can expect from this clash with our neighbours.
Hosts Rajasthan Royals enjoy a better 10-7 winning record as the two teams have met on 17 occasions in the past. The Royals have the highest win percentage among all teams in the Vivo IPL at their home-grounds – a whopping 72.5%.
Kings XI Punjab enjoy a marginal edge in the recent head-to-head numbers, having won three of the last five ties with the Royals, who this year will be seen in pink attire.
Both sides have some explosive players in their ranks. Many of them have faced each other in the past, and the numbers have a story to tell.
Dhawal Kulkarni vs Chris Gayle & KL Rahul
In the last season, KL Rahul and Chris Gayle took most bowling line-ups down with great starts in the Powerplay. But, there’s one man in our camp who has been a thorn in their flesh for a while. Dhawal Kulkarni aka DK has dismissed them on three occasions, each. Gayle, whose T20 career strike rate is nearly 150, strikes at 113 against DK. So, watch out for the opening few overs.
Sanju Samson vs Ravichandran Ashwin
The KXIP captain hasn’t dismissed Sanju Samson in three meetings so far. What’s even more appealing is that Sanju has taken a liking to the wily off-spinner’s bowling. He has a fantastic strike rate of 159, and will fancy facing Ashwin during the season opener. Watch out for some scorchers into the crowd.
Ajinkya Rahane vs Mohammed Shami
They play together for India, but when it comes to the Vivo IPL, it’s a different ball game. In all, Rahane has faced 41 balls off Shami and has taken the bowler for 72 runs, without being dismissed even once. Shami is donning KXIP colours for the first time after he got picked in the December auction. This new-ball battle could be a treat for our eyes!
The season opener has a lot to offer, and we have all waited long for this game. The match will mark the beginning of yet another memorable season. Rajasthan Royals are looking for nothing less than a winning start to Vivo IPL 2019, and what better place to kick-start the campaign than our fortress, the Sawai Mansingh Stadium. We are the first team in the history of the Vivo IPL to don pink, and are ready to paint the tournament with it.
Rajasthan Royals Squad: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Dhawal Kulkarni, Stuart Binny, Steven Smith, Jos Buttler, Varun Aaron, Jaydev Unadkat, Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson, Manan Vohra, Prashant Chopra, Ashton Turner, Ish Sodhi, Krishnappa Gowtham, Rahul Tripathi, Shreyas Gopal, Liam Livingstone, Shashank Singh, Mahipal Lomror, Shubham Ranjane, Oshane Thomas, Jofra Archer, Riyan Parag, Aryaman Birla, Sudhesan Midhun
Kings XI Punjab Squad: Chris Gayle, Moises Henriques, Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Mayank Agarwal, Mandeep Singh, David Miller, Mohammed Shami, Karun Nair, Lokesh Rahul, Murugan Ashwin, Ankit Rajpoot, Nicholas Pooran, Sarfaraz Khan, Hardus Viljoen, Andrew Tye, Sam Curran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Agnivesh Ayachi, Darshan Nalkande, Varun Chakravarthy, Arshdeep Singh, Simran Singh, Harpreet Brar
Match Timings: from 8 pm. Broadcast timings: from 6:30 pm.
Where to watch: Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 HD, Star, Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 Hindi HD, Star Sports 1 Telugu, Star Sports 1 Tamil, Star, Sports 1 Kannada and Star Sports 1 Bangla.
CLICK HERE for LIVE streaming on Star’s OTT platform Hotstar.
Also Read: IPL 2019: The full and final schedule