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IPL 2019: Focus on Steve Smith as Rajasthan Royals eye winning start against star studded Kings XI Punjab

Australian Batsman Steve Smith Will Embark On A Redemption Journey When Rajasthan Royals Open Their Campaign Against Kings XI Punjab In The 12th Edition Of The Indian Premier League In Jaipur On Monday.

By : Vedant Sharma | Updated on: 24 Mar 2019, 05:29:44 PM
Rajasthan Royals finished at the fourth position in IPL 2018 (Image Credit: Twitter)

highlights

  • Rajasthan Royals finished at the fourth position in IPL 2018. 
  • Kings XI Punjab will look to start fresh in the tournament. 
  • The limelight will be on Steve Smith. 


New Delhi:

As the IPL extravaganza shifts to Rajasthan Royals' fortress that is Jaipur, the streets start to blare horns, fans are expected to come on the street as the excitement will reach the highest echelon as the men-in-pink take on Ravichandran Ashwin's Kings XI Punjab on March 25 at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium. Australian batsman Steve Smith will embark on a redemption journey when Rajasthan Royals open their campaign in the twelfth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Smith, who suffered a year-ban for his role in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa was last seen playing competitive cricket in a couple of Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) encounter before an elbow injury ruling him out of the contest. With World Cup around the corner, this will probably be the best time to get some runs under his belt and help the team to start well in the tournament. 

Ravichandran Ashwin-led Punjab side would rely heavily on their openers Chris Gayle and KL Rahul to provide them with a fiery start and if swashbuckling West Indian opener happens to be in his elements, the Kings XI may be able to draw the first blood. Skipper Ashwin would be desperate to prove that he can still make a difference in this format. With Mohammed Shami, Andrew Tye and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Punjab’s bowling look pretty strong.

Team Combination

Rajasthan Royals

It is no secret that Rajasthan Royals will start with Ajinkya Rahane and Jos Buttler at the top, and Steve Smith occupying the third spot. Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Krishnappa Gowtham will occupy fourth, fifth, and the sixth spot. The lower order will have the likes of Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni and Varun Aaron. 

Probable XI:
Ajinkya Rahane (c), Jos Buttler (wk), Steve Smith, Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Iyer, Jaydev Unadkat, Varun Aaron, Dhawal Kulkarni. 

Kings XI Punjab

Punjab wouldn't want to tinker with their last year's opening combination and it is highly likely that they will go with Chris Gayle and KL Rahul. Mayank Agarwal, who is in a sublime form will come at three, followed by Karun Nair. Mandeep Singh and David Miller will occupy lower middle-order spots. The team may well be tempted to go with three wrist spinners trying Varun, Rahman, and of course skipper Ashwin. The two fast-bowlers will be Andrew Tye and Ankit Rajpoot. 

Probable XI:

Chris Gayle, KL Rahul (wk), Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, David Miller, Mandeep Singh, Varun Chakravarthy, Ravichandran Ashwin (C), Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Andrew Tye, Ankit Rajpoot.

Who will win?

With Rajasthan Royals playing their first win game at their fortress where they upstaged Chennai Super Kings (CSK) when they last played at Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur. The men-in-pink will surely have a better chance to register their first victory of the tournament. 

Weather and Pitch

The temperature in Jaipur will be 36 degrees and with humidity of 33 per cent. There is no rain expected. The pitch will assist the pacers but in hot conditions, the spinners will also come into play.

Stadium and timings

The match will be played at the Sawai Mansingh and the game will start at 8:00 PM IST

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First Published : 24 Mar 2019, 05:26:21 PM

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