Two teams coming off from brilliant victories in their respective last games, KXIP and RR, will battle it out at Sharjah Cricket Stadium in match 9 of the IPL. Rahul and Smith, both have been leading teams, which are looking to set the ball rolling in the IPL given their perennial struggles.
KXIP- W, L, W, L, L
Kings XI Punjab have assembled a very well balanced unit be it in the batting with the likes of Rahul, Mayank and Maxwell or in the bowling with Shami, Cottrell and Bishnoi. It was unfortunate for them to lose the first game with one needed off last three deliveries and a short-run decision going against them, which hit them hard in hindsight. But in the second game on the back of Rahul's marvellous 132* and an all-out bowling performance with the pacers and spinners wrecking havoc in Virat Kohli's RCB camp, the Karnataka duo of Rahul and Kumble must be happy as they not only registered their first win but in a grand style to send down a strong message to other teams in the IPL that we are no longer passengers in the tournament. KXIP have won their last three games out of four against RR.
RR- W, L, NR, W, W
With a relatively weak bowling line-up, Rajasthan Royals will have to be at the top of their game to stand a chance in the tournament that they last won in 2008. And as they say, their batsmen did just what the doctor ordered as they amassed the highest total of the season- 216 runs, with Steven Smith and Sanju Samson firing on all cylinders. With the likely addition of Jos Buttler, their batting is likely to get even stronger. Jofra Archer's brilliant return to the RR camp in the first game is also a great sign for the Rajasthan-based franchise as he can be a match-winner for them with the white ball in hand.
KXIP- KL Rahul
With an average of 44.11, 54.92 and 53.91 in last three editions of the IPL, KL Rahul has shown that he likes to dominate the cash-rich league, which is followed across the globe. With the last season, there were complains of him of playing too much within himself, in the last game against RCB, he corrected the wrongs of 2019 IPL and exhibited his skill to make a smooth transition from an anchor to an out-and-out swashbuckling finisher at the death. It was largely owing to his 69-ball-132* that KXIP blasted 80 runs off the final five overs as he hit six sixes in the phase. The right-hander is the second-leading-run-getter this year and he will look to continue hunting down the bowlers in the game against RR, an opponent versus whom his average sky-rockets to 55.
RR- Sanju Samson
With 177 runs at 44.25 in last five IPL games for Rajasthan, Sanju Samson has been the go-to-batsman of the club side. In the last game against CSK, he enthralled one and all with a belligerent 32-ball-74 that included as many as nine sixes. His strike-rate was a whopping 231.25. Of late, the gloveman has got chances to feature in India's T20I side and he will be itching to continue performing like the way he did as he has also been preferred as a specialist batsman ahead of Rishabh Pant when last time India played in New Zealand and has a lot on the line. The effortless style with which Sanju hit big shots against CSK in Sharjah, the same place, where the RR vs KXIP game will happen too, it will take something special for Punjab to stop the Sanju-Tsunami.
KXIP- Mohammed Shami
One can't overlook the fact that elite fitness has completely turned around Mohammed Shami the bowler. He was training hard in the lockdown period too as his videos on social media platforms suggested and now they are paying rich dividends as Shami is steaming in his run-up. Not considered good enough in T20 cricket, he has replicated Test match lengths to bamboozle batsmen and has taken four wickets in two games, helping his side with early strikes like we saw against DC and RCB respectively. He will again be crucial especially against the likes of Buttler, Smith and Samson.
RR- Jofra Archer
Jofra Archer was phenomenal in the three-match ODI series against Australia leaving behind his red-ball slump and stamping his authority in the white-ball cricket. He is just the perfect bowler for limited-overs cricket as he has raw pace, impeccable yorkers, a troubling bouncers, a pack of slower ball variations and the temperament to perform under high--pressure day-in-day-out in franchise league, which demands you to be at the top of your craft. With five wickets in four games against KXIP and an economy of 6.83, he will fancy bowling against the Punjab-based franchise sans Rahul, who has a great record against him.
RR: Jaiswal, Buttler (WK), Smith (C), Samson, Uthappa, Parag, Tom Curran, Jofra, Gopal, Rahul Tewatia, Unadkat/Rajpoot
Venue: Sharjah Cricket Stadium,Sharjah
When to Watch: Sep 27, 06:00 PM LOCAL, 7:30 PM IST
Where to Watch: Star Sports, Hotstar