Kings XI Punjab v Royals, IPL 2014, Mohali May 22, 2014

Royals look to confirm playoff spot


Match facts

Friday, May 23, 2014
Start time 2000 local (1430 GMT)

Play 03:17
Guha: Royals should stick to their trusted XI

Big Picture

Rajasthan Royals looked like they were breezing to the playoff stage along with Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings a few days back. After the loss against Mumbai Indians, however, they are feeling the squeeze. Stuck on 14 points, they need a win against Kings XI in Mohali to avoid a must-win situation in their last match against Mumbai Indians.

Kings XI have no such problems. They are sitting pretty with 18 points. The question is, can they make sure they end the league stage at the top too so that they get the cushion of an extra chance to make it to final? A lot will depend on their batting to achieve that goal since the pitch in Mohali is not likely to aid their bowlers. On Wednesday, against Mumbai Indians, their best bowler this season - Sandeep Sharma - was neutralised as he couldn't get any swing or seam on a greenish surface. That Mumbai Indians' slower bowlers were hard to hit would mean that Pravin Tambe and Rajat Bhatia could play decisive roles.

Form guide

Kings XI Punjab: LWWLW (completed games, most recent first)
Rajasthan Royals: LWLWL

Where they stand

Kings XI Punjab: First, with 18 points from 12 games
Rajasthan Royals: Fourth, with 14 points from 12 games

Previous encounter

The two teams met in Sharjah last month in a high-scoring match in which Kings XI Punjab prevailed by seven wickets. Royals put up a seemingly watertight total of 191 after everyone in their batting order chipped in and struck a couple of early blows. But then the Maxwell-Miller show happened and Kings XI chased down the target in the 19th over.

Watch out for

Team selections. It can be argued that one reason for both teams' reverses in their respective previous matches was the changes they made to their XI. The absence of David Miller in Kings XI not only meant the loss of a batsman in form, but it also meant that the batting order had to be tinkered with, disturbing their usual approach. Royals' tactics of benching three first-choice players was even more unusual given they were still not through to playoffs.

It's been a while since Glenn Maxwell's last deadly assault on bowlers. He has scored 98 runs in his last five outings with a highest of 43, a drastic dip from the 435 he scored in the first seven matches. In this period, he has also been pipped by Robin Uthappa as the leading run-scorer in this edition. Has the Maxwell phenomena run out of steam already? Hope not.

Stats and trivia

  • Six times out of 12, Maxwell has been dismissed by a legspinner in this IPL. Pravin Tambe, take note.
  • Kings XI have six of the top 10 team totals in this edition of the IPL. Royals are the only ones to appears more than once - twice
  • Royals have beaten Kings XI eight times in 12 IPL matches. In Mohali, they have won three matches out of five

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • imran on May 23, 2014, 12:57 GMT

    1.Rahane 2.Nair 3.Samson 4.Watson 5.Smith 6.Faulkner 7.Binny 8.Bhatia 9.Kulkarni 10.Richardson 11.Tambe a balanced and perfact team vs kings 11

  • Dummy4 on May 23, 2014, 10:28 GMT

    come on k11p ... atleast for mi win this match and than the last mth will be the semi by a gr8 margin., hoping to see viru max-miller and johnsons full pace bowling.

  • Dummy4 on May 23, 2014, 10:15 GMT

    yes.. most logical and sensible eleven for this match for RR will be Rahane, Nair, Watson, Samson, Smith, Hodge, Binni, Faulkner, Bhatia, Kukarni and Tambe. This will be most balanced pick for the conditions in Mohali

  • Dummy4 on May 23, 2014, 8:29 GMT

    RR need to do a few changes to squad that played last game rahane smith tambe back chand binny cooper out.Binny is useless keep him out for rest of games bring in vikramjeet mallik for dhawal

  • John on May 23, 2014, 6:47 GMT

    RR need to pick Smith and Hodge in the team.... and drop cooper... thatll make the team batting very strong...bowling could be covered by faulkner, tambe, kulkarni, binny, watto, ankit sharma

  • Rahul on May 23, 2014, 5:29 GMT

    RR please don't make any nasty changes in the playing XI this time. This is a sincere request. A win today will put you guys in total control in the top 4. If you loose this one, it will be really tough to beat MI at wankhede given that they are in so good touch suddenly.

    My playing XI - Rahane,Karun,Watson,Samson,Hodge/Smith,Ankit sharma/Binny, cooper,faulkner,Bhatia,Kulkarni and none other than TAMBE!!

  • Android on May 23, 2014, 0:45 GMT

    RR will come with guns blazing to seal their place in playoff . RR has to play out of their skin to show they are not bychance team rather they are quality team who can beat any one when it matters . come on RR halla bol . halla bol on Punjab

  • Dummy4 on May 23, 2014, 0:40 GMT

    How Maxwell now wishes he had walked with those UAE pitches to India.

  • Dummy4 on May 22, 2014, 22:56 GMT

    They Should Play Cutting at the expense of Faulkner/Cooper since I think this Mohali pitch might have a little more bounce than the other pitches. It shouldn't hurt Rajasthan's chances by playing him because of his ability with the bat.

    As long as Tambe, Rahane and Samson are in the side RR has got the best chance.

  • Murtaza on May 22, 2014, 20:49 GMT

    RR must go with rahane nair samson Watson hodge Smith binny bhatia faulkner kulkarni tambe.

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