KXIP will look for a good start from skipper KL Rahul. Although he remains the tournament’s top-scorer, he hasn’t done much of note in the last few games. Chris Gayle has been brilliant for KXIP with some typical smashing knocks. If Mayank Agarwal is available, it would be interesting to see what Punjab would do with Mandeep Singh, who hit a fine fifty against KKR.
In the bowling department, Mohammed Shami has been exceptional with the ball, and has received excellent support from Arshdeep Singh and Chris Jordan. Ravi Bishnoi and Murugan Ashwin have combined well to take care of the spin department while Glenn Maxwell has been resourceful with his off-spin.
Keeping their inconsistency aside, Royals stunned Mumbai Indians courtesy a roaring hundred from Ben Stokes. Opening the innings, his unbeaten 107 saw RR chase a difficult target with ease. The game also saw Sanju Samson getting back among runs. However, Jos Buttler and skipper Steve Smith will need to raise their game.
In the bowling, it has been a one-man show with Jofra Archer claiming 17 wickets from 12 matches at an economy of under 7. Kartik Tyagi and Ankit Rajpoot were taken apart in the last game. Shreyas Gopal and Rahul Tewatia have been reasonable in the spin department.
Head-to-Head Record: In 20 matches, RR have won 11 and KXIP 9. The last time these teams met, Rahul Tewatia slammed Sheldon Cottrell for five famous sixes.
KXIP Predicted XI: KL Rahul(w/c), Mandeep Singh, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, Deepak Hooda, Chris Jordan, Murugan Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh
RR Predicted XI: Robin Uthappa, Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson(w), Jos Buttler, Steven Smith(c), Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Ankit Rajpoot, Kartik Tyagi
The pitch at Abu Dhabi has aided batsmen of late with teams constantly scoring in the region of 180-190. It will be a tricky decision after winning the toss.
The temperature is cooling down a bit. From the low 30s when the game starts, it will fall further.