It has been 307 days since Rajasthan Royals played their last Vivo Indian Premier League (IPL) game, back in 2018. A lot has changed since! The team has a new colour, a new jersey and some new faces too, as we look to get our journey in the twelfth edition of the celebrated tournament off to a winning start. 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.
Powerplay of Numbers
The two teams have met on 17 occasions in the past. Rajasthan Royals have a favourable record with 10 wins in these encounters. What they would be looking at is the 100 percent win record against the Kings at the SMS. The Royals have the highest win percentage among all teams in the Vivo IPL at their home-grounds – a whopping 72.5%.
The last five meetings have been quite evenly balanced though. Rajasthan Royals won two of them, while KXIP won three. If we narrow the head-to-head down to last season, both teams won a game apiece.
Now, here’s what will make you Royals very happy! In the past, we have taken on KXIP twice in season openers – in 2012 and 2015. The good news is that Rajasthan Royals won on both occasions. A hat-trick is what the boys are after this time around.
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.