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regular-article-logo Sunday, 21 April 2024

IPL 2023: Punjab Kings look to Rabada to check Rajasthan Royals flourish 

Rajasthan have an enviable batting line-up and they flexed their muscle in their opening game against Sunrisers Hyderabad, posting a 200-plus total

Our Bureau Calcutta Published 05.04.23, 05:37 AM
Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson (right) with teammate Jos Buttler during a practice session at the ACA Stadium in Barsapara, Guwahati, on Tuesday. The Royals play Punjab Kings on Wednesday.

Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson (right) with teammate Jos Buttler during a practice session at the ACA Stadium in Barsapara, Guwahati, on Tuesday. The Royals play Punjab Kings on Wednesday. PTI Photo

The Assam Cricket Association Stadium in Barsapara, Guwahati, is all decked up to host its first-ever IPL game. And Rajasthan Royals, the “home” team, can add fireworks to the festive mood when they take on Punjab Kings in their second IPL 2023 game on Wednesday.

Rajasthan have an enviable batting line-up and they flexed their muscle in their opening game against Sunrisers Hyderabad, posting a 200-plus total. They will aim to do so once again with the venue known to produce high totals. In October last year, India made 237/3 in 20 overs in a T20I against South Africa, who chased well reaching 221/3 before losing by 16 runs.

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Talking about South Africa, Punjab will have the services of their Proteas import Kagiso Rabada for Wednesday’s game. The speedster missed his team’s opening win over Kolkata Knight Riders. If Punjab are to thwart Rajasthan’s batting might, Rabada, with all his experience, will have to lead from the front.

With Jos Buttler playing like Jos Buttler at the top of the order and the young Yashasvi Jaiswal looking to be in the form of his life, Rajasthan threaten to kill off contests very early. Not that they are the only two, captain Sanju Samson showed his mature self in the last game and Shimron Hetmyer is always a dangerous finisher. Perhaps, Devdutt Padikkal is the only weak link in Rajasthan’s royal batting line-up. Guwahati boy Riyan Parag will hope to have a ball in front of home fans.

On the other hand, batting is not Punjab’s strength this time and the absence of England all-rounder Liam Livingstone through injury has left them hamstrung. Captain Shikhar Dhawan has to take the bulk of scoring responsibility.

Punjab will also be wary of Rajasthan’s spin attack, which has Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal and Australian Adam Zampa.

Today’s match

■ Rajasthan Royals vs Punjab Kings, 7.30pm, Guwahati, live on Star Sports & Jio Cinema

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