After surprise loss in their last two games against Sunrisers and Mumbai, Kings XI Punjab will look to return back into winnings ways, when they will enter Holkar Stadium in Indore on Sunday against already struggling Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League encounter. Gayle and Rahul were exceptional in Punjab's previous match against MI and it was after Rahul's departure that the Punjab team never quite got going. Captain Rohit Sharma and Krunal Pandya were the standout players as they guided their team to a six-wicket win.
When you lose it, things go awfully wrong. One big news from the hosts' camp is that Yuvraj Singh, Marcus Stoinis and Axar Patel have made the playing XI.
Yuvraj (14 off 14 balls), who was promoted up the batting order, once again failed to fire as the out-of-form batsman was the next to depart in the 13th over with Punjab's scorecard reading 96/3. The trio's poor form could be a cause of concern for the team management and this is high time for them to come out with their best. The next ball, he bowled a googly and as Jofra Archer swung the bat lazily, the ball squeezed through to hit the middle stump. He was dismissed in the following over when he miscued a knuckle ball from Stoinis and the skier was pouched by KL Rahul.
There was hardly any contribution from Rahul Tripathi (11) and Gowtham (5), but Shreyas managed to score a 16-ball 24, including three fours, to help his team cross the 150-run mark.
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Rohit Sharma (c), Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Mustafizur Rahman, Suryakumar Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Rahul Chahar, Evin Lewis, Saurabh Tiwary, Ben Cutting, Pradeep Sangwan, Jean-Paul Duminy, Tajinder Singh, Sharad Lumba, Siddhesh Lad, Aditya Tare, Mayank Markande, Akila Dananjaya, Anukul Roy, Mohsin Khan, MD Nidheesh, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne.
Rahul brought up his fifty in the 17th over with an upper cut six off Archer to bring down the equation to 27 runs off 18 balls.
Mujeeb (3/27) struck in the first two deliveries of the 15th over, first removing risky -looking Buttler and then Archer to stand in with a chance of registering a hat-trick. Rohit and Krunal turned up the wick and scored boundary after boundary.
Batsmen also seem to have figured out Mayank Markrande, who wreaked havoc in the first half of the tournament.
In the bowling department, skipper Ravichandran Ashwin, along with medium-pacer Mohit Sharma add depth to the line-up. From 2 from 9, he rocketed to 48 off the next 31 balls. Ashwin, who opened the bowling, bowled out by the 10th over; the KXIP captain returned economical figures of 0-23.