With the new hope for a better season Rajasthan Royals and Punjab Kings will open their IPL 14 campaign today, April 12 at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, 7:30 PM IST onwards.
Both Rajasthan and Punjab sides had a sloppy season last year as Rajasthan Royals started well but couldn’t manage to make it to the playoffs while Punjab Kings made a late comeback in the second half of the tournament which was not enough to be in top four.
Both the teams have made big changes as Sanju Samson will lead Rajasthan Royals in this season while Punjab franchise have changed their name from Kings XI Punjab to Punjab Kings.
Pitch Report: The teams will be greeted by Mumbai’s humidity. Dew will be a factor for teams opting to bat second which makes the toss quite significant. In IPL hosted by India in the recent seasons, chasing teams have had advantages at the start of the season with fresh tracks and effect of dew later.
Rajasthan Royals: Jofra Archer will miss the beginning of the IPL due a surgery he just had on his hand. A day prior to their tournament skipper Samson said RR was waiting on a report from their physios and doctors to ascertain Mustafizur Rahman, Andrew Tye and David Miller’s availability, who have been in quarantine.
Having loaded their squad with all-rounders, they’ve given themselves more than enough options. If they do decide to open with the dangerous English duo of Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes, Samson, Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Morris and Shivam Dube will make for a solid middle order.
Probable XI: Jos Buttler (wk), Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson (c), Riyan Parag, Shivam Dube, Rahul Tewatia, Chris Morris, Liam Livingstone, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat, Kartik Tyagi
Punjab Kings: Shahrukh Khan has been making the right noises in the lead up to the tournament. He should make the XI, playing the role of a finisher. PBKS have a call to make about whether Chris Gayle will start in their opener. If he comes in, Dawid Malan, the world’s No.1 T20 batsman, will have to wait for a chance. Meanwhile, having spent quite a bit on acquiring the services of Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith, both are expected to make their IPL debuts.
Probable XI: KL Rahul (c & wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle/Dawid Malan, Prabhsimran Singh, Nicholas Pooran, Shahrukh Khan, Deepak Hooda, Jhye Richardson, Riley Meredith, Mohammed Shami, Ravi Bishnoi