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By Shrikant Shankar
Apr 19, 2014
Rajasthan Royals play Kings XI Punjab in Match 7 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 on April 20. Rajasthan and Punjab will play their match at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhab. Rajasthan began their IPL 7 campaign with a close four-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad. Punjab got the better of Chennai Super Kings in a thrilling six-wicket win in their first match. Both teams will be aiming to maintain their winning starts to the IPL campaign.
Punjab came away with a stunning win over Chennai in a high-scoring match on April 18. Chennai had posted a massive total of 205 for four. But Punjab chased down the target in 18.5 overs with a supreme innings from Glenn Maxwell helping them along the way. The Australian struck an incredible 43-ball 95 with 15 fours and two sixes. Maxwell was well-assisted by David Miller, who scored an unbeaten 54 off 37 deliveries with three fours and sixes apiece.
In the second match on April 18 at the same venue, Rajasthan played Hyderabad in a relatively low-scoring match. Hyderabad scored 133 for six with Dhawal Kulkarni, Kane Richardson and Rajat Bhatia taking two wickets each. Rajasthan won the match in 19.3 overs with Ajinkya Rahane top-scoring with 59 off 53 deliveries. He struck six fours. Stuart Binny scored 48 off 32 deliveries with four fours and one six.
Since both teams won their respective opening matches, the confidence will be high in their camps. None in the Rajasthan batting line-up apart from Rahane and Binny got into double figures. That will be a slight cause to worry for mentor Rahul Dravid. But this was a winning team and they may not want to tinker much with the line-up. Abhishek Nayar opened the batting with Rahane and might still get that chance in the upcoming match.
Sanju Samson is a quality batsman and is an integral part of the Rajasthan line-up. Shane Watson in his first match as captain did not score much, but seemed up to the task on the field when his team bowled. Brad Hodge scored one run, but he too is a quality batsman and should be in the side. James Faulkner was on the expensive side with the ball, but he is the leader of their bowling attack. Richardson and Kulkarni impressed on their Rajasthan debuts. Pravin Tambe did not take wickets, but conceded only 23 runs in his four overs.
Almost all the batsmen contributed for Punjab in their extraordinary win over Chennai. While Maxwell and Miller stood out, the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Virender Sehwag and captain George Bailey contributed in the victory. Parvinder Awana and Laxmipathy Balaji were expensive. But it was Mitchell Johnson who disappointed on his debut for Punjab as he gave away 47 runs in his four overs without taking a wicket. But he is a world-class fast bowler and will get stronger for the next match. Akshar Patel and Rishi Dhawan were the two bowlers who did well.
One really cannot predict which team will win the match, but at the moment Rajasthan’s bowling and Punjab’s batting look the better units.
Rajasthan Royals: Shane Watson (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Brad Hodge, Sanju Samson, Stuart Binny, Ankush Bains, James Faulkner, Pravin Tambe, Kevon Cooper, Unmukt Chand, Steven Smith, Ben Cutting, Deepak Hooda, Iqbal Abdullah, Karun Nair, Vikramjeet Malik, Abhishek Nayar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Kane Richardson, Dishant Yagnik (wk), Tim Southee, Rahul Tewatia, Ankit Sharma, Amit Mishra.
Kings XI Punjab: George Bailey (c), David Miller, Manan Vohra, Mitchell Johnson, Glenn Maxwell, Virender Sehwag, Rishi Dhawan, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Shaun Marsh, Cheteshwar Pujara, Beuran Hendricks, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Thisara Perera, Gurkeerat Mann Singh, Murali Kartik, Sandeep Sharma, Mandeep Singh, Akshar Patel, Parvinder Awana, Shardul Thakur, Anureet Singh, Shivam Sharma, Karanveer Singh.
Time: 20:00 IST | 14:30 GMT
(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)
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