Dubai: Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad will be wary of the fast-improving Kings XI Punjab as the two teams face each other in Dubai on Thursday.
The KL Rahul-led Kings XI Punjab registered their third consecutive win of IPL 2020, that too with a five-wicket margin, against table-toppers Delhi Capitals at the Dubai International Stadium on Tuesday to move into fifth place on the points table.
Not only did the Kings XI Punjab break Delhi Capitals’ winning spree, but the gifted side improved their chances for a place in the play-offs with four wins for eight points to grab fifth position in the standings.
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Both Royals and Sunrisers have so far struggled to get their combinations right and be among the serious challengers this season. During their last match against Kolkata Knight Riders, the Sunrisers came close to logging full points till that defeat in the Super Over. Skipper David Warner topscored with an unbeaten 47 runs off 33 deliveries while Jonny Bairstow (36 off 28) and Kane Williamson (29 off 19) managed to tie the scores and push the game into the Super Over.
Coach Trevor Bayliss opted for a less intense training session for his boys late on Tuesday. After spending some time at the nets with the batsmen going for their shots, Baylis preferred to give his spinners and the quicks a bit of an exercise in spot bowling to improve and improvise on their accuracy.
“Making sure they are all fresh for tomorrow is the main thing,” Bayliss explained as the legendary Muttiah Muralitharan supervised during the workout.
“Players have to put in their performances and try to win each game. The format of this tournament demands it,” Murali said.
“If each of the players decide to put their hand up and assume responsibility, then we have a great chance of winning more matches. The bowlers have done their job so far, but it is the batting that needs to improve a bit more,” he explained.
The Rajasthan Royals too have been up and down with their performances so far. They had defeated SRH by five wickets in their first match on October 11, before crashing to two successive defeats against Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore. However, they steadied their boat the last time with an emphatic seven-wicket win with 15 balls to spare against former three-time champions Chennai Super Kings - at the end of which MS Dhoni gave away one of his yellow jerseys to matchwinner Jos Buttler.
Karnataka leggie Shreyas Gopal was quick to admit the roles played by everyone in the team’s win. “What a win! Great team work and brilliant performance from the boys. Like we said, we will keep pushing and we will keep fighting!”, he said in a tweet.
Catch the match
Rajasthan Royals vs Sunrisers Hyderabad
Venue: Dubai International Stadium
Start: 6 pm UAE
Live telecast on Bein Sports