11.40 pm: There is only one way to wrap this blog up. With a Jofra Archer tweet from 2013. Enough said. Goodnight, folks.

Sanju Samson: I have been hitting it well for the last one year. I have been following my routines and working hard. I can see a change in my game.

Steve Smith: What we have seen from Tewatia in the nets is what we saw in the Cottrell over.

11.31 pm: Pictures that say the words we are looking..

Tewatia: Now I am better. That was the worst 14 balls I ever faced. Then I started connecting. They knew I can hit the ball long. It was a matter of one six. Five in an over. That’s amazing. Coach sent me to hit some sixes off the leg-spinner

11.28 pm: A tweet from 2017 by Tewatia. What can one say?

11.18 pm:

11.15 pm: #RR WIN! The highest ever run-chase in the history of IPL! WOW. Tom Curran hit the winning runs in the last over. What have we just seen?

11.10 pm: SIX! FIFTY! Rahul Tewatia, what have you just done. What have you just done! RR need 2 off 7 balls.

11.07 pm: SIX, SIX! Jofra Archer has just hit two massive sixes off the first two balls he faced. We cannot believe this.

11.05 pm: OUT! Uthappa out off the first ball of the 19th over. Shami strikes. RR need 21 off 11. Archer time.

11.02 pm: FIVE SIXES IN AN OVER! RAHUL TEWATIA, WOW! SIX SIX SIX SIX DOT SIX Folks, not sure we have seen anything like this turnaround ever in the history of IPL. How about you? RR 21 needed off 12 balls.


11.00 pm: SIX SIX SIX! WOW WOW! With 51 needed off 18 balls, Tewatia hits three sixes on the trot. No words. No words. RR need 33 off 15 balls.

After 17 overs, RR 161/2 (Samson 85, Tewatia 14): Shami takes the wicket that all but seals the game! Bouncer from Shami and Samson can just glove this to Rahul behind the stumps. End of a fantastic innings and one that is going to end in defeat. He’s out for 85 off 42.

Ashish Magotra: Samson falls after a brilliant, brilliant 85 off 42 with 4 fours and 7 sixes. A special talent that the Indian team must make the most of.

After 16 overs, RR 161/2 (Samson 85, Tewatia 14): Incredible? Have you ever seen a batsman farm the strike when there are only two wickets that have fallen? Samson, rightly so perhaps, denies a single in an over where he hit 3 sixes off Maxwell. Great hitting. Tewatia must be feeling awful. Heart goes out to him, really.

Meanwhile in the Premier League (the football kind)...

After 15 overs, RR 140/2 (Samson 64, Tewatia 14): Incredible, this. Tewatia faces five balls in the over and hits one six but struggles rest of the time. Good over from Bishoni.

After 14 overs, RR 132/2 (Samson 63, Tewatia 7): Samson hit a six off the first ball, Tewatia takes a single off the last ball. That is just.... wow. Three balls each faced in that over.

After 13 overs, RR 122/2 (Samson 55, Tewatia 5): Oh dear. Tewatia’s innings has severely hurt RR’s chances in this run-chase. He is batting on 5 off 13 balls at the moment as a timeout is taken. Has struggled to get any sort of rhythm going.

They just showed a proud Jonty Rhodes (KXIP fielding coach) bowing down to Pooran’s effort...

After 12 overs, Royals 118/2 (Samson 52, Tewatia 5): Back-to-back fifties for Sanju Samson! Bishnoi puts tough down a chance at the deep and Maxwell is disappointed (more with the wild throw). But another good innings from Samson. Can he take this all the way? (Tewatia is not helping)

After 11 overs, Royals 112/2 (Samson 49, Tewatia 3): If Tewatia was promoted as a pinch-hitter, it is not going quite well so far. He is batting at 3 off 7 balls. It’s going to add to Samson’s pressure. He is on 49, still striking really well.

End of 10 overs, RR 104/2. Need 120 from 60 balls. Exactly 12 an over. Royals have lost Smith soon after he reached his fifty with Neesham providing the breakthrough. Samson unbeaten on 43.

After 9 overs, Royals 100/2 (Samson 41, Tewatia 0): BIG WICKET FOR KXIP! Smith is livid with himself, Neesham is pumped. Caught in the deep on the off-side. The Kiwi all-rounder provides a big breakthrough.

Fifty for Steve Smith: Off a bad bouncer by Neesham, Smith has a laugh as he can just get a single to reach his 10th IPL fifty. It’s been a good innings from the Royals captain.

10.11 pm: Pardon us as we take our time to provide score updates BUT Nicholas Pooran has just pulled off THE MOST SENSATIONAL PIECE OF FIELDING! Wow. Dived full length and pulled the ball back from beyond the boundary line.

After 7 overs, RR 80/1 (Smith 46, Samson 25): This is a tough test for Bishnoi, perhaps the toughest he has faced in his career. Smith hits for a six over long on when the ball is pitched up. Great effort by Cottrell to save a couple of runs on the field at the end of that over.

After 6 overs, RR 69/1 (Smith 37, Samson 24): The powerplay has been a very good one for Royals. This chase is on, folks! Smith hits three fours in Neesham’s over.

After 5 overs, RR 55/1 (Smith 23, Samson 23): Ravi Bishnoi into the attack and Samson hits another lovely six down the ground.

After 4 overs, RR 44/1 (Smith 23, Samson 13): Smith is looking in really good touch again. A six and four off Shami’s over. Almost hurt himself trying to play the ramp shot though.

After 3 overs, RR 30/1 (Smith 12, Buttler 10): OUT COMES THE SALUTE! Cottrell has the wicket of Buttler and it’s the start KXIP were after. A sharp catch by Sarfaraz at midwicket. Buttler’s good run against KXIP comes to an end, out for 4. Samson comes out to the middle and casually hits a 81m six off the second ball he faced and follows that up with a four.

After 2 overs, RR 19/0 (Buttler 4, Smith 11): A good over from Shami who is in great form. A knuckle ball had Buttler in tangle and there was a big appeal for caught behind. Not out though.

After 1 over, RR 11/0 (Buttler 1, Smith 8)

They can get to this total but scoreboard pressure will also be a factor in this innings. RR will always feel the need to keep going for their shots. That is what the 224-run target means. Two fours for Smith in the over.

Steve Smith and Jos Buttler are out to open the innings for RR.

After 20 overs, KXIP 223/2 (Maxwell 13, Pooran 25): POORAN TEES OFF! Archer has not had a good day and Pooran smashes another big six, this one over long off. Next ball is a four. And after a couple of good dot balls, Pooran finishes with a FLAT SIX OVER MIDWICKET.

Archer with the last over...

After 19 overs, KXIP 205/2 (Maxwell 12, Pooran 9): Pooran smashes one out of the ground! Hits the roof and bounces over. Then hits one high up in the air (so, so high!) and Uthappa cannot get underneath it. So tough, really.

After 18 overs, KXIP 194/2 (Maxwell 10, Pooran 0): Another wicket! Rajpoot concedes a couple of boundaries to Maxwell early on in the over (the second a sensational slice over third man) but comes back well to finish with the wicket of Rahul, who falls for 69. Caught in the deep on the offside.

After 17 overs, KXIP 185/1 (Rahul 69, Maxwell 1) A wicket finally. Mayank Agarwal hits one to Sanju Samson in the deep and Tom Curran, FINALLY, provides Royals a breakthrough. End of a sensational innings. Agarwal out for 106. Glenn Maxwell walks in. It’s another good over in the scheme of things for Royals.

After 16 overs, KXIP 178/0 (Rahul 67, Agarwal 102): Amid all the carnage a good over from Ankit. Just six off it.

After 15 overs, KXIP 172/0 (Rahul 64, Agarwal 100): CENTURY FOR MAYANK AGARWAL! Has taken just 45 balls. The first ton in IPL cricket for the Karnataka batsman. His stock continues to rise in Indian cricket. What a batsman. Gets to the landmark with a four to piece the gap in the deep on the off-side. The runs continue to pile on.

Phew...timeout. Not sure about “strategic” for either side but one that we could use for sure...

After 14 overs, KXIP 161/0 (Rahul 58, Agarwal 95): Archer comes back, goes for plenty. Rahul brings out the Nataraja shot in that over! Always delightful to see that. And Agarwal follows suit too, this friendship is next level.

After 13 overs, KXIP 148/0 (Rahul 52, Agarwal 88): Six no 7 for Mayank! A lovely lofted drive over extra cover off Shreyas Gopal. Another good over for Kings XI.

Ashish Magotra: Mayank has looked so good – in control against pace and spin. But loving the manner in which KL Rahul has adapted today – given more strike to Mayank and will probably start playing more shots now.

After 12 overs, KXIP 138/0 (Rahul 50, Agarwal 81): HALF CENTURY FOR KL RAHUL! The Kings XI captain waits on a slower ball from Curran and slams it over square for his big hit of the night. Rahul’s first six of the innings batting in Sharjah has come in the 12th over, while Agarwal has hit six already. Who would have thought. He then plays a sensational slice over point, that’s all wrist. Dug out a wide yorker superbly. The half century comes up off 35 balls. Agarwal finishes the over with a boundary.

After 11 overs, KXIP 120/0 (Rahul 38, Agarwal 76): Another over, another boundary for Agarwal. A streaky one over short-third off an outside edge. Unadkat tad unlucky but its a 10-run over for Kings XI.

After 10 overs, KXIP 110/0 (Rahul 36, Agarwal 69): Tom Curran into the attack and Agarwal helps himself to another boundary. Rahul, meanwhile, is content to give his Karnataka mate majority of the strike. Should he press on the pedal now too?

After 9 overs, KXIP 102/0 (Rahul 34, Agarwal 63): HALF CENTURY FOR MAYANK! It’s a masterclass from Agarwal.. Gets to the landamark with a six down the ground and hits another six later in the over (his SIXTH!) to bring up his side’s 100.

After 8 overs, KXIP 86/0 (Rahul 33, Agarwal 48): BACK-TO-BACK SIXES! The first one is a Sharjah six, the next one is a six anywhere in the world as Agarwal lofts one down the ground. What sensational timing! Follows that with a four through midwicket. Tewatia concedes 19 in his first over as a timeout is called.

After 7 overs, KXIP 67/0 (Rahul 31, Agarwal 31): Oh sensational from Riyan Parag to save a few runs for his side. Agarwal mishit one down the ground but it was still carrying over the fence. The youngster pushed the ball back into the field while in the air.

Sheyas Gopal into the attack...

After 6 overs, KXIP 60/0 (Rahul 26, Agarwal 29): Just two singles as Rahul and Agarwal take it easy. A good over to end the powerplay by Jofra Archer but this has been a great powerplay for Kings XI Punjab.

After 5 overs, KXIP 58/0 (Rahul 25, Agarwal 28): And now back-to-back fours by Agarwal. This is not good cricket by RR. Offering length balls aplenty in the powerplay. And there is also a wide in the over which turned out to be a no-ball as well. And the free hit goes for four over point. In the form he is in, that’s two runs less than he would have liked, tsk tsk. Fifty-run partnership comes up in that over too.

Of course...

After 4 overs, KXIP 41/0 (Rahul 19, Agarwal 19): Jofra Archer into the attack. Just the best RR bowler. And what does KL Rahul do? Four. Four. Four. Two cracking drives through cover and then a slice over point. What a start for Punjab.

After 3 overs, KXIP 28/0 (Rahul 6, Agarwal 19): Did not quite connect with a pull shot, but Agarwal still gets four for it. Rahul is taking his time (so to speak) to get his eye in. Sloppy from bowler and keeper to concede a wide that goes for two extra runs. Agarwal then slams his second six. AND THAT IS SIX NO 100 OF IPL 2020! 17 runs from that Unadkat over.

After 2 overs, KXIP 11/0 (Rahul 3, Agarwal 8): The first boundary of the night is, of course, a six. Length ball from Rajpoot and Agarwal gives himself room and lofts it down the ground on the up. Elegant.

Ankit Rajpoot from the other end...

After 1 over, KXIP 3/0 (Rahul 2, Agarwal 1): Good over from Unadkat. A couple of quick singles to start off for the openers. Signs of a two-paced pitch already as a length ball stopped on Rahul.

7.29 pm: Alright then. Here we go. Are win for another six-fest? We saw 33 big hits in RRvCSK at Sharjah. What’s in store tonight? Rahul and Agarwal in the middle. Unadkat to start off.

7.25 pm: Head to head

Matches RR won KXIP won Tied
RR vs KXIP 19 10 8 1 (RR lost)

7.18 pm: For a team that is known usually for backing young talent, disappointing to see that Buttler’s return means no place in the XI for Yashasvi. Miller also misses out tonight after a 0-ball 0 in his first outing.

7.07 pm:

Rajasthan Royals XI: Steve Smith, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson, Robin Uthappa, Riyan Parag, Tom Curran, Rahul Tewatia, Shreyas Gopal, Jofra Archer, Ankit Rajpoot, Jayadev Unadkat

Kings XI Punjab XI: KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Nicholas Pooran, Sarfaraz Khan, Glenn Maxwell, Jimmy Neesham, M Ashwin, Sheldon Cottrell, Md Shami, Ravi Bishnoi

7.05 pm: As expected, Jos Buttler returns to the XI for RR. For KXIP, still no Chris Gayle.


6.59 pm: Another intriguing aspect would be to see if Punjab give Chris Gayle a game with Rahul saying the Universe Boss will feature at the right point when his team needs. He has been seen warming up... toss coming up.

6.56 pm: Reminder that Buttler has hit four half centuries in his last five outings against KXIP. Not a bad opponent to begin your IPL 2020 campaign, eh?

6.54 pm: Sanju Samson will like to continue his dream form while the presence of Jos Buttler puts Rajasthan Royals on even keel with Kings XI Punjab in an Indian Premier League game in Sharjah that promises to be yet another six-hitting contest.

When Royals took on Chennai Super Kings at this venue in their opener, a total 33 sixes were hit in the match, which was the joint-highest in IPL history. And with Buttler joining the ranks, to go with the array of stars KXIP possess, that record could come under real threat.

6.35 pm: Before we look forward to today’s match, revisit the innings that defined these two sides’ wins in their previous matches.

KL Rahul’s century against RCB:

Sanju Samson’s blistering innings against CSK:

6.30 pm: Hello and welcome to the live blog of match No 9 in the 13th edition of Indian Premier League. Rajasthan Royals take on Kings XI Punjab.

The big news ahead of the game against Kings XI is the return of Jos Buttler for the Royals. The Englishman has now finished his mandatory quarantine having arrived with his family separately. This means that coach Andrew McDonald will now have some big decisions to make ahead of the second match. KXIP have done really well with both the bat and bowl in the last game after losing a thriller in the opener against DC and, overall, would be riding on a high on the back of a sensational KL Rahul innings.

In the first match in Sharjah, THIRTY THREE SIXES were hit (RR: 17, CSK: 16). It was not exactly an easy pitch to bat on, mind you. But the ground is made for such entertainment. Will we see as many today?