A rampaging Kings XI Punjab would look to extend their exceptional run and inch closer to the playoffs while Rajasthan Royals would be desperate to stay alive in Indian Premier League 2020 when the two sides meet on Friday.
It has been a dramatic turnaround for the KL Rahul-led side after a string a losses earlier in the tournament.
They have put together five consecutive wins against the top four sides in the tournament and are in fourth position with 12 points from as many games, while the Royals have slumped to the penultimate spot with 10 points having suffered seven defeats from 12 outings.
As the league stage comes to an end, the scramble for the play-offs is on. With Mumbai Indians all but through, six teams are in the hunt for the remaining three spots.
The Royals can’t afford to slip up, if they lose on Friday they will be out of the reckoning while a defeat for Punjab will dent their chances for a top-four finish.
KXIP Results so far
|Match||Day/Date/Time||Venue||Result||Total points for season|
|DC vs KXIP||20 Sep, Sun (1930)||Dubai||KXIP lost in Super Over||0|
|KXIP vs RCB||24 Sep, Thu (1930)||Dubai||KXIP won by 97 runs||2|
|RR vs KXIP||27 Sep, Sun (1930)||Sharjah||KXIP lost by 4 wickets||2|
|KXIP vs MI||1 Oct, Thu (1930)||Abu Dhabi||KXIP lost by 48 runs||2|
|KXIP vs CSK||4 Oct, Sun (1930)||Dubai||KXIP lost by 10 wickets||2|
|SRH vs KXIP||8 Oct, Thu (1930)||Dubai||KXIP lost by 69 runs||2|
|KXIP vs KKR||10 Oct, Sat (1530)||Abu Dhabi||KXIP lost by 2 runs||2|
|RCB vs KXIP||15 Oct, Thu (1930)||Sharjah||KXIP won by 8 wickets||4|
|MI vs KXIP||18 Oct, Sun (1930)||Dubai||KXIP won after 2 Super Overs||6|
|KXIP vs DC||20 Oct, Tue (1930)||Dubai||KXIP won by 5 wickets||8|
|KXIP vs SRH||24 Oct, Sat (1930)||Dubai||KXIP won by 12 runs||10|
|KKR vs KXIP||26 Oct, Mon (1930)||Sharjah||KXIP won by 8 wickets||12|
RR results so far
|RR vs CSK||22 Sep, Tue (1930)||Sharjah||RR won by 16 runs||2|
|RR vs KXIP||27 Sep, Sun (1930)||Sharjah||RR won by 4 wickets||4|
|RR vs KKR||30 Sep, Wed (1930)||Dubai||RR lost by 37 runs||4|
|RCB vs RR||3 Oct, Sat (1530)||Abu Dhabi||RR lost by 8 wickets||4|
|MI vs RR||6 Oct, Tue (1930)||Abu Dhabi||RR lost by 57 runs||4|
|RR vs DC||9 Oct, Fri (1930)||Sharjah||RR lost by 46 runs||4|
|SRH vs RR||11 Oct, Sun (1530)||Dubai||RR won by 5 wickets||6|
|DC vs RR||14 Oct, Wed (1930)||Dubai||RR lost by 13 runs||6|
|RR vs RCB||17 Oct, Sat (1530)||Dubai||RR lost by 7 wickets||6|
|CSK vs RR||19 Oct, Mon (1930)||Abu Dhabi||RR won by 7 wickets||8|
|RR vs SRH||22 Oct, Thu (1930)||Dubai||RR lost by 8 wickets||8|
|RR vs MI||25 Oct, Sun (1930)||Abu Dhabi||RR won by 8 wickets||10|
Punjab captain Rahul is the leading run-scorer of the tournament and team would hope he fires in the crucial game after three straight underwhelming performances with the bat.
It is to be seen if Mayank Agarwal, who missed two games with a bruised knee, returns to the side. In his absence, Mandeep Singh revelled in the role of an opener with a match-winning unbeaten 66 in the win against Kolkata Knight Riders. The addition of Chris Gayle has also done wonders for the team’s confidence.
Punjab’s bowling, which has been their weakest link throughout the tournament, has been exceptional in their recent wins as well, choking the opposition for runs.
|Matches||RR won||KXIP won||Tied|
|RR vs KXIP||20||11||8||1 (RR lost)|
The Royals will also be high on confidence after their morale-boosting win over table toppers Mumbai and would be desperate to keep the winning momentum going.
The biggest positive for the Royals is Ben Stokes roaring back to form after rusty displays in previous five outings. The English all-rounder, who has been elevated to the role of opener, smashed an unbeaten 107 to help seal a seven-wicket win over Mumbai earlier this week.
Sanju Samson is also back among runs but Jos Buttler has looked erratic and skipper Steve Smith is in the middle of a lean patch.
The Jofra Archer-led bowling attack has looked ordinary so far as well. The pacer, who is having a stellar individual season with 17 wickets from 12 matches with an economy of 6.71, has done most of the heavy lifting with the ball without adequate support from the rest of the bowlers.
|Chris Gayle||Mohammed Shami||K Gowtham||KL Rahul|
|Mayank Agarwal||Mujeeb ur Rahman||Glenn Maxwell||Nicholas Pooran|
|Karun Nair||Arshdeep Singh||Deepak Hooda||Prabhsimran Singh|
|Sarfaraz Khan||Hardus Viljoen||James Neesham|
|Mandeep Singh||M Ashwin||Chris Jordan|
|J Suchith||Tajinder Singh|
|Mahipal Lomror||Ankit Rajpoot||Shreyas Gopal||Jos Buttler|
|Manan Vohra||Mayank Markande||Ben Stokes||Robin Uthappa|
|Riyan Parag||Jofra Archer||Rahul Tewatia||Sanju Samson|
|David Miller||Varun Aaron||Shashank Singh||Anuj Rawat|
|Steve Smith||Jaydev Unadkat||Anirudha Joshi|
|Yashasvi Jaiswal||Kartik Tyagi|
Match starts at 1930 IST and will be broadcast on the Star Sports network and Disney+Hotstar
(With PTI inputs)