Cricket

Punjab Kings Vs Rajasthan Royals, IPL 2024: Three Key Player Battles To Watch Out For

Rajasthan Royals' four-win streak was snapped by Gujarat Titans in their last game, while Punjab Kings are languishing in eighth place with four points and three defeats to their name. Here are three key player battles that could spice up match 27 of Indian Premier League 2024

Sanju Samson and Yuzvendra Chahal, RR vs GT, IPL 2024 match 24, AP photo
Rajasthan Royals' captain Sanju Samson, left, congratulates teammate Yuzvendra Chahal for taking the wicket of Gujarat Titans' captain Shubman Gill during the Indian Premier League 2024 match in Jaipur on Wednesday (April 10). Photo: AP/Surjeet Yadav
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Having played five games apiece in Indian Premier League 2024, Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Punjab Kings (PBKS) find themselves in almost diametrically positions in the points table. But recent results paint a somewhat different picture, and which way the pendulum will swing is anybody's guess, as the two teams prepare to face off at Mullanpur in match 27 of this IPL season on Saturday, April 13. (Preview | Full IPL Coverage | More Cricket News)

RR's four-win streak was snapped by Gujarat Titans in Jaipur, where Rashid Khan pulled off a last-ball victory for the visitors. Nevertheless, Sanju Samson's side continues to be perched on the top spot (before the start of the Lucknow Super Giants vs Delhi Capitals game) with eight points.

PBKS, on the other hand, are languishing in eighth place with four points and three defeats to their name thus far. They, too, lost their previous game by a narrow margin, with Sunrisers Hyderabad surviving a blitzkrieg by Shashank Singh and Ashutosh Sharma to eke out a two-run triumph.

Before the RR vs PBKS match begins, let us take a look at three key battles that could spice up the encounter.

Shikhar Dhawan Vs Trent Boult

The battle of the two experienced southpaws promises to be an exciting one, right at the start of the Punjab innings. While PBKS skipper Shikhar Dhawan is known for his languid strokeplay through the off side, Kiwi pacer Trent Boult is renowned for making the new white ball talk.

Boult had figures of 2-0-8-0 in RR's previous game and his quota was mysteriously unfulfilled. Will he return on Saturday to show what Samson missed that night? We'll find out soon.

Sanju Samson Vs Kagiso Rabada

Captaincy calls aside, Sanju Samson has been utterly reliable with the bat for his franchise. The 29-year-old keeper-batter has smashed three half-centuries in the league already and will be eager for more success, in the run-up to the Indian team selection for ICC T20 World Cup 2024.

To forge another top knock, Samson will have to weather the storm of Kagiso Rabada. The South African fast bowler has been among the wickets this season and though he has leaked runs at times, will aim to dismiss the RR skipper early to propel the hosts into ascendancy.

Shashank Singh Vs Yuzvendra Chahal

This clash is between two journeymen, so to speak. The 32-year-old Shashank Singh has been in sparkling form with the bat in IPL 2024, smashing an unbeaten 29-ball 61 against Gujarat Titans and following it up with an undefeated 25-ball 46 that almost won PBKS the match against SRH.

Out-of-favour India leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, too, has been firing on all cylinders and is the joint-highest wicket-taker (10 scalps) this season alongside Jasprit Bumrah. Singh has only been dismissed once in five innings so far and Chahal will use his guile to try and fox the batting all-rounder.

Squads

Punjab Kings: Shikhar Dhawan (c), Matthew Short, Prabhsimran Singh, Jitesh Sharma, Sikandar Raza, Rishi Dhawan, Liam Livingstone, Atharva Taide, Arshdeep Singh, Nathan Ellis, Sam Curran, Kagiso Rabada, Harpreet Brar, Rahul Chahar, Harpreet Bhatia, Vidwath Kaverappa, Shivam Singh, Harshal Patel, Chris Woakes, Ashutosh Sharma, Vishwanath Pratap Singh, Shashank Singh, Tanay Thyagarajan, Prince Choudhary, Rilee Rossouw.

Rajasthan Royals: Sanju Samson (c), Jos Buttler, Shimron Hetmyer, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Dhruv Jurel, Riyan Parag, Donovan Ferreira, Kunal Rathore, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Sen, Navdeep Saini, Sandeep Sharma, Trent Boult, Yuzvendra Chahal, Avesh Khan, Rovman Powell, Shubham Dubey, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Abid Mushtaq, Nandre Burger, Tanush Kotian, Keshav Maharaj.

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