The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 caravan moves to Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur, where Rajasthan Royals (RR) have a 5-0 record against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP).
Indeed, this venue has been a fortress for the Royals, who have won 69.09% of their IPL matches here (38 of 55) and eight of their last ten. The return of Steve Smith firmly puts the spotlight on a side that also has Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler in its ranks.
Home and away, RR have six wins out of their last ten against KXIP, but just two in their last six (W2, L4). They have won five of their last six IPL season openers, although last season’s result was a loss. RR’s overall record in season openers remains 5-4, although they have played (and won) only two IPL openers at home.
KXIP’s bowling riches – Ravichandran Ashwin, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Andrew Tye, Mohammed Shami and Sam Curran – makes them an envious unit. Chris Gayle and KL Rahul tee off like laser jets at the top, but questions remain over their middle order.
The visitors have won just four of their 11 IPL season openers so far, but interestingly all four wins have come in their last six seasons (W4, L2).null
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Jos Buttler (RR) wasn’t dismissed in the first six overs at all last season, despite opening in seven games.
KL Rahul (KXIP) scored 179 runs last season against the Royals (84* & 95*) without being dismissed.
RR have won six of the nine H2H matches where they have batted first. RR have won 17 of the 21 IPL matches (80.95%) they started as favourites.
KXIP have lost 40 of their 68 IPL games (58.82%) on the road. ‘Universe Boss’ Gayle needs just six runs to reach 4,000 IPL runs, but averages 26.45 against the Royals, with just one fifty.