Punjab and Rajasthan lock horns in the high-voltage clash for the playoffs battle in Indian T20 League 2020.
We’re in the last week of the tournament and only Mumbai assured their place in the playoffs. Rajasthan and Punjab fight each other in Abu Dhabi to eliminate each other. Rajasthan bounced back on the same ground after pulling a remarkable chase, guided by Ben Stokes. With 10 points from 12 matches, Rajasthan can reach at maximum 14 points and their rivals are Punjab, Kolkata and Hyderabad who can upstage them from the top four but fortunately, Smith-led side has two back-to-back games with Punjab and Kolkata so they don’t need to rely on others. If they do so, they can qualify on the basis of good run-rate. Sanju Samson’s comeback knock against Mumbai is the big boost to Rajasthan and Stokes’ ton boosted their confidence high. They chased down almost 200 without allowing Buttler to bat. Death-bowling is a big concern and Smith can drop Ankit Rajpoot.
Meanwhile, Punjab are a high-flying unit, having picked 5 wins out of 5 in the second half. They replicated the social media’s trend, “how it's going and how it's ended” with a sensational comeback. From the bottom in the first half, they find themselves on 4th spot. Punjab’s equation is pretty clear and they just need to win two more games to reach 16 points which would be enough to seal their playoffs seat. If they lose here, they can still back their unit to win the final game to finish on 14 points but the run-rate would create a difference. Mayank Agarwal can take his opening slot and Mandeep would replace Deepak Hooda in middle-order. The death-bowling is exceptionally good and Punjab can aim for the 6th consecutive win on Friday. If Rajasthan’s overseas players are seen off the colours, Punjab can clinch yet another game.
Abu Dhabi’s track is a pure batting surface and it offers a good amount of runs. Spinners are in command in middle-overs but it’s not so effective as Dubai’s surface. It’s dry but it needs sensibility to score runs. The match progresses, you can hit runs easily.
KL Rahul (c & wk), Mandeep Singh, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, Deepak Hooda/Mayank Agarwal, Chris Jordan, Murugan Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh
Robin Uthappa, Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson (wk), Jos Buttler, Steven Smith (c), Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Ankit Rajpoot/Jaydev Unadkat, Kartik Tyagi
This season – M: 12, Runs: 595, Avg: 59.50
This season – M: 05, Runs: 177, Avg: 35.40
This season – M: 12, Wickets: 17, Avg: 18.82
This season – M: 12, Runs: 224, SR: 139.69