Rajasthan Royals will take on Kings XI Punjab on March 25 at Jaipur to begin their IPL 2019 campaign. Royals will be pumped up by the return of Steve Smith while Punjab will be eager to see how their new recruits fare in the iconic T20 tournament.
Here we look at the three key players for the RR vs KXIP IPL 2019 clash.
The right-hand batsman was Punjab’s leading run-scorer in IPL 2019. He amassed 659 runs at a strike rate of 158.41 and in his 14 innings scored six fifties.
He began the 2018 season against Delhi by registering the fastest fifty (14 balls) in IPL. Earlier this year he was struggling to get runs but he has looked in good nick in his last international appearance. He has scored 50, 47 and 26 runs in his last three international innings.
He will look forward to take that confidence in IPL 2019 and he can be expected to have a good season.
One of the most exciting batsmen in T20 cricket, Jos Buttler can turn the game in no time. And for Rajasthan he bats in the powerplays which amplifies his threat and makes him even more dangerous.
He averaged a whopping a 54.80 runs in 2018 and smashed runs at a strike rate of 155.24. This makes him a force to reckon with at the top of the order and his match up against Punjab’s spinners will be worth watching.
The Universal Boss will have plenty of eyes on him as he enters IPL 2019. The left-hander reduced the England bowling attack to a pulp with his incredible hitting in the recent series and smashed 39 sixes.
In 2018 he scored 368 runs with one hundred and three fifties but Punjab will want more consistency from him this year.
Also keep an eye on these two players as they can emerge as the X-factors.
This is one bowler who has improved significantly in the last one year. Shami has honed his skills, has become faster and more accurate. The result? Man of the tournament award in the New Zealand series as he claimed 11 wickets in four ODIs.
Shami didn’t play much in the 2018 IPL season and his overall numbers aren’t too great as well. He has just 21 wickets in 43 IPL games but given his current red hot form these numbers would change this year.
The man who literally carried Pune into IPL finals in 2017, Ben Stokes is a massive player for any team in any format.
In 2017 he scored 316 runs and claimed 12 wickets but in 2018 he returned with just 196 runs and 8 wickets.
Rajasthan will be hoping that this year he comes good with an improved performance and his role as Rajasthan’s finisher will be a crucial one.