Sanju Samson will like to continue his dream form while the presence of Jos Butler puts Rajasthan Royals on even keel with Kings XI Punjab in an IPL game which promises to be yet another six-hitting contest.
Coming into the match after morale-boosting victories, both KXIP and the Royals would look to build a winning momentum after starting the tournament as underdogs.
Butler, who missed the first match due to quarantine rules as he reached the UAE separately with his family, is expected to open alongside Yashasvi Jaiswal while Steve Smith will take David Miller's position in the batting order. Tom Curran and Jofra Archer will again complete the four-player overseas quota.
KL Rahul, touted as a future India captaincy material, plundered a record 132 not out off just 69 balls with the help of seven sixes in a much bigger ground in Dubai to lead KXIP to a resounding 97-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore. He did get reprieve twice when his opposite number Virat Kohli dropped a couple of sitters.
The 28-year-old Rahul, one of the cleanest hitters of the ball, notched up the highest score by an Indian in IPL history and he would like to continue in the same vein on a ground which has short boundaries on all sides.
The young Samson, on the other hand, made a mincemeat of the Chennai Super Kings bowlers, hitting nine sixes in his 32-ball 74 before Jofra Archer joined the party with a four-six burst in the final over in the match played at the same venue here on Tuesday.
The Royals captain Smith also chipped in with a 47-ball 69 while playing his first match after concussion related issues in the United Kingdom.
For KXIP, Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell would look to make amends for his low score (5) in the earlier match against RCB.
In the bowling department, Mohammed Shami and West Indian Sheldon Cottrell led the pace-bowling department quite well for KXIP while the likes of leg-spinners Ravi Bishnoi and Murugan Ashwin grabbed three wickets apiece against RCB.
The Royals managed to defend their 216 run target with Archer bowling brilliantly at the death and leg spinner Rahul Tewatia (3/37 in 4 overs) inflicting top order damage.
The sore point was yet another poor show from Jaydev Unadkat, who has never been able to raise his IPL game save one odd season with Rising Pune Supergiants.
It will be interesting if Smith and Andrew McDonald decide to try out rookie Kartik Tyagi or seasoned Varun Aaron in Unadkat's place keeping his lack of pace and short boundaries in mind.
Kings XI Punjab: Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul(C & WK), Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, Karun Nair, Sarfaraz Khan, James Neesham, Murugan Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Gayle, Mandeep Singh, Chris Jordan, Krishnappa Gowtham, Deepak Hooda, Hardus Viljoen, Jagadeesha Suchith, Ishan Porel, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Tajinder Singh, Darshan Nalkande, Arshdeep Singh, Simran Singh, Harpreet Brar
Rajasthan Royals Squad: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler, Steven Smith(C), Sanju Samson(WK), Robin Uthappa, Rahul Tewatia, Riyan Parag, Tom Curran, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat, David Miller, Varun Aaron, Aniruddha Joshi, Manan Vohra, Ankit Rajpoot, Andrew Tye, Shashank Singh, Mahipal Lomror, Oshane Thomas, Mayank Markande, Anuj Rawat, Kartik Tyagi, Akash Singh
Starting XI Prediction:
Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul (C & WK), Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran, Karun Nair, Sarfaraz Khan, Glenn Maxwell, Jimmy Neesham, Murugan Ashwin, Sheldon Cottrell, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami.
Rajasthan Royals: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson (wk), Steve Smith (c), Robin Uthappa, Rahul Tewatia, Tom Curran, Riyan Parag, Shreyas Gopal, Jofra Archer, Jaydev Unadkat
Rajasthan Royals vs Kings XI Punjab Dream XI:
KL Rahul (C & WK), Jos Butler, Mayank Agarwal, Sanju Samson, Steve Smith, Sarfaraz Khan, Sheldon Cottrell, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Jofra Archer, Jaydev Unadkat
What to expect?
It is a game between two explosive sides. And with the Sharjah ground being smaller in size, the contest will surely be a hard-hitting one form both teams.