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.
Rajasthan Royals: Jos Buttler, Steven Smith(c), Sanju Samson(w), Robin Uthappa, Rahul Tewatia, Riyan Parag, Tom Curran, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat, Ankit Rajpoot
Kings XI Punjab: Mayank Agarwal, Lokesh Rahul(w/c), Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, Karun Nair, Sarfaraz Khan, James Neesham, Murugan Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Sheldon Cottrell
The game begins!
KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal are at the crease. Rahul is on strike. Jaydev Unadkat will open the attack for RR.
Score after 5 overs: KXIP (58-0)
The ground is small, the batsmen are Rahul and Agarwal. One thing is certain in this game, BOUNDARIES. We may witness another great opening partnership from the pair. The explosive fixture has just begun!
Score after 10 overs: KXIP (110-0)
The Kannada boys on fire. This time, Agarwal is out-scoring his skipper and a century looks on the cards. The partnership is solid, having already surpassed the previous best opening partnership this year.
Score after 20 overs: KXIP (223-2), RR needs 224 runs to win
A glorious inning from Kings XI Punjab. Rajasthan Royals will have a tough challenge ahead of them, but it is not an impossible chase. Steve Smith and Co had defender a similar target against Chennai Super Kings in their opening clash.
Now, the inaugural champions will look forward to completing the chase. All eyes will be on Sanju Samson, who put up a quickfire performance against Dhoni's CSK.
The second inning begins!
Jos Buttler and Steve Smith are at the crease. Buttler is on strike. Sheldon Cottrell will open the attack for KXIP.
Score after 5 overs: RR (55-1)
Despite losing Jos Buttler early on, the game cannot be considered over for Rajasthan Royals. Steve Smith and Sanju Samson are still at the crease. From what it seems, Samson's show is starting to begin. He has already hit two maximums and taken his IPL 6s tally to 100!
Score after 10 overs: RR (104-2)
Steve Smith has been dismissed. Huge responsibility on Samson's shoulders. The team's middle-order crisis may haunt the side as completing the chase requires consistent boundaries.
Score after 15 overs: RR (140-2), need 84 runs in 30 balls
Rahul Tewatia has slowed down the game completely. The required run-rate has risen and the inaugural champions need piles of boundaries to win.
Rajasthan Royals win by 4 wickets
Rahul Tewatia's five sixes off the 18th over bowled by Sheldon Cottrell coupled with Sanju Samson's 85 off 42 balls helped Rajasthan Royals overhaul a target of 224 set by Kings XI Punjab on Sunday at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. RR won the match by four wickets and thus broke the record for the highest successful run chase in the IPL history.
Mayank Agarwal's century and his epic 183-run opening stand with captain KL Rahul helped KXIP score 223/2. RR in reply ended the match on 226/6 with three balls to spare.
RR lost their first wicket early in the form of the dangerous Jos Buttler.
Samson and captain Steve Smith, however, ensured that their side reach 100 before the 10th over. Smith soon fell on 50 off 27 deliveries off the last ball of the ninth over after which Tewatia was promoted ahead of Robin Uthappa.
In stark contrast to the way he played towards the end of the innings, Tewatia struggled to score runs for much of the early part of his innings while Samson went big guns at the other end.
The latter eventually fell to Mohammed Shami, thus making it look like KXIP are closing in on an easy victory.
However, Tewatia, who at one point had scored just eight runs off 19 balls, smashed 30 runs off the 18th over to flip the tables on KXIP. He was eventually dismissed on 53 but Jofra Archer saw them over the line with 13 runs off just three balls.
Earlier, Mayank scored 106 from 50 balls, his innings punctuated by as many seven sixes and 10 fours. Rahul, on the other hand, scored 69 off 54, smashing seven fours and one six.