Match 23 Preview: After Thrashing 2, Kings XI eye 3rd Champ RR

After beating 2010 and 2009 edition champions, Kings XI Punjab is set to play the third champion, Rajasthan Royals. Can they gulp 3rd champion too, in a row, after thrashing Chennai, 2010 Champion, and Deccan Chargers, 2009 Champion!!

History
Kings XI has reached the semifinal of 2008 edition, when Rajasthan Royals won the first edition of IPL. Since then both have failed to reach the knockout stage. Royals hold a huge edge over Kings XI winning 4 of their 6 clashes.

2011 Performances
Without the services of fiery Watson, who was Player of the Tournament in 2008, Royals have produced two emphatic wins. They drubbed their prey Deccan Chargers easily and then went on to thump Delhi Daredevils. But after that they had to play two back-to-back matches against Kolkata Knight Riders. In third match, their record of defending totals above 145 runs was broken against KKR, and in fourth match at Edens, they scored the third-ever lowest score of IPL, losing it againt to KKR.

Kings XI, initially appearing the weakest team, shot into prominence with big wins. They first surprised 2010 champtions Chennai Super Kings at home, and then defeated 2009 champions Deccan Chargers. They earlier lost to Pune Warriors.

Player’s Performance
Kings XI player performance index indicates how dependent they are on Valthaty. He has scored 201 runs in 3 matches. Gilchrist is second highest scorer with 81 runs (see Kings XI player performance). Valthaty is also the leading wicket taker, and overall their bowling has improved taking 16 wickets in 3 matches.

Rajasthan Royals player performance index shows better batting, with three batsmen touching 100-mark, and Menaria approaching it. Their bowlers have taken 16 wickets in 4 matches (see Rajasthan Royals player performance).

Head-to-Head: Royals: 4, Kings 2
2008

    RR def KXIP by 6 Wickets
    KXIP def RR by 41 runs

2009

    KXIP def RR by 27 Runs
    RR def KXIP by 78 Runs

2010

    RR def KXIP by 31 runs
    RR def KXIP by 9 Wickets

2008 Performance
On their way to championship RR won record 13 matches and lost just 3. Kings XI also reached the semifinal with 10 wins and 5 losses, finishing second at group stage behind Royals.

2009 Performance
South Africa did not suit them and they managed just 5 wins, Lost 8, and 1 was abandoned. Kings XI won 7 and lost 7 to fail reaching the knock out stage in foreign land.

2010 Performance
RR again failed to enter knockout and could win only 6 and Lost 8 matches. Kings XI, victim of all games but Cricket finished at the lower bottom at group stage winning 4 and losing 10 matches.

Overall Performance
RR has a positive win loss ratio, making them one of the successful teams of IPL in last three editions. They have Won 24, Lost 19, and one match was abandoned. Kings XI has a decent overall performance rate. They have 21 and lost 22 till 210 edition.

Who Will Win Today!
Kings XI can take two positives to win the match. They have already defeated 2010 and 2009 champions, CSK and DC, although they have lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore and Pune Warriors. Considering the current form Kings XI looks set to win. The success and failure of Valthaty and Watson will decide the winner.

Key Battles
Valthaty vs Watson/Tait
Valthaty has destroyed two champions already. If he continues his song third champion would also fall prey to Kings XI Punjab. Tait is starting with good spell, although failing in the later half. If he has another good spell and Valthaty is his scalp, Rajasthan Royals will win the half-battle. If Tait fails, Watson can try his luck to get his form back, which Royals need desperately. The battle between Watson/Tait and Valthaty can decide the fate of the game.

Watson/Taylor vs Praveen Kumar and co
The Kings XI bowlers led by Praveen Kumar would face the biggest hurdle in Watson and Ross Taylor. Both are fighting to contribute and are due to do so. The match against Kings XI can be their match, and be the defining moment for Rajasthan Royals march towards semifinal.

Rajasthan Royals Squad
Batsman: Ross Taylor, Rahul Dravid, Swapnil Asnodkar, Amit Singh, Ankeet Chavan, Aakash Chopra, Faiz Fazal, Amit Paunikar, Ajinkya Rahane, Pinal Shah (WK), Dishant Harendra Yagnik (WK)
Allrounder: Shane Watson, Paul Collingwood, Dinesh Salunkhe
Bowlers: Shane Warne (Captain), Shaun Tait, Stuart Binny, Aditya Dole, Nayan Doshi, Samad Fallah, Ashok Menaria, Sumit Narwal, Pankaj Singh, Abhishek Raut, Siddharth Trivedi

Kings XI Squad
Batsman: Adam Gilchrist (Captain/Keeper), Shaun Marsh, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Vikramjeet Malik, Nitin Saini
Allrounders: David Hussey, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Mandeep Singh
Bowlers: Stuart Broad, Ryan Harris, Ryan McLaren, Nathan Rimmington, Love Ablish, Praveen Kumar, Amit Yadav, Bhargav Bhatt, Bipul Sharma, Piyush Chawla, Siddharth Chitnis, Paras Dogra, Shalabh Srivastava, Sunny Singh, Paul Valthaty

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