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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Kings XI Punjab openers pose huge threat

Rajasthan Royals are struggling to find the right balance

West Indies star Chris Gayle has delivered for Kings XI Punjab
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Rajasthan Royals v Kings XI Punjab
Sky Sports Cricket, 3.30pm

Kings XI Punjab beat Rajasthan Royals by six wickets on Sunday and they could deliver a knockout blow to the Royals' playoff chances in the reverse fixture.

Kings XI have relied heavily on their opening batsmen this season and that was the case once again in Indore as Lokesh Rahul's unbeaten 84 proved the decisive innings in a low-scoring match.

Rahul and Chris Gayle put on 23 for the first wicket while Kings XI dismissed Royals opener D'Arcy Short with the score at just three and backing the hosts to have the higher opening stand again is a tempting bet.

The Punjab top two have been outstanding this season. The elegant Rahul has scored 376 runs in nine innings at a strike-rate of almost 163 runs per 100 balls and Gayle has blasted a century and three fifties in his six innings.

Rajasthan, in contrast, are struggling to find the right balance at the top of the order where Short, Jos Buttler, Ajinkya Rahane, Heinrich Klaasen and Rahul Tripathi have all been tried.

Both Gayle and Rahul, who walloped 42 runs from his final 15 balls on Sunday, have the confidence to play themselves in during the Powerplay overs while the Royals, desperate for a win, may have to take more early risks.

Kings XI's spinners bowled five of the first six overs in Indore, taking two wickets for just 28 runs, and they could make an early breakthrough in the home clash with the Royals.

Recommendation
Kings XI Punjab to have higher opening partnership
2pts 10-11 Sky Bet


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Gayle and Rahul, who walloped 42 runs from his final 15 balls on Sunday, have the confidence to play themselves in during the Powerplay overs
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