The Rajasthan Royals showed just how good a unit they are in IPL 2015 with that authoritative victory over the Chennai Super Kings at the weekend. With five wins in five matches, RR are already well on course for a place in the playoffs and a win over the Kings XI Punjab in Ahmedabad will only make that final step ever closer.
The Royals have already picked up a victory over KXIP in IPL 2015 – in their first match of the season. Batting first in that game in Pune, RR posted a decent score of 162, with the Kings XI faltering in their chase rather too easily – aided in part by some strange batting order decisions -- to eventually lose by 26 runs.
That has been the major problem for the Kings XI Punjab this season, in that their batting just hasn't found its rhythm. Glenn Maxwell has not been able to tonk bowlers for fun, while David Miller was actually dropped for the last game against the Kolkata Knight Riders, which KXIP lost by four wickets.
Only George Bailey has been consistent in this IPL 2015 so far, and KXIP need the likes of Maxwell, Miller, if he plays, Virender Sehwag, Murali Vijay and Wriddhiman Saha to contribute as well, or else their playoff hopes could fade in a hurry.
Three wins and a loss in four games, rather than the actual three losses and a win, would have been their ideal start to IPL 2015, but dig in and eke out victories KXIP must, starting with their match against the Rajasthan Royals.
"We want to play the kind of cricket that Kings XI Punjab is capable of playing," said KXIP coach Sanjay Bangar. "We're not really far away, because we've been doing a lot of things right. And it's just a matter of doing the things right for a bit longer.
"There have been phases where we have been able to execute the plans we want to, it's just a matter of giving the finishing touches. I'm pretty sure the team will be able to do it.
"IPL in itself is a very competitive format. All the teams are pretty strong. So irrespective of which opposition, we will try and test our own abilities and our own processes, and achieve what we've set out to achieve. I don't think it's going to be any different for any other opposition."
For the Royals it will be about doing exactly what they have been doing so well this season – bat and bowl well, and make sure one or more of the players step up when needed.
Shane Watson played his first game in IPL 2015 against CSK a couple of days back, and showed his worth with a powerful 73, which helped his team to one of their easiest wins this season. Tim Southee was the man to make way for Watson, which does leave their bowling slightly weakened, if, that is, the Royals go with the same XI.
Kings XI Punjab should look to target that slight weakness, if they are to stand any chance of stopping the Rajasthan Royals' winning run in IPL 2015 at five.
Where to Watch Live
Get the Match Report, Score and Highlights HERE
The IPL 2015 game is set for an 8 pm IST (3.30 pm BST, 10.30 am ET) start with live TV coverage in India on Sony Max, Sony Six, Sony Aath and Sony Kix. Viewers in India can also catch the match via live streaming online on Starsports.com and Hotstar.
Audience in the UK and Europe can catch the match live on Sky Sports 1, while the match can also be live streamed on Sky Go and Watch Sky Sports. Viewers in US can catch the game online on ESPN Cricket, while TV coverage will be on ESPN.
Audience across the rest of the world can go to Cricketgateway to watch the IPL 2015 Match Live.