Rajasthan have just two wins from seven games. But the last one came in their most recent encounter against Mumbai Indians. Yet again, it was Buttler who was responsible for Royals' surge. But, while the Royals would be pleased with his efforts, they would be equally disappointed with the manner in which they crumbled after Buttler's dismissal.
Rajasthan know that they need to keep winning to stay in contention for a place in the play-offs. The skipper Ajinkya Rahane has not been in great form, and after failing to grab a World Cup spot, it remains to be seen how motivated he will be to prove a point. Their bowling too needs better support for Shreyas Gopal and Jofra Archer.
Kings XI Punjab, on the other hand, find themselves in the fifth spot, having failed to clinch victory against Royal Challengers Bangalore, who put up an impressive to overcome Punjab. The good part for Punjab even in the loss was the continued brilliant form of Chris Gayle. The left-hander was unlucky to see his 99 not out going in vain.
Their middle and lower order fared badly in the previous game, which hurt Punjab. A lot more will be expected of the likes of Mayank Agarwal, David Miller and Lokesh Rahul. It would be unfair to be too harsh on the bowlers as they ran into highly inspired Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in the previous match.
Kings XI Punjab: Chris Gayle, Moises Henriques, Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Mayank Agarwal, Mandeep Singh, David Miller, Mohammed Shami, Karun Nair, Lokesh Rahul, Murugan Ashwin, Ankit Rajpoot, Nicholas Pooran, Sarfaraz Khan, Hardus Viljoen, Andrew Tye, Sam Curran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Agnivesh Ayachi, Darshan Nalkande, Varun Chakravarthy, Arshdeep Singh, Simran Singh, Harpreet Brar
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Dhawal Kulkarni, Stuart Binny, Steven Smith, Jos Buttler, Varun Aaron, Jaydev Unadkat, Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson, Manan Vohra, Prashant Chopra, Ashton Turner, Ish Sodhi, Krishnappa Gowtham, Rahul Tripathi, Shreyas Gopal, Liam Livingstone, Shashank Singh, Mahipal Lomror, Shubham Ranjane, Oshane Thomas, Jofra Archer, Riyan Parag, Aryaman Birla, Sudhesan Midhun
--By A Cricket Correspondent