Dharamsala, May 18 (PTI): Punjab Kings would need to review their bowling plans while Rajasthan Royals will have to live up to their high potential when both inconsistent teams make a last ditch effort to keep their slim playoff hopes alive in the IPL here on Friday.
Considering their superior net run rate, Royals are better placed than Punjab Kings ahead of their final league game but both will have to rely on other results after an up and down season.
The season has told a familiar story for perennial under-performers Punjab Kings, who once again could not seize the crucial moments in the business end of the tournament.
The pace department has been guilty of leaking too many runs in both the powerplay and death overs. With the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Sam Curran and Arshdeep Singh conceding close to 10 runs per over, the team is bound to feel the pressure.
While Rabada has not been at his best, not using Arshdeep both in powerplay and death overs here on Wednesday night was expectedly questioned. The pacer has made his name nailing yorkers in the death overs and of late has troubled the opening batters with his swing.
After being consistent in the first half of the tournament, the lanky left-arm pacer has gone off the boil and will look to lift his game in the must win contest.
Shikhar Dhawan used left-arm spinner Harpreet Brar in the 20th over against Delhi Capitals and it backfired massively, effectively making the difference in the game.
On the batting front, Dhawan too has not been able to get going in the last two games and would want to lead from the front.
Rajasthan Royals, who looked the team to beat in the first half of IPL with four wins from their first five games, only have themselves for their troubles.
Despite exemplary performances from the likes of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Yuzvendra Chahal, the star studded outfit has flattered to deceive.
Jos Buttler too has played some sensational knocks but has not been consistent enough. Having being dismissed without scoring in the previous two games, the England batter will be itching to perform in the do-or-die game.
Skipper Sanju Samson backs himself to take on the bowlers in any situation and he will continue to play the high risk game.
Considering the depth of their squad, Rajasthan were among the pre-tournament favourites who went too hot and cold for their own liking.
Rajasthan Royals: Sanju Samson (c), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler, Shimron Hetmyer, Joe Root, Devdutt Padikkal, Dhruv Jurel, Riyan Parag, Sandeep Sharma, Trent Boult, Obed McCoy, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Sen, Kuldip Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, KC Cariappa, Jason Holder, Donovan Ferreira, Kunal Rathore, Adam Zampa, KM Asif, Murugan Ashwin, Akash Vashisht and Abdul P A.
Punjab Kings: Shikhar Dhawan (c), Shahrukh Khan, Matthew Short, Prabhsimran Singh, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Jitesh Sharma, Gurnoor Singh Brar, Rishi Dhawan, Liam Livingstone, Atharva Taide, Arshdeep Singh, Baltej Singh, Nathan Ellis, Kagiso Rabada, Rahul Chahar, Harpreet Brar, Sam Curran, Sikandar Raza, Harpreet Bhatia, Vidwath Kaverappa, Mohit Rathee, Shivam Singh.
Match starts 7.30 IST.