Match Preview – RR vs LSG, Indian Premier League 2024, 4th Match

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Match details

Rajasthan Royals (RR) vs Lucknow Super Giants (LSG)
Jaipur, 1530 IST (1000 GMT)

Big picture – Where will Rahul bat?

After the 2016 season, KL Rahul has only batted as an opener in the IPL, except for one match against Royal Challengers Bengaluru last year when he came out at No. 11 after picking up a quad injury while fielding. Even for India, he established himself at the top of the order. But with Lucknow Super Giants bringing opener Devdutt Padikkal into their squad, along with Quinton de Kock and Kyle Mayers as overseas options, could Rahul drop down to strengthen the middle order?

There is also the additional intrigue of India’s selection for the upcoming T20 World Cup. Rahul has not played T20Is since the 2022 World Cup and wasn’t selected in India’s most recent squads for series in South Africa and at home Afghanistan. And with Rohit Sharma, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill competing for opening slots, Rahul’s only chance to make it might be to audition for a role in the middle order.

Where ever Rahul bats, the Super Giants boast a power-packed batting line up comprising de Kock, Nicholas Pooran and Marcus Stoinis that has helped them qualify for the playoffs in each of their first two seasons in the IPL.

Their opponents on Sunday, Rajasthan Royals, won four of their first five games last season and then lost five of their next six, a reversal in form that left them just outside the playoff spots. They will hope their two high-profile openers – Jos Buttler and Jaiswal – fire together this season. Buttler was supreme in Royals’ run to the final in 2022, scoring 863 runs, but had a poor 2023 season (392 runs with five ducks). Jaiswal showed flashes of his immense potential in 2022, and then blossomed in 2023, when he smashed 625 runs at a strike-rate of 163.61. Jaiswal comes into this IPL after a Player of the Series performance in the five home Tests against England, while Buttler found some form for Paarl Royals in the SA20, finishing fourth in the run charts.

Team news – Will Shamar Joseph make his IPL debut?

With David Willey unavailable to the Super Giants for the first few games for personal reasons, West Indies fast bowler Shamar Joseph could get his first outing in the IPL, having been signed as a replacement for Mark Wood. Shamar has limited T20 experience, but is a good hit-the-deck option and operates at high pace, as he showed in his Test heroics in Australia. Afghanistan’s Navneen-ul-Haq is the other pace option for LSG, and could offer more variations than Joseph.

Buttler, Shimron Hetmyer and Trent Boult are shoo-ins for the Royals, and their new signing Rovman Powell could the frontrunner for the fourth overseas slot. Riyan Parag will also be in focus, after finishing as the highest scorer in the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy.

Toss and Impact Player strategy

Rajasthan Royals
With two wicketkeepers already in the XI, Sanju Samson and Buttler, Royals will likely use Dhruv Jurel as their impact batter, while one of Avesh Khan and Kuldeep Sen plays the impact role when they are bowling.

Probable XII: 1 Yashasvi Jaiswal, 2 Jos Buttler, 3 Sanju Samson (capt & wk), 4 Shimron Hetmyer, 5 Riyan Parag, 6 Rovman Powell, 7 Dhruv Jurel, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Trent Boult, 10 Avesh Khan, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal, 12 Kuldeep Sen

Lucknow Super Giants
Ayush Badoni will most likely be the impact sub for LSG if they are batting second, while Mohsin Khan or Shivam Mavi could come off the bench should they be batting first.

Probable XII: 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Devdutt Padikkal, 3 Deepak Hooda, 4 KL Rahul (capt), 5 Nicholas Pooran, 6 Marcus Stoinis, 7 Ayush Badoni, 8 Krunal Pandya, 9 Shamar Joseph/Naveen-ul-Haq, 10 Ravi Bishnoi, 11 Mohsin Khan, 12 Shivam Mavi

Stats that matter

  • Royals lost four of the five matches they played in Jaipur in IPL 2023
  • Royals were the fastest scorers in the batting powerplay last season, while LSG were the second slowest
  • Since the start of IPL 2022, Royals have hit more sixes (249) than any other team in the tournament.
  • Pitch and conditions

    The average first-innings score in Jaipur in IPL 2023 was 172, and it’s not a venue where the toss has played a massive role, with the team batting first winning on three occasions and the chasing team winning twice. The pitch is likely to assist spinners more than the fast bowlers.

    Abhimanyu Bose is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo

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