IPL 2019: Ravi Ashwin and Jos Buttler face off again as KXIP prepare for Rajasthan's visit

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Buttler v Ashwin round two. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

After an excellent start to their 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign, Kings XI Punjab have hit a snag as Ravi Ashwin and his men prepare for the visit of Rajasthan Royals to Mohali on Tuesday.

KXIP’s crushing eight-wicket loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore on Saturday was the fist time that Ashwin’s men had been beaten at Mohali this season in four attempts. It was also the third loss for the franchise in four games and it has seen them drop out of the top-four and play-off spots.

ASHWIN-BUTTLER SUBPLOT

The meeting between the two sides sees Ashwin square up against Jos Buttler once again after running him out controversially via the ‘Mankad’ in the reverse fixture at Jaipur. The England batsman’s dismissal for 69 proved to be the turning point of that clash with Rajasthan collapsing dramatically in their chase of 185 to go down by 14 runs.

The animosity from that match might spill into Tuesday’s clash and there is no doubt the visitors will be gunning for revenge.

INTENSE BATTLE FOR TOP FOUR

While KXIP have now dropped down the table, the battle for the play-off spots is already turning into a nail-biting affair with just over half the fixtures already completed. Defending champions CSK are the run-away leaders with 14 points but there is little to choose between the next five teams.

It is an intense race which even the Royals will be hoping to enter with a victory on Tuesday after registering just the second win of their campaign on Saturday against Mumbai Indians.  Ajinkya Rahane’s men had been in almost a similar position at the same stage in 2018 before they pulled off a five-match winning streak to sneak into the play-offs.

BUTTLER DEPENDENCY FOR RAJASTHAN

If the Royals are to still make a late run into the final four, they will need an encore from Jos Buttler who registered five fifties on the trot last season to lead the charge to the play-offs.

The Englishman is already starting to rediscover that sensational form and looked in pristine touch in the victory over Mumbai where he struck a 43-ball 89. While Buttler has chipped in with three fifties already, the rest of the overseas contingent bar Jofra Archer has been a huge letdown.

Rajasthan almost threw away the game against Mumbai post Buttler’s late dismissal and Rahane did not hide his disgust at yet another collapse despite the win. Two of their players – Jaydev Unadkat and Ben Stokes – feature in the five most expensive bowlers list and it is no wonder they have struggled.

Rajasthan will need other candidates to rally around Buttler if they are to pick up their form since the Englishman will depart soon for England’s World Cup preparations.

TEAM NEWS

Rajasthan were missing Ben Stokes in the win over Mumbai with the England all-rounder ruled out due to injury. With his replacement Liam Livingstone having a dismal outing, the Royals might be tempted to bring in Ashton Turner should Stokes fail to recover for the clash.

For KXIP, Ashwin could reinstate South African pacer Hardus Viljoen into the playing XI instead of Andrew Tye provided he has recovered from the illness which kept him out of the loss to RCB.

LIKELY XIs

Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Mandeep Singh, Sarfaraz Khan, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Sam Curran, Ravi Ashwin (c), Andrew Tye/Hardus Viljoen, Mohammed Shami, Murugan Ashwin.

Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Jos Buttler (wk), Sanju Samson, Steve Smith, Rahul Tripathi, Ben Stokes/Ashton Turner, Shreyas Gopal, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jofra Archer, Dhawal Kulkarni, Riyan Parag.

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One win so far for RCB. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Second place in the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) table is in the sights of Mumbai Indians as they take on Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Wankhede stadium.

Mumbai have the chance to leapfrog Delhi Capitals into second spot if they can beat RCB handsomely and will look to get back to winning ways after suffering a narrow defeat to Rajasthan Royals.

Bangalore, on the other hand, come into the clash on the back of their first win of the season after suffering six straight defeats previously.

Will RCB make it two wins in a row or will Mumbai continue their winning momentum? Find out by following the ball-by-ball updates from the Wankhede stadium below.

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IPL 2019: Mumbai Indians' pacer Alzarri Joseph likely to miss remainder of season

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MI's Alzarri Joseph. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Mumbai Indians pacer Alzarri Joseph is likely to be ruled out of the remainder of the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign after sustaining a serious injury in his side’s loss to Rajasthan Royals on Saturday.

The West Indies pacer had picked up the injury on Saturday in Mumbai’s clash at the Wankhede while attempting to dive on the field. According to a report by ESPNcricinfo, the fast-bowler has sustained a tear in his right arm and is likely to play no further part in his maiden season in the IPL.

Joseph had come into the Mumbai side as a replacement for the injured Adam Milne of New Zealand before he was handed his debut in the clash against Sunrisers Hyderabad. The fast bowler produced a devastating spell in his maiden IPL outing with his figures of 6-12 being the best-ever recorded in the history of the competition.

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With Joseph likely ruled out, Mumbai will turn towards their veteran pacer Lasith Malinga who has not featured in the playing XI since the side’s clash against Chennai Super Kings on April 3.

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