Kings XI Punjab will be hosting Rajasthan Royals at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium on Tuesday. Punjab will be eager to get back to winning ways while Rajasthan will look to resurrect their campaign. Punjab are currently on the fifth spot in the points table after four wins and four losses in eight games while Rajasthan Royals continue to remain on the seventh position after registering only two wins in their seven games. KXIP will look to do the double over Rajasthan in their own backyard after having beaten them in the reverse fixture by 14 runs.
Here's a look at some of the key elements which will make this an interesting clash.
1. Ashwin and Buttler's face off after the 'Mankading' saga: Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin and Rajasthan opening batsman Jos Buttler will once again be competing against each other on the field. The last time they were on the field, they were involved in the controversial 'Mankading' incident which grabbed the headlines all over the world and received mixed responses from the Cricketing fraternity. The two have since come a long way and have been making vital contributions for their respective teams.
2. KL Rahul's heroics: Punjab will once again be hoping for an electrifying start from KL Rahul. The stylish opening batsman has been anchoring KXIP's innings and has gone on to play a few match-winning knocks as well. He did not make an impression in the last game against RCB but has been one of Punjab's most reliable batsman. He has so far amassed 335 runs in eight matches at a strike rate of 130.85 which includes a century and three half-centuries.
3. Head-to-head records: Rajasthan Royals hold the advantage in overall head-to-head records. In the 18 matches that both teams have played, Rajasthan have won 10 games while Punjab have won on eight occasions. However, both teams are equally matched when it comes to playing at Mohali. Both teams have won three games each in the six games that have been played.
4. Watch out for Chris Gayle's destructive knock: Chris Gayle is turning out to be one of the biggest players for Punjab and one of the biggest threats for the opposition. The 'Universe Boss' went completely berserk in the last game against Royal Challengers Bangalore where he scored an unbeaten 64-ball 99 which included 10 boundaries and five maximums. Even though he missed out on a well deserved ton, his knock helped Punjab reach a challenging score of 173/4 in their 20 overs.
5. Will Steve Smith make an impact?: Rajasthan Royals will hope that one of their star players Steve Smith rediscovers his rhythm against KXIP. The former Australian skipper has so far only managed to score 186 runs in seven matches at a strike rate of 107.51.