There is a possibility of four teams finishing the league stage of IPL 2023 with 14 points with the one with a superior run-rate getting through to the next round. For that scenario to unfold, Royal Challengers Bangalore will have to lose one of their two remaining games, Mumbai Indians lose their final match and Kolkata Knight Riders to win their last encounter. But only one among Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals can be part of this possible finish as the two teams get set to battle it out in Dharamsala to keep their slim hopes of qualification alive.
Although the Royals suffered a drubbing against Royal Challengers, their NRR is still in the positive and a decent victory against the Kings could give them a real chance should the 14-point scenario pan out. Meanwhile, the Kings have a rather tough chance with their NRR dropping to -0.308 after their loss to Delhi Capitals and they need a really big win, and some big losses for the aforementioned teams, in order to stay afloat.
The Kings, let down by the pace department and some tactical errors, ended up conceding 213 against the Capitals – with the bowling in the powerplay and the death not up to the mark. They need to pull up the socks and figure out a method quickly against a Rajasthan side that boasts of some really good hitters, who had a good hit out during the nets as they cleared the fence with ease regularly.
They also need to put up a collective effort with the bat and not depend on individual brilliance. While Prabhsimran’s ton in Delhi did turn out in a winning cause, a stunning 48-ball 94 from Liam Livingstone in their previous game went in vain. Dhawan’s lack of contributions in the last two matches has also been a cause for concern and the skipper will be hoping to make amends and lead from the front.
The Royals, who were at the top of the table at one point in the competition, are now staring at an early exit after managing just two victories in their last eight matches. A high-scoring game, which they lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad, was sandwiched between two disappointing batting performances as they were skittled out for 118 against Gujarat Titans while they folded for 59 against RCB, registering the third lowest total in the IPL. RR, who will be eager to put up a solid batting performance, have the ideal venue to do so.