Rajasthan Royals in need of miracles as they return to fortress

Chris Gayle scored his third fifty of the IPL in the last game

Chris Gayle scored his third fifty of the IPL in the last game

On Tuesday, it was clear why.

Ish Sodhi returns to the Rajasthan side along with Stuart Binny, who makes his first appearance of the season.

Monday's IPL game sees table-topping Sunrisers Hyderabad host Royal Challengers Bangalore.

The match will take place at Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur. Ben Stokes, the most expensive buy, has failed to provide value for money - he's scored just 160 runs from nine innings while picking up just two wickets.

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There was, however, an attempt to bat as deep as possible.

After Over 15: RR - 120 runs with the loss of 3 Wickets.

Of the last four wickets, Tye was involved in dismissing three of the Rajasthan batters.

The Kings XI were wobbling at 87/4 in the 13th over but Rahul found an ally in Marcus Stoinis as the Australian hit 23 not out off 16 balls to get his team over the line with eight balls to spare. Chasing 157, credit to our bowlers, especially in the Powerplay.

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It was another poor day in the office with the bat for Ben Stokes, putting even more pressure on Buttler to deliver. He made a stunning 45 runs in the Powerplay and brought up his fifty off 27 balls; a crucial stat in retrospect, because he barely managed to go run-a-ball from that point.

With two wickets down, in-form Sanju Samson (22) joined Butler to forge a 53-run partnership for the third wicket, but departed in the 15th over off a Mujeeb ur Rahman delivery with the Rajasthan scorecard reading 117/3. Stoinis is caught by Gowtham, Andrew Tye comes to the crease. Ajinkya Rahane pulled off a diving catch at cover to send back Manoj Tiwary, with teammates rushing from all parts of the ground to applaud the skipper.

Both captains were right with their assessments, although it took some time before that came into evidence. His blitz in the end would hurt Royals with the home side's run rate still in the negative and it could well come down to that in the end in the tournament.

By the time the Powerplay was done, however, scoring became extremely hard for Rahul and Akshdeep Nath.

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Ravichandran Ashwin-led KXIP have been ruthless this season and sit on the third spot in the 2018 IPL table as they look to seal a place in the top-four. Opting to hit a good length with a lot of flight as opposed to his usual preference of throwing in plenty of variations, the legspinner had the batsmen attempting a lot of ambitious heaves before they chose to play straight.

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