Rajasthan Royals, languishing at the bottom of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 points table, need nothing less than a miracle to remain in contention for the tournament play-offs when they take on a formidable Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in a do-or-die battle, at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur today.
After three consecutive defeats, the Royals are in a spot of bother and need to produce their 'A game' in order to keep their play-offs hopes alive. Rajasthan Royals are taking on Punjab, placed third in the table, just a day after losing to them by six wickets in Indore, where neither the bowlers nor the batsmen could do a convincing job.
Nothing has gone right for the winners of the inaugural edition of the IPL, who lost their pillar -- Australian Steven Smith -- to the ball-tampering scandal.
The lackluster performance by their batsmen and bowlers have landed them in a position where they need to win all their remaining games and also pray for favorable results in order to qualify for the playoffs.
The hosts are back on their home turf, where they have recorded two of their three victories, but they need to start afresh.
Three consecutive defeats, including a narrow one against Delhi Daredevils, has left them demoralized and their mentor, the legendary Shane Warne, too wore a dejected look in the dugout from where he saw the Royals miss out on half chances.
Average performance by captain Ajinkya Rahane and below-par show of English all-rounder Ben Stokes and Rahul Tripathi has hurt them and the hosts need all these batsmen to fire.
West Indian Jofra Archer, though, has been impressive while pacer Jaydev Unadkat has been a complete let-down, taking just seven wickets at a poor 9.86 economy rate.