Much anticipated IPL season is on and everyone can smell cricket in the air in this ancient, royal city of Jaipur. Sawai Mansingh Stadium, where host Rajasthan Royals will indeed be looking forward to beginning its campaign on a winning note in the 12th edition of the IPL as it takes on Kings XI today evening from 8 pm onwards.
Ajinkya Rahane’s men will be hoping history continues to favor them – they have never lost to the Kings at this venue. And they lead 10-7 head to head.
The Royals had made it to the playoffs last year and is looking even stronger now, with the return of Steve Smith - who will be in focus after missing out last season following the ball-tampering controversy -- and the addition of fellow-Australian Ashton Turner. Neither of them will be available for the entire league though, because of national duty.
Nor will be the best performer of the Royal last year -- Jos Buttler, who has to return home to England, along with all-rounder Ben Stokes. So ideally, the home side would want to score as many wins as possible at the beginning of the season when the big stars available and then identify their replacements later on.
Buttler leads a strong batting line-up that includes skipper Rahane, Smith, Sanju Samson, and Rahul Tripathi. Jaydev Unadkat, Varun Aaron, Oshane Thomas are part of a strong seam attack spearheaded by Stokes and Jofra Archer. K. Gowtham and Shreyas Gopal would be the main spinners.