Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has opined that the Rajasthan Royals (RR) should make the best use of Jos Buttler's potential as a batsman in their IPL 2020 encounter against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) tonight.
He made this observation while previewing the clash between the two teams in a video shared on his YouTube channel.
Aakash Chopra started by pointing out that today's match is a must-win encounter for the Rajasthan Royals as a loss will eliminate them from the tournament.
"If Rajasthan Royals lose tonight's encounter, they can reach at the most to 12 points and that would be pretty much it as the qualification cannot happen with 12 points."
While acknowledging that the Rajasthan Royals are unlikely to change their batting order after Ben Stokes' match-winning century in their last encounter, the renowned commentator hoped that the franchise utilizes the batting might of Jos Buttler better.
"I don't think RR will change their batting order now, that is certain but still I would request with folded hands that they should use Jos Buttler better as they are not using him currently."
Talking about Kings XI Punjab, Aakash Chopra observed that the KL Rahul-led outfit had turned their campaign around with wins in their last five matches. He, however, warned them that it would be difficult to keep the run going against the quality opposition in the IPL.
"Punjab is on a rise. They have won 5 straight encounters, things which were happening earlier with matches slipping out of their grasp, they are winning all those matches. The one danger for Kings XI Punjab is that it is not easy to win six or seven consecutive matches as this is the IPL and not the CPL."
The former KKR player stated that Mayank Agarwal could replace Deepak Hooda in the KXIP line-up if the former is fit, causing a headache for the franchise after Mandeep Singh's match-winning knock as an opener in their last match.
"There is no scope of a change in the team. But if Mayank Agarwal is fit, then they would want to play him. But if they play him, then they might have to drop Hooda and they would not be able to open with Mandeep. So that's one dilemma that they have to address as Gayle and Pooran will also have to bat at No.3 and No.4."
Aakash Chopra on the player battle to watch out for in the Rajasthan Royals vs Kings XI Punjab encounter
"In the player battle to watch out for, I am going with Jofra vs KL Rahul. It will be enjoyable as it is best vs best."
He recalled that the KXIP captain had gotten the better of Archer in their last face-off with some classy strokes, although the Rajasthan Royals had the last laugh with Rahul Tewatia's blazing knock at the end.
"The last time they had faced each other, Rahul had hit boundaries of Archer's bowling while placing the ball in the gaps. It was a match in Sharjah where a storm named Rahul Tewatia had come and blown everything away."
The former KKR player opined that KL Rahul would come up trumps against the Rajasthan Royals speedster again.
"It will be interesting to see how Archer bowls and how Rahul bats against him. I think Rahul might still win it."
While recognising that a Rajasthan Royals win will make the tournament even more interesting, Aakash Chopra signed off by stating that Kings XI Punjab are likely to continue with their dream run.
"From the tournament perspective, Rajasthan should win but I feel Punjab will win. They are on the rise and with the win they will go close to qualification, that is a fairytale story that we are seeing developing in front of our eyes."
A win for Kings XI Punjab would help them consolidate their position in the top four of the IPL 2020 points table. A positive result for the Rajasthan Royals, on the other hand, would make the playoff qualification race even more interesting, with it likely to go right down to the wire.