RR vs PBKS IPL 2023: Rajasthan Royals look to make a strong start at their second home | Cricket News

GUWAHATI: The cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) may have taken 16 seasons to come to the northeast, but Rajasthan Royals – playing their first ‘home’ match of the season against Punjab Kings thousands of kilometre away from home – are high on confidence.
Joining hands with host Assam Cricket Association five years ago to set up their cricket academy here, Royals have one direct connection with their Wednesday’s venue – Barsapara Cricket Stadium – and that is Riyan Parag, the only Assam cricketer to play in the IPL for the past few years now.So, when they take the field here on Wednesday evening, the Royals will be hoping to strengthen that connection to get the backing of the ‘home’ crowd and expand their fan base in this part of the country.
Both the teams are coming into the match on the back of commanding wins in their opening matches but Rajasthan will be hoping to carry on the winning momentum as they have one of the most-balanced squads at disposal.

Captain Sanju Samson, England white-ball captain Jos Buttler and young opener Yashasvi Jaiswal hit form with quickfire 50s before Kiwi speedster Trent Boult and India leggie Yuzvendra Chahal choked Sunrisers Hyderabad for a huge 72-run win. With world-class spinner Ravichandran Ashwin also in their roster, Royals have quality in all bowling departments to trouble the opposition batters.

Punjab Kings spin bowling coach Sunil Joshi, meanwhile, is not perturbed by their opponents’ bowling strength. “Every match is played on the field. So the strategy for our batters will be to play the ball on its merit and not see who’s bowling. We hope for a good contest,” said former India spinner Joshi.

A new-look Punjab side, under skipper Shikhar Dhawan, has also given a glimpses of what’s in store on Wednesday as they beat Kolkata Knight Riders in Mohali via DLS method in their opening match.

Though England hitman Liam Livingstone is still unavailable as his clearance from ECB is still awaited, Punjab will be boosted after Proteas pacer Kagiso Rabada joined the squad following national duty.

With the Barsapara track offering high-scoring encounters in the last few international outings, Wednesday could offer over 200 and the team batting first could get an advantage with the dew factor coming into play in the second innings under chilly and overcast conditions due to rain in the past few days.

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