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Three weeks since ‘Mankading', Punjab face Rajasthan in return clash

Ashwin

Bengaluru, April 16: It is over three weeks since the first major controversy of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 broke out and the two parties involved in that episode - Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) - are squaring off against each other for the first time since that unsavoury incident.

The return clash of the two franchises are set to take place at the home ground of the Kings this time - Mohali - and off-the-field curiosity around this game will be sky high.

In that controversial clash at Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on March 25, the Royals lost their way after Kings captain Ravichandran Ashwin 'Mankaded' their in-form batsman Jos Buttler to lose the game that they could win, by just 14 runs.

As the two sides meet again on Tuesday (April 16), not many people will be forgetting what had happened in Jaipur, certainly not Buttler.

The English batsman was left utterly disappointed after the off-spinner caught him short of the crease before releasing the delivery and the former said in a delayed reaction that he wanted to know from the KXIP skipper whether he wanted to play the game that way. Buttler was dismissed on 69 off 43 balls and it left a deep impact on the Royals' chase.

Royals need to accelerate

Things have changed a lot since that 'Mankading' incident. The Royals have struggled and are now languishing seventh in the IPL the table with just two wins out of seven games.

IPL Points Table | Special Page

However, their last game against Mumbai Indians (MI) saw the same Buttler smashing 89 off just 43 balls to give his side a four-wicket victory and the man certainly will be looking too eager to avenge the March 25 humiliation.

After two consecutive losses, Kings will be a nervous lot

The Kings, on the other hand, are not too assured either with eight points from as many games. They suffered two consecutive defeats - first to MI's Kieron Pollard's incredible hitting and then to Royal Challengers Bangalore who have managed a solitary win so far. Ashwin's side can't afford to think too much about the 'Mankading' drama for it too desperately needs to win.

And given Buttler's form, he will be under Ashwin's special scanner yet again though the KXIP skipper would like to claim the batsman's wicket this time without landing in a moral trouble.

If Ashwin fails to guide his team to a win tonight, then the Kings will be in deep trouble.

The match also promises to be a clash between Buttler and KL Rahul - who like the former, is the Kings' wicket-keeper-opener. Rahul too is in good touch of late and picked up his first hundred in the IPL. He is currently the second highest scorer in the tournament with a tally of 335 runs while Buttler is seventh with 288 runs.

 
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Story first published: Tuesday, April 16, 2019, 12:29 [IST]
Other articles published on Apr 16, 2019
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