The IPL 2019 is off to a flier, as we get set for match four of the tournament where former champions Rajasthan Royals (RR) take on Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), in Jaipur on Monday.
While RR are in hunt of their second title, KXIP are yet to lay their hands on the trophy.
Let us look at the battles which could determine the outcome.
As things do start with the captain, the RR skipper Ajinkya Rahane would be up for a strong test right away from his Indian counterpart and seamer Mohammed Shami.
While Shami has almost sealed his spot for the World Cup, Rahane is nowhere near.
Yet, the skipper would be aiming to target Shami as a fine performance against him could wake up the selectors.
It would certainly be an emotional moment for former captain Steve Smith, who returns to the IPL after missing out the last season.
Nevertheless, he is set to face a tough test against his own countryman and pacer Andrew Tye.
Both of these men have a point to prove to the selectors. We expect Smith to make a cracking return.
The rivalry between Australia and England is always a pleasure to watch, regardless of where and how it is played.
In this tie, it is likely that English all-rounder Ben Stokes would be up against Australian all-rounder Moises Henriques.
While Stokes is a far better performer than Henriques currently, the latter would aim to dismantle his plans early on in the tournament.
The Afghan players are becoming a force to reckon with in T20s, with every passing game.
In this tie, Afghan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman would aim to prove himself ahead of the World Cup.
However, he would be up against England's Jos Buttler, who has been in a destructive form.
Notwithstanding, it would be of no surprise if Mujeeb disrupts the batsman's momentum.
Though Indian pacer Jaydev Unadkat has faded out of Team India contention, he continues to prove himself in the IPL.
Apart from him, Indian wicketkeeper-batsman KL Rahul too is one such guy who is unsure of his World Cup status.
Therefore, it is likely that both the guys would have a go at each other, mostly Rahul, who has a bigger point to prove.
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