KXIP v GL Star Wars: Axar Patel v Suresh Raina

The third-highest run getter this season will take on the seventh highest wicket-taker, when Kings XI Punjab hosts Gujarat Lions on Sunday.

There players are India internationals, with one more prominently known as a match-winner. Suresh Raina may be the third highest run-getter this season so far, with consistent rescue acts that aren’t quite backed up by his team-mates for victories, Axar Patel has also ensured his name is up there in the list of leading wicket-takers - he lies seventh, with 13 wickets in 10 matches. The two will face off when Kings XI Punjab hosts Gujarat Lions on Sunday.

Axar’s canny bowling will have to be taken into consideration as spinners’ abilities to take the pace off the ball and fox batsmen are highly valued in the IPL. That Imran Tahir, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Rashid Khan find themselves tied alongside the left-arm spinner suggest potent spinners are always productive in the tournament in the long run in terms of wickets taken. Their value is expanded when those wickets arrive at small economy rates which are a speciality for some spinners. Axar falls into this category; his economy rate is 7.33, best among all bowlers above him in the list of leading wicket-takers.

Raina will do all he can to compel the opposition into submission. On Thursday, his quickfire 77 was not enough to grant his side the win as Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson stole away the limelight for Delhi Daredevils with a powerful blitz. Raina will want to play a complete innings for his side on Sunday, to diminish the possibility of such reversals. However, he will have to deal with the threat of Axar for that.

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