One team finished at the bottom. The other, just two slots above.
Both Rajasthan Royals and Punjab Kings, however, had chances to make it to the playoffs even at the business end of the last IPL. Neither eventually did because too much had been left to be done too late.
They would be keen to avoid such a scenario in IPL-14. They come face to face at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on Monday.
In the first match at the famed venue on Saturday, a chase of 189 had proved a stroll in the park for Delhi Capitals against Chennai Super Kings. With both Royals and Kings boasting powerful batting line-ups, runs could flow thick and fast.
And those runs could be a treat to the eye if batsmen like K.L. Rahul and Sanju Samson get going. If Rahul had made his debut as IPL captain last year, Samson will make his in this match.
New look top-order
He takes over from Steve Smith, whose departure means the Royals’ top-order will sport a new look. With the presence of gifted batsmen like Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Samson himself, with hard-hitting all-rounders Shivam Dube and Rahul Tewatia to follow, the batting shouldn’t be a worry, though. But the absence of fast bowler Jofra Archer, who is out of the tournament’s initial stage with injury, is a blow.
South African quick Chris Morris, the IPL’s most expensive buy, has his task cut out. He and the rest of the Royals attack, which includes Shreyas Gopal, Kartik Tyagi, Mustafizur Rahman and Jaydev Unadkat, may not find it easy bowling against the likes of Rahul, Mayank Agarwal and Chris Gayle.
In the new costly recruits Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith, along with Mohammed Shami, Chris Jordan, Moises Henriques and M. Ashwin, Punjab has plenty of options in its attack too.
RR Team Squad: Jos Buttler(w), Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson(c), Riyan Parag, Shivam Dube, Rahul Tewatia, Chris Morris, Liam Livingstone, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat, Kartik Tyagi, Mustafizur Rahman, Andrew Tye, Jofra Archer, Mayank Markande, Anuj Rawat, Chetan Sakariya, Kuldip Yadav, Yashasvi Jaiswal, David Miller, Manan Vohra, KC Cariappa, Mahipal Lomror, Akash Singh
PBKS Team Squad: KL Rahul(w/c), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Prabhsimran Singh, Nicholas Pooran, Shahrukh Khan, Deepak Hooda, Jhye Richardson, Riley Meredith, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Moises Henriques, Chris Jordan, Mandeep Singh, Dawid Malan, Jalaj Saxena, Murugan Ashwin, Sarfaraz Khan, Fabian Allen, Saurabh Kumar, Ishan Porel, Utkarsh Singh, Darshan Nalkande, Arshdeep Singh, Harpreet Brar
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