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Ipl 2017
VIVO IPL 2018: RR vs KXIP - first-time skippers Ashwin and Rahane stand on opposite sides of the threshold
Just as the race for qualifying for the playoffs heats up, Kings XI Punjab and the Rajasthan Royals find themselves face-to-face yet again in match 40 of VIVO IPL 2018. The match takes place tonight at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium in Jaipur.

Season 11 of the Indian Premier League has been one of contrasting fortunes for both first-time skippers – Ravichandran Ashwin and Ajinkya Rahane – who had little to show for experience in terms of leading sides before the start of the tournament.

But now, while Ashwin-led Kings XI Punjab just require a win or two to make it to the playoffs, Rajasthan Royals led by Ajinkya Rahane have to win all their remaining games to stay in the hunt for qualifying. Both skippers indeed stand at the opposite sides of the threshold.

The changes made by Ashwin in his side including the controversial ones like dropping players like Chris Gayle, David Miller, Yuvraj Singh and Aaron Finch, all worked out well for him, endorsing the old expression: "Better lucky than smart".

However, on the other hand, the rub of the green rarely went Rahane's way. A clear lack of teamwork, insignificant contributions from key overseas players like Ben Stokes and confusion with the batting order can be identified as primary reasons for the team's not having performed as per expectations.

The Kings XI Punjab look a much more settled side as they probably have one of the best opening pairs of this season of the Indian Premier League – KL Rahul and Chris Gayle. In the bowling department too, Mujeeb Ur Rahman has marshalled his resources well.

Rajasthan Royals would require something like a Plan B today, even though it might mean pulling a rabbit out of the hat, as they get ready to face KXIP for the second time in a gap of three days.

However, all said and done, on current form and team combination, Kings XI Punjab look a much stronger side ahead to today's encounter.

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