In keeping with its vision of accelerating socio-economic growth in north-east India through cricket, Rajasthan Royals’ (RR) caravan has shifted base to the Barsapara Stadium in Guwahati for its last two home games in the league stage of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Sanju Samson’s men may have lost three consecutive matches, but made the playoffs from their hotel rooms on Tuesday when Lucknow Super Giants suffered a defeat at the hands of the Delhi Capitals (DC).

On Wednesday, RR will meet an already-eliminated Punjab Kings (PBKS) with hopes of solidifying its place alongside Kolkata Knight Riders in the top-two. Tom Kohler-Cadmore will fill in for compatriot Jos Buttler in the playing eleven, with the England captain having flown out to join his national side ahead of the T20I series against Pakistan and T20 World Cup.

PBKS, though, is yet to find replacements for Kagiso Rabada and Liam Livingstone, who have returned home with injuries.

A flat bed is expected to be doled out at the venue, which has only two IPL games to show for prior to the upcoming fixture. The track may exhibit a hint of dryness that would be expected to aid bowlers inside the PowerPlay with additional movement.

Although one could be in for yet another run-fest, given the shorter fences and dew factor, much of the contest would hinge on the death bowling, a department in which the Kings have been a cut above the rest. The side has picked 36 wickets between the 16th and 20th over in 2024. The closest rival, DC, is five short of the said mark. RR has merely accounted for 22.

Ashutosh Sharma and Shashank Singh’s pyrotechnics in the death have on more than one occasion saved PBKS’ blushes. The left-arm angle and pace of Nandre Burger should be a good match-up to prematurely stop the deadly right-handed duo before they can get their eye in.