The Rajasthan Royals will begin their 2019 campaign at home against the Kings XI Punjab.
RR have spent big on their squad and they have filled the team with big batting options in Steve Smith, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Ajinkya Rahane. The star power in the RR squad should ensure that the team is consistently posting big totals that will challenge the oppositions. Unfortunately for the Rajasthan Royals, the bowling is nowhere near the batting and that could be costly. Jofra Archer is the big name bowler for RR but the paceman had a poor IPL and is not looking like the ideal man to lead the line. The Indian bowling strength in the RR team is not great and that could be costly.
On the other side of the coin, KXIP have a much better balance in the side. The opening combination of KL Rahul and Chris Gayle was exceptional last season. The team has a very good core build with Indian batters like Mayank Agarwal and Karun Nair. The bowling is also looking very good for the KXIP team as it will be led by the experience of Mohammed Shami and Ravi Ashwin. KXIP have a weakness in relation to the all-rounder spot as they have spent big on Sam Curren who is untested in T20 cricket.
This match is set to be played at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. The bounce on this track is lower than that in most venues so it should suit the KXIP as they have built their team around spinners.
Taking everything into consideration, I am going to pick the Kings XI Punjab to win this match. KXIP have a better balance in their team and the conditions should suit them more than it does the home side. With all that in mind, I see KXIP starting their season with an away win.