Rajasthan Royals

Rahul Dravid (left), Shane Watson and Ajinkya Rahane have been lynchpins of Rajasthan Royals batting line up © IANS

By Devarchit Varma 

Mohali: May 8, 2013

Rajasthan Royals will aim to consolidate their position in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013 tournament with an away win against the Kings XI Punjab, in the 55th match of the T20 tournament at the PCA Stadium in Mohali on Thursday.

Rajasthan produced an all-round show to crush the Delhi Daredevils by nine wickets in their previous clash on Tuesday, but they will have to be wary of the firepower Kings XI have in their ranks and especially David Miller, who is in red-hot form.

Rahul Dravid-led Rajasthan did almost all things right against the Daredevils, with their bowlers putting the opposition batsmen under pressure and the top order once again flourishing against a quality bowling attack.

Dravid and Rahane scored fluent half-centuries and their 108-run stand for the opening wicket defied the Delhi bowlers, but not before their bowlers put on an impressive show to restrict the star-studded Delhi batting line-up.

Shane Watson, Stuart Binny, James Faulkner and Sanju Samson continue to remain the key players for the Royals. Watson’s form with the bat is an added bonus to the Royals as ever since the senior cricketer has started rolling over his arm, he has been taking wickets at regular intervals.

Dravid’s move to introduce Binny in the middle stage of Delhi’s innings proved a wise decision as the opposition batsmen clearly struggled against him, and David Warner even fell to the part-timer. But, Shaun Tait had a poor outing against Delhi and this may result in him being dropped in favour of S Sreesanth.

The Royals will indeed be pleased with their effort and they would aim to carry the winning momentum to Mohali, where they take on a wobbly Kings XI.

The Kings XI Punjab are placed at the sixth spot in the IPL 2013 points table with five wins and six losses, and it is important for them to win all their remaining matches to strengthen chance to qualify for the next round.

The hosts will draw a lot of confidence from their stunning win over the Royal Challengers Bangalore in their previous appearance, wherein Miller’s onslaught downed the RCB side and handed KXIP an unlikely win.

However, the hosts have lot of issues to address before the game against Rajasthan. Their batsmen, barring Miller, produced a spineless show and their bowlers leaked way too many runs first up. It will be a wise decision to move in-form Miller up in the batting order, as the inconsistencies of their top order batsmen have hurt them in the past.

Rajasthan will be aiming for a win with a huge margin to improve their net run rate, as the race for the top four has intensified and especially when they have to take on stronger opponents in the coming games.

Teams:

Rajasthan Royals (Probable): Rahul Dravid (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Shane Watson, Stuart Binny, Brad Hodge, Sanju Samson (wk), Sachin Baby, James Faulkner, S Sreesanth, Brad Hogg, Siddharth Trivedi.

Kings XI Punjab (Probable): Shaun Marsh, Mandeep Singh, David Hussey (c), David Miller, Gurkeerat Singh (wk), Rajagopal Sathish, Michael Neser, Piyush Chawla, Praveen Kumar, Manpreet Gony, Parvinder Awana

Time: 16.00 IST | 10.30 GMT

(Devarchit Varma is a cricket fanatic who finds nothing more exciting to do than to write, watch or talk about the sport. Having played the game at club and college level, he now pursues his passion as a scribe)