Pune Warriors will take on Rajasthan Royals in the first of two matches to be played in the Indian Premier League on Tuesday. The match will be played at Subrata Roy Stadium in Pune.
The home side has endured a wretched period having suffered five losses in a row. The losing streak now sees them in eighth place on the points table, and in increasing danger of being unable to reach the play-off round.
Sourav Ganguly had nothing to cheer about at his traditional home ground at Eden Gardens as the team lost to Kolkata Knight Riders. The bowlers did a reasonable job in restricting the target to 151 after being taken for 98 in the first half of the innings, but the batsmen yet again failed to live up to the expectations.
Ganguly’s decision to bat himself at five-down has also attracted criticism over his ability to fight it out in the fast-paced format of the game. Angelo Mathews has shone in phases while Steven Smith needs support from other batsmen to flourish in his role of a finisher.
For the Rajasthan Royals, their victory against Kings XI Punjab was a much welcome one as they ceased their stream of defeats. Currently with ten points and five matches remaining, the Royals have a fair chance of making it to the play offs but will need to play some attractive cricket to get there.
Ajinkya Rahane and [[Rahul Dravid] will again be the depended upon opening pair, though they suffered a rare failure in the last match. With Shane Watson, Ashok Menaria and Brad Hodge in the middle order, the batting has looked good as a unit. The bowlers, their weaker link, have stuck to their plans as Shaun Tait and Watson picked up crucial wickets. Siddarth Trivedi has also been impressive.
The match will be played in Pune starting at 4.00pm. I will pick Rajasthan as favourites, but clearly there is nothing much to choose from between the two sides and it could boil down to the presence of Shane Watson in Rajasthan’s team to make all the difference.