One are the heroes at home while the other a luckless troop struggling to find their feet in the Pepsi Indian Premier League. That pretty much sums up Sunday’s contest between Rajasthan Royals and Pune Warriors India here.
To call it the proverbial David versus Goliath battle wouldn’t be an overstatement, given the fact that after losing their last six matches, Pune are at the last spot in the points table while Rajasthan are third with 12 points from 10 matches.
But unlike the Biblical tale, chances of the Warriors toppling the Royals look bleak. The only silver lining for Pune is that, in their last meeting against Rajasthan, they registered a convincing seven-wicket win in which captain Aaron Finch scored a gutsy 64.
Pune’s batsmen showed some intent to fight in their last match, against Royal Challengers Bangalore, while chasing a total of 187. Also, the fact that Rajasthan come into the match after a crushing eightwicket loss to Kolkata Knight Riders, is bound to give some confidence to Pune.
But whenever, in the ongoing edition the Rahul Dravid-led Royals have returned home a wounded lot, they have struck back hard. The result shows in their unbeaten run at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium here.
Standing in front of Pune would be a strong batting line-up consisting of the likes of Shane Watson, Rahul Dravid, Ajinkya Rahane.
Add to this, the young find of Rajasthan Royals, Sanju Viswanath and Stuart Binny.
With the kind of inaptitude shown by the Pune bowlers so far, the task looks difficult.
Ashoke Dinda is their best bowler with 12 wickets but he has been guilty of being too expensive, especially in the death overs.
Their other pace option, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, has one of lowest economy rates and will have to maintain his form. In the spin department, Rahul Sharma has had a decent show so far. If Pune want to stop the in-form Rajasthan batsmen, they will all have to be at their best.
Leading Rajasthan from the front is James Faulkner with 16 wickets in eight matches. Domestic stars Siddharth Trivedi and Ajit Chandila have come to good effect. And in the last few matches, Watson has also added to Rajasthan’s options when it comes to bowling.
For Pune, Finch has been the most consistent batsmen with 296 runs in nine matches. Also, the fact that opener Robin Uthappa showed glimpses of returning to form with a 45-ball 75 against the Royal Challengers Bangalore, augurs well for the Warriors.
But apart from the two openers, the rest of the lot is yet to fire. Aussie Steven Smith has shown lots of promise and would hope to score big. And it’s high time for rest of the middle order comprising Yuvraj Singh, Luke Wright, Angelo Mathews to do justice to their reputation.
Pune Warriors have a Royal test
Rajasthan would look to come back hard after loss to KolkataBy Abhishek Paul | Mail Today – Sun 5 May, 2013 2:25 PM IST
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