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Rahul Dravid and allrounder Shane Watson are fit and will be available for selection for Rajasthan Royals' upcoming game against Kolkata Knight Riders in Jaipur, a Royals spokesperson confirmed to ESPNcricinfo on Friday.
On Sunday, both players had a long stint in the nets. "He his 100 per cent fit," Royals seamer Siddharth Trivedi said on the eve of the game. "Though he had a niggle in the last match, he took treatment immediately after the game… He is fit."
Trivedi said Watson is fit, though whether or not he will play is something the captain and coach will decide. "He did join the team after the match against Daredevils. He is fit and worked out in the nets but the decision on his playing would be taken by coach Paddy Upton and captain Rahul Dravid."
Albie on his way to India
Albie Morkel, the South Africa and Chennai Super Kingsallrounder, will be leaving for India today to play in the IPL. There were concerns over Albie's availability after he turned his left ankle while bowling for Titans in the Ram Slam T20 challenge final. However, he tweeted on Monday morning, saying, "Scan went well. Will be on my way to India today."
A dream come true for Vihari
With the focus on the Dale Steyn-Chris Gayle contest in the lead-up to Sunday's game, few would have expected young Hanuma Vihari to take centre-stage. Vihari, who had Gayle caught behind off the first ball he bowled in the IPL, revealed how Sunrisers had planned to get the batsman out.
"It is a dream come true for me to get Chris Gayle's wicket," he told IPLT20.com. "Getting the wicket of the best T20 player in the world the very first ball is special for me. It was our special plan to bowl spin to Gayle early in the innings. We noticed that he had stuck around in the first six overs in the previous match and then went big towards the end. So the team think-tank took a chance by bowling me to Gayle in the very second over of the match. I am glad I got him out and our plan worked."
Breaking the jinx
Kings XI Punjab won their opening game of the IPL for the first time in six years. And they did so in dominating fashion, winning by eight wickets and with 46 balls to spare. Having restricted Warriors to 100, Adam Gilchrist, the Kings XI' captain, said the plan was to score at an aggressive clip. "We know how important the run-rate becomes towards the end of the tournament," Gilchrist said. Gilchrist, who was bought by the franchise in 2011 auction, said the team had worked hard to start the campaign on a winning note. "Kings XI Punjab have never won their opening match in the IPL earlier. That is the hoodoo we have got rid of. Every team hopes to start a tournament with a win and so we are going towards the right direction."
The Dawes formula
Joe Dawes, the India and Kings XI Punjab bowling coach, believes the best way to stamp authority over the opposition in Twenty20 cricket is by grabbing few quick wickets inside the six overs of Powerplay. In a chat to Mail Today, Dawes said Kings XI have a versatile attack lead by seamers Praveen Kumar and Parwinder Awana, along with the "crafty" Azhar Mahmood,who could easily disrupt the opposition plans as seen during the eight-wicket thrashing of Pune Warriors on Sunday. "In any form of cricket, it is important to take wickets. If you can take two to three wickets in the first 5- 6 overs you have a good chance of winning the game," Dawes said.
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