Rajasthan Royals v Otago, CLT20, Jaipur September 30, 2013

Otago's chance to seal place in final four


Match facts

October 1, 2013
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)

Big Picture

Even before their match against Lions descended into Super Over mayhem, Otago had played some of the most exciting cricket in the Champions League T20. They are placed second in the Group A table, with 10 points from 3 games. Their last league match against Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur will be the difference between them looking ahead confidently to the semis, and waiting nervously for other teams to turn things their way - Otago could still make it to the last four in spite of a loss, but that would entail leaving their fate in the hands of Perth Scorchers, who are scheduled to play Mumbai Indians on Wednesday. If Otago lose and Scorchers are beaten, then it comes down the net run rate between Mumbai Indians and the New Zealand unit. It Otago win, they seal their spot in the final four.

It's not as if this is mere match practice for Royals, though. A victory against Otago will help them retain their position at the top of Group A, meaning they can play their semi-final at home - their Jaipur fortress - against the second-placed team from Group B. A loss, which would put Otago on top of the table, will take Royals into a semi-final against the rampaging Chennai Super Kings at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi.

Both teams are unbeaten in the league stage, although Otago have had one abandoned game. Each team has also found unlikely heroes in their wins. Otago have had a century from Neil Broom and James Neesham's scintillating innings, which may well send his stock soaring in the IPL auctions. Royals have found match-winners in Kevon Cooper and Sanju Samson, apart from Brad Hodge.

Against Otago, however, the Royals bowling will need to be at its sharpest and most incisive. Otago's batsmen have the ability to effortlessly switch gears from a steady pace to a sudden blitz and it's not just about Brendon McCullum. Broom, Hamish Rutherford, Neesham and Ryan ten Doeschate all have the ability to accelerate and hit boundaries at will.

Players to watch

With their batsmen grabbing all the attention, the Otago bowlers have worked quietly in the background. Ian Butler is one of them, at the top of the tournament's wickets table after Sunday's games with eight wickets from four matches at an average of 14.75.

Ajinkya Rahane's half-century against Scorchers is good news for Royals. He has been a constant in some of Royals' highest opening partnerships. Against Otago, whether they bat first or chase, Royals will need a sure-footed start and Rahane's form will be important.

Rachna Shetty is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Tahir on October 1, 2013, 14:03 GMT

    RR will by vying to keep the myth of not losing in Rajasthan while Otago have been unbeaten wherever they have played for the last many games and so it is their upper hand. RR's foreign player stock is roughly equivalent to the international players in Otago. RR will be defensive to keep winning at Rajasthan while Otago will be confident to end this and win it once more at a different location.

  • Android on October 1, 2013, 13:47 GMT

    dhoni is 2 time world champion and champions trophy winner.neesham is a newcomer with no pedigree. apples and oranges.i will take dhoni over neesham any day of the year.

  • Vijay on October 1, 2013, 13:39 GMT

    @LALITHKURUWITA Who ever wins this match wont face CSK in the semifinal...as CSK is group topper it will face the 2nd placed team in this grp.

  • Android on October 1, 2013, 11:32 GMT

    get ready to see some changes by RR. Tait for Kooper is a possibility and may be Yagnik for Mineria

  • Android on October 1, 2013, 11:22 GMT

    otago have proved that dey can win against any team on any ground. .it will b interesting to c who will maintain their record of winning consistently.. I'll go wit otago as they r very we'll groomed unit wit all dept set. . .

  • Dummy4 on October 1, 2013, 10:54 GMT

    Both are good teams at the moment, RR has clean home record, on the other side OV has unbeaten for last 14 games. And it will be streak vs Pride match tonight. But i guess RR has edge over Otago as they are playing home. If this was an away match, Otago will destruct royals easily. So today it will be RR's day.

  • Dummy4 on October 1, 2013, 10:29 GMT

    royals will win in a interesting match

  • Dummy4 on October 1, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    otago has the match winners who can alone win the matches if they perform at their day and if they are able to reach the batting after watson, they will surely win it. but if they cant and royals batting doesn't get damaged, otago will be in trouble. as far as bowling is concerned, royals have only tanmbay who is a good spinner, except that their bowling is average. so otago will have be at their best to win the match, and maccalms brothers will have take the responsibility themselves though the last match was won with their part. i would go for the punters 45 to 55 royals bc they are playing at their home soul. but then again if get a chance and want to bet, just bet the team having good rate. i would rather go for otago first and then rate increases, just put your money back at royals. in this way you will get benifit on both the sides.

  • Lalith on October 1, 2013, 9:58 GMT

    Whoever wins this will beat super king in the semifinal.

  • Dummy4 on October 1, 2013, 9:23 GMT

    Ottago has certainly got an edge over Rajasthan .As you can see that they relied heavily on Brendon in their qualifiers ,things have changed since they qualified .neesham & broom played match winning knocks in the group matches and now they are not relying on any particular batsman . Rutherford can give them a good start and the others can capitalize on it. Ottago is a composed unit as their bowlers are capable to control explosive opponents .Rajasthan are not getting excellent starts from their top order and they heavily relies on their middle and lower order to post a fighting total .now since ottago bowlers are very good at the death overs ,it will be very difficult for the rajasthan batsmen to score freely .Except Faulkner ,their bowling lacks the quality to stop someone like Brendon mccullam running away with the match .