Rajasthan Royals v Kochi Tuskers Kerala, IPL 2011, Jaipur April 23, 2011

Will the fortress provide Rajasthan relief?

Match facts

Sunday, April 24, Jaipur
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)

Big picture

Finally Rajasthan get a two-day break. The schedule of the tournament hasn't been awfully kind to Shane Warne's side - they have been playing every alternate day since April 15 until they found this extra day off. Those one-day gaps between games went in travelling from Jaipur in western India, to Kolkata in the east, to Bangalore in the south where their game was rained out, to Mohali in the north. It didn't help that they get into a habit of losing on this kind of stretch. An injury to their best player of the season, Johan Botha, didn't help either. Or the strategy of hiding their big names - Shane Watson and Ross Taylor - while facing a huge chase, as part of some inexplicable plan. They last won on April 12, and with just five points from six games, they are now left needing to win at least five of their remaining eight matches. Even that might not be enough.

With the state of affairs thus, Rajasthan will find some relief in coming back home to their once impregnable fortress Jaipur, and also in that one extra day to take stock and rethink strategies. However, the team that they face is on a hot streak. Kochi Tuskers Kerala were welcomed into the IPL fold with two losses, but they have made a comeback with three wins in a row to move up in the table. On the field, Rajasthan won't be expecting too much by the way of relief.

Form guide (most recent first)

Rajasthan LLLWW (sixth in points table)
Kochi WWWLL (third in points table)

Team talk

Rajasthan will be desperate for Botha's hairline fracture to heal in time for the game. He is not only a shrewd limited-overs bowler, but has also batted better than expected. Rajasthan will also need to sort out their batting order so that Watson and Taylor get to face as many balls as possible.

In their last game, Kochi brought in Muttiah Muralitharan ahead of his countryman Thisara Perera. The choice between champion spinner and allrounder seems like the only dilemma they have right now.

Predict the playing XIs for this match. Play ESPNcricinfo Team selector.

In the spotlight

Ravindra Jadeja comes up against his old franchise, Rajasthan Royals, an attempt to move away from whom cost him a season of IPL cricket. There will be mixed emotions when he walks out in Jaipur.

4-0-50-1. Shane Warne's figures from his last game read about as pretty as the effect his new moisturiser has had on his face. Warne doesn't need to do this. He still does this. It can't be just the money. The man who won almost every big contest international cricket had to offer, now has a small little fight on his hands, both as bowler and captain.

Prime numbers

  • Warne is only the third man to 50 IPL wickets. He has also conceded the most sixes in IPL
  • RP Singh is the highest wicket-taker over-all, with 54 strikes to his name

The chatter

"It's all about teamwork. We believe in our abilities. We try and execute game-plans accordingly. Everyone applauds each other's success. It's really great to have a group like that. We just had to be clinical in executing."

Mahela Jayawardene does his best to sound like a tie-wearing manager of a multi-national company

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo