Can Watson lift his game and inspire Rajasthan?
Wednesday, May 11, Jaipur
Start time 2000 (14.30 GMT)
Shane Warne is screaming in the headlines. He is angry, and letting the world know. His fans believe he is right about his pitch complaints, his critics believe he is whining and the neutrals are puzzled. Meanwhile, Rajasthan's campaign is in a crucial phase: Fifth in point tables, five wins and five losses, and can either ascend the ladder or slip down the snake. An angry Warne might just be the inspiring factor that can propel this team.
If only Shane Watson can stir himself out of his slumber. He has scored just 187 runs from eight games; it could just be fatigue or it could be the pressure of being the main man and Rajasthan will hope that he can turn the corner. Even Ross Taylor, the other batsman expected to lead from front, has dawdled, tallying 168 runs from 10 games. It's been a tad puzzling, and disappointing, to see Taylor pigeon-holing his arsenal to one big shot- that heave to the leg side.
Meanwhile, Chris Gayle has violently changed the fortunes of Bangalore Royal Challengers. The laughter, not seen very often in maroon colours in recent times, is back, the big shots are booming and Gayle looks a happy man. And Bangalore have prospered. If Gayle is the man who has transformed their batting, S Aravind has been the silent force of change in the bowling fortunes. He has taken 10 wickets at 16.20 and his form has eased up the pressure on Zaheer Khan.
Form guide (most recent first)
Bangalore: WWWWW (fourth in points table)
Rajasthan: LLWWW (fifth in points table)
The question of who will replace Tillakaratne Dilshan for Bangalore has been pushed back by one match, as Dilshan has extended his stay in the IPL. Rajasthan dropped Stuart Binny for the last game and they are unlikely to make any more changes.
Predict the playing XIs for this match. Play ESPNcricinfo Team Selector.
In the spotlight
Johan Botha is what they call the "100% cricketer". Many wondered how he would fare without the licence to bowl his doosras after their legality was questioned couple of years back. What did he do? He became the Twenty20 captain and even led in a few ODIs, and now in IPL averages over 50 in batting.
Daniel Vettori has been supremely miserly with an economy rate of just 5.58. He has picked up only seven wickets but his accuracy and change of pace has strangled the batsmen. He has been rarely collared and the other bowlers have profited from his parsimonious bowling.
- Vettori's economy rate this IPL is an outstanding 5.58. Overall, in the all the editions, his economy rate is 6.76 which is the 12th in the list of best rates
- With 55 wickets, Shane Warne is the fourth highest wicket taker in IPL history. However, this year, he has taken just 11 wickets
"He [Zaheer Khan] is a key bowler for us and swung the match for us against Pune Warriors. He bowls economically in the last overs and he and I bear the brunt of the attack."
Daniel Vettori backs the Indian seamer
Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo