Kochi Tuskers Kerala v Rajasthan Royals, IPL 2011, Indore May 14, 2011

Teams in must-win battle

Match facts

Friday, May 15, Indore
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)

Big Picture

Both teams are still in it theoretically, but a defeat will certainly send them out of the IPL this season. With mixed returns in this campaign overall, and at least two successive defeats marring their recent run, both Kochi Tuskers Kerala and Rajasthan Royals have been left hanging by a thread.

Rajasthan, in their previous game against the in-form Royal Challengers Bangalore, were humbled after posting 146, while Kochi will be disappointed they didn't defend 176; they were outdone by an enterprising innings from Dinesh Karthik.

Both have two games in hand, and need to win both to entertain hopes of staying. While those wins might not ensure qualification, given the teams' low net run-rates and that the current top four look good to remain there, they'll end their respective campaigns on a high. For Rajasthan, it'll mark a satisfactory end to Shane Warne's reign as player, coach and captain. Likewise for Kochi in their first season following a turbulent build-up.

Form guide (most recent first)

Kochi Tuskers Kerala: LLWWL (seventh on points table)
Rajasthan Royals: LLLWW (fifth on points table)

Team talk

It could be worth bringing Ranji star Deepak Chahar into the playing XI. He hasn't got a game this season, and could be an option in place of Pankaj Singh, who was expensive in Rajasthan's previous game.

B Akhil has had just one game for Kochi this season and could be given a go. Jayawardene has said his team could go in with a four-pronged pace attack.

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

In the spotlight

Shane Watson: He's had starts this season at the top of the order, but hasn't really been dominating as he's capable of being. He looked in good nick against Bangalore in his previous match, making 34, and needs to push on for more.

Brendon McCullum: He's had a better IPL than Watson, but in the last few games, like his opening rival, has not dug in after the early bursts. He made a quick 32 in Kochi's previous game, 22 before that and smashed it around for 37 against Delhi Daredevils. He and Watson have similar goals to meet.

Prime numbers

  • Rajasthan Royals have had the least number of team fifties this season, with just three in 12 games. Kochi Tuskers Kerala are second from bottom with four
  • Rajasthan, as a team, have also struck the least fours and sixes - 128 and 32. Kochi have fared far better - 151 fours and 43 sixes until now

The chatter

"We've often been 20-odd runs short of where we should've been. McCullum plays the way he does and sometimes gets out early. If we have some partnerships in the middle overs, we could end with 15 or 20 more runs, which could make all the difference." Mahela Jayawardene wants his batsmen to step up

Siddhartha Talya is a sub editor at ESPNcricinfo