Rajasthan's chance to improve prospects
Match factsTuesday, May 8
Start time 1600 (1030 GMT)
After the hype surrounding Sourav Ganguly playing an away game at Eden Gardens has died down, Pune Warriors have a disappointing season, not unlike the previous one, to reflect on. The season began with much promise, with three wins in the first four games. The next eight have brought seven losses; there was a run of seven consecutive losses last year as well. The defeat to Kolkata Knight Riders was typical of Warriors' performance; they fought hard, they came back twice, once with the ball and once with the bat, but ultimately, could not get over the finish line. Their play-off chances are almost over now.
Rajasthan Royals gave their chances of making the top four a boost with a big win over Kings XI Punjab, which broke a run of four consecutive losses. In their five remaining games, they face Warriors twice and bottom-placed Deccan Chargers once. They wouldn't want to slip on Tuesday, considering their other two matches are against Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians.
Form guide(completed games, most recent first)
Pune Warriors: LLLLL
Rajasthan Royals: WLLLL
These sides played each other just once last season, with Royals winning by six wickets in Jaipur
Players to watch
It took only two outings for Shane Watson to turn in a match-winning performance, against Kings XI. Thirty-six runs at a strike-rate of 211.76 and two wickets at an economy-rate of 5.50. His class is the boost a flagging Royals campaign needed.
With the focus on Ganguly in Kolkata, Angelo Mathews turned the game briefly with three consecutive sixes off Yusuf Pathan. Had it not been for Sunil Narine's spell of two overs for eight runs towards the end, Mathews may well have won the game for Warriors. He's revived many stuttering chases for Sri Lanka.
Stats and trivia(All stats prior to the start of Monday's game)
- Surprisingly, Warriors have scored the most runs this season, 1721
- This is already Rahul Dravid's most prolific IPL season, with 379 runs, bettering his return of 371 in 2008.
- Steven Smith has taken the most catches this season - eight - along with Rohit Sharma.
"We have shown in this competition that we are a team to be taken seriously even though not many people would have given us a chance at the start."
Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.