Punjab v Rajasthan, IPL 2013, Mohali May 8, 2013

Likeable teams in lively tussle for playoff push

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Match facts

Thursday, May 9, 2013
Start time 1600 (1030 GMT)

Big Picture

These must be the two teams neutrals like the most. Rajasthan Royals are led by one of the most admired Indian cricketers of all time, and have made the most use of domestic - and limited, mind you - resources. Kings XI Punjab have not been the most efficient side of the tournament by a long distance, but they have played attractively. It also helps that at almost every step of the way, they have had to deal with umpiring howlers, which they have complained about but not without humour.

This is no goodwill match, though. This is pretty serious business with pretty serious implications. Kings XI need to win almost every one of their remaining five games. They have five wins so far, and nine is no longer the magic number because three teams have either been eliminated or are on the brink of elimination, making it a much tighter competition in the middle of the table.

Royals have six points more than Kings XI, but the latter have a game in hand. All the winning of hearts and matches against odds might amount to nothing if Royals slip here.

Form guide

Kings XI Punjab WLLLW
Rajasthan Royals WWLWW

Watch out for...

Kings XI have relied mainly on David Miller, whose good performance hasn't come as a surprise to those who follow South African cricket, but they have in their side a man who almost single-handedly took them to the semi-final of the inaugural IPL. Shaun Marsh has shown glimpses of that form in the three matches he has been able to play so far, but Kings XI can really do with the real deal here.

If IPL performances matter for India selection, Ajinkya Rahane has started his good run a touch too late, scoring back-to-back fifties and claiming the Man-of-the-Match award in both the matches. For Royals, though, the runs haven't come too late, and they will need more of the same from him.

Stats and trivia

  • The two highest successful chases this IPL belong to Kings XI. Royals are not too far behind. They have scripted the fourth- and fifth-highest successful chases this season.
  • Miller has now scored three successive scores of fifty or more. This is not too rare an even in Twenty20 cricket, but only seven men have gone a step ahead. His century against Royal Challengers Bangalore, scored off 38 balls, was the sixth-fastest in T20s.
  • At 813 runs, Rahul Dravid and Rahane are now the fourth-most prolific opening partnership in IPL. Only Michael Hussey and M Vijay have done better than their eight stands of 50 or above.
  • This is the fourth match Royals are playing in eight days. Only Royal Challengers have had to go through such a busy week in this IPL.

Quotes

"We are very close to play-offs, there is no doubt about that. We have been playing very good cricket, but we still need to finish it off strongly. To get to the finals, certainly we have got the quality players."
Royals' Shane Watson is confident

"I know it sounds like a whinge. And it is."
Kings XI's Adam Gilchrist while joking about the umpiring blunders that his team has suffered

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Abitha on May 9, 2013, 10:40 GMT

    All the Veterans are playing and scoring Sachin Dravid Hussey. Make this your Day Gillie. A day to REMEMBERGood Luck Kashinath

  • TSJ07 on May 9, 2013, 10:35 GMT

    Its going to be a cracker of a game here in Mohali. Both teams would like to win to get boost to their chances of reaching in the last four. I'm supporting KXIP but Dravid is my hero and IMO No.1 cricketer from India (not God), a real team man and someone who could be role model for today's budding cricketers. I hope RR loses today only to win next all matches just like KXIP win all their next matches. Difficulot but not impossible.

  • Qa_ankit on May 9, 2013, 9:23 GMT

    Well my combination is bit different. I might surprise a bit but truly speaking i might be thinking like Dravid. I will not touch my opening pair for sure and with watson at 3. But i will bring one person till yet no body has talked or might have forgot. Parera. I am not a big fan of him as haven't seen him play but i feel he can come for this game. So my team with some little changes will be: Dravid, Rahane, Watty, Parera, Binny, Hodge, Samson, Faulkner, Trivedi, Sreesanth and one spinner. If not Parera, then would love to go for Edwards for sure. Bring some thing that can shock the other team. Else they can make plans and execute them.

  • Kashi0127 on May 9, 2013, 8:51 GMT

    Its going to be interesting tussle. Two teams I like most and like to see them in finals. I can bet Dravid will not panic like Kohli if there is a Miller onslought!

  • latecut_04 on May 9, 2013, 8:45 GMT

    As much as i like RR since we are at the business end of the tournament I do hope they overcome their shortcomings.Trivedi needs to be replaced.Shaun Tait may fire especially considering the match is at Mohali.(i asume its).Also from what i remember about Fidel Edwards he is too good to be warming the benches.not sure about his current from though.On the batting front RR struggled earlier when Watto failed to deliver.Dravid-Rahane have come to party in the last 2 matches but they were comparitively weaker bowling sides.Hope to see my dear Dravid's yet another victory..Halla Bol..Jeetega bhai jeetega...Rajasthan Jeetega!!!!

  • dummy4fb on May 9, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    KXIP will win... Chak de Punjab

  • Sunilcecil on May 9, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    Bring in azhar that will give bowling the sting that lacked in previous match! 190 runs should not have been scored!

  • SherjilIslam on May 9, 2013, 8:15 GMT

    @caught_knott_bowled_old on (May 9, 2013, 6:04 GMT):You are spot on. Rajasthan with the resources of Watson,Dravid,Rahane,Faulknera,Tait,Edwards cannot be called as underdogs.They had a very good mix. of local talents and they have a cool sets of options. The actual underdogs are KXIP. With very few quality resources,they are pushing themselves against all odds.See their line-up, i don't think any of the current player of their squad is a regular in their national team.

  • himanshu.team on May 9, 2013, 7:18 GMT

    With the kind of form Shaun Tait has shown, he must be dropped. Edwards is a much better bowler, who bowls nearly as fast as Tait but has far greater control, more so in death overs. A big reason for Tait being so expensive is due to the runs he gives away as extras. Other than that, if the wicket is a flatbed, as expected, Sanju Samson will keep his place. Dravid, Rahane, Hodge, Binny, Trivedi, Faulkner and Watson are automatic selections. Other two spots must go to Ashok Menaria and Sreesanth (if you need another fast bowler) or Harmeet Singh (if you want a genuine spinner in the side). So the side for me would be: Dravid, Rahane, Menaria, Watson, Hodge, Binny, Samson, Faulkner, Sreesanth/Harmeet, Trivedi and Fidel Edwards. I do not have much knowledge of KXIP, but I don't think they can tamper too much with their winning combination.

  • KanAloshFozter on May 9, 2013, 6:41 GMT

    In this match Miller and Mandeep hold the key for KXIP. Amidst all hues and cries about Miller,Mandy has been batting pretty well. I'd like to see him get a big score. RR is the likeliest to win because of Rahane,Dravid,Watto and Samson. Sreesanth in for Tambe