Rajasthan search for winning form
Match factsMay 2, 2009
Start time 12.30pm (10.30GMT, 16.00 IST)
Big PictureOn last year's form, Rajasthan Royals would have been runaway favourites to walk away with this game. However, no match-up illustrates the difference between last year's tournament and IPL 2009 better than this one: Deccan Charger, the laggards of IPL 2008, are among the top teams this time, while Rajasthan are struggling to string together victories, winning just two so far.
Rajasthan are facing the same problem that Deccan encountered last year - too many players out of form, which leaves the onus of victory on a handful. Yusuf Pathan has been the Man of the Match in both matches that Rajasthan have won, and the team's fortunes have invariably risen or fallen with him.
Deccan, on the other hand, have had several players who have come to the party: apart from their openers Herschelle Gibbs and Adam Gilchrist, Dwayne Smith and Rohit Sharma have played handy knocks, while RP Singh and Pragyan Ojha are among the top wicket-takers in the tournament. Ojha hasn't had a bad game yet in IPL 2009, which is amazing for someone of his inexperience. This might also be Fidel Edwards' last game of the tournament, and he'll want a better end to IPL 2009 than the previous game, when he lost control over both his direction and his temper.
Form guideDeccan Chargers (last 5 completed games) - LWWWW
The top-order batting has been in good shape, thanks largely to their openers, while the bowling attack has a fine mix of pace and spin.
Rajasthan Royals (last 5 completed games) - LWLWL
Graeme Smith's lack of runs at the top of the order has been a huge worry, which has put extra pressure on the shoulders of Yusuf. Ravindra Jadeja has shown excellent maturity with the bat, but Rajasthan need more consistency at the top of the order.
Team newsDespite the defeat, Deccan are unlikely to tinker too much with the team that played Delhi. T Suman, who played his first game of the tournament, scored a quick 23 from 14 and is likely to retain his place.
Deccan: (probable) 1 Adam Gilchrist (capt/wk), 2 Herschelle Gibbs, 3 Azharuddin Bilakhia, 4 Rohit Sharma, 5 T Suman, 6 Dwayne Smith, 7 Venugopal Rao, 8 Pragyan Ojha, 9 Shoaib Ahmed, 10 RP Singh, 11 Fidel Edwards.
The injury to Kamran Khan means Rajasthan will have at least one change to the line-up which lost to Chennai. An option could be to strengthen their batting,
Rajasthan: (probable) 1 Graeme Smith, 2 Rob Quiney, 3 Swapnil Asnodkar, 4 Yusuf Pathan, 5 Dimitri Mascarenhas, 6 Ravindra Jedeja, 7 Paul Valthaty, 8 Shane Warne (capt), 9 Mahesh Rawat (wk), 10 Siddharth Trivedi, 11 Munaf Patel.
- Yusuf Pathan has scored 145 runs at an average of 36.25, and a strike rate of 159 runs per 100 balls. Exclude him, and the rest of the Rajasthan Royals average 12.18, at a strike rate of 85.
- The average opening partnership for Deccan is 41.60, at a run-rate of 10.4 per over. Rajasthan's average opening stand is 9.20, at an average of 4.84 per over.
- On an average, Deccan score 52 runs in the first six overs, for the loss of one wicket. Rajasthan average 34 in the first six overs, for the loss of two.
Head-to-head recordLast year, Rajasthan put it across Deccan in both games, chasing down 214 in the first game in Hyderabad, and cruising to an eight-wicket win in the home game in Jaipur.
S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo