Buoyant Rajasthan aim to rein in Deccan
Match factsRajasthan Royals v Deccan Chargers, Ahmedabad
Friday, March 26
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
Big pictureRajasthan have a habit of belying their critics' gloomy predictions, and it seems they are on their way to do so again. After three consecutive defeats culminating in the embarrassing capitulation to Royal Challengers Bangalore, their skeptics had written them off. However, Shane Warne's boys have lifted themselves off the bottom of the table on the back of two straight wins. Also, they are finally getting the performances out of their foreign players: Shaun Tait and Michael Lumb had their best match of the tournament against Kings XI Punjab on Wednesday, and Adam Voges is proving to be a canny pick.
Their victories, though, have come against two of the strugglers in the tournament - Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders. The match against an in-form Deccan Chargers should be a stiffer test, and if they pass that they will only be two points off the top spot. One of their big challenges will be to keep a well-oiled Deccan batting unit, which has piled on at least 170 in each of their past three games, quiet. One of Deccan's worries is that the leading wicket-taker in the second season of the IPL, RP Singh, is having a rough time in this tournament, though his troubles have been masked by the form of Chaminda Vaas.
Team talkIt is possible that Rajasthan will want to stick with the side that beat Punjab; the Indian batsmen, for the most part, have done well enough to retain their place. Munaf Patel had a poor game against Punjab, but he is seen as a senior bowler in the Rajasthan camp, so he is likely to be given more matches.
Deccan have yet to unleash the pace of Kemar Roach, but with Chaminda Vaas having an excellent tournament so far, the West Indian may not get a look-in. One question for Gilchrist to ponder about is who to pick as his opening partner; Monish Mishra failed in the previous game, and the other option is VVS Laxman.
Form guide (most recent first)Rajasthan: WWLLL
Previously…Rajasthan 3 Deccan 1
In 2008, Graeme Smith and Yusuf Pathan helped Rajasthan overcome a brutal century from Andrew Symonds to chase 214 off the penultimate ball in Hyderabad. The second game in Jaipur was a mauling, as the same duo scripted an eight-wicket win.
In the spotlightThe inclusion of Adam Voges has added spark to the Rajasthan batting; two electric innings from him have boosted their totals from middling to challenging ones, and also have reduced the dependence on Yusuf for the quick runs.
Deccan may have sunk in a massive amount for Andrew Symonds' services, but it is proving to be a sound investment - Symonds has been Man-of-the-Match in the past two matches, and made a brisk half-century and snagged two wickets, including that of MS Dhoni, in the win against Chennai.
- Adam Gilchrist has provided Deccan with his usual blistering starts this season, he leads the strike-rates chart (minimum 50 runs), blasting away at 191.02
- Amit Uniyal's economy rate of 11.00 is the highest in the tournament for anyone who has bowled more than five overs.
Chatter"We have learnt a lot from our last few matches and we showed a lot of character. We have to keep this intensity going."
Shane Warne on Rajasthan's resurgence.
Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo