With a record of 10 successive wins in Jaipur and on the brink of a semi-final spot, Rajasthan Royals are marked favourites against Perth Scorchers.
Scorchers, languishing at the bottom of Group A, will be desperate for a turn in form and fortunes. Their first game was washed out and they were thrashed by a belligerent Neil Broom and Ryan ten Doeschate in their previous game. A loss here could significantly worsen their chances of qualifying for the semi-final, making them depend on technicalities and other teams.
The match against Otago exposed the fragility and inexperience of the young Scorchers attack. Their batting showed some gumption - reaching 180 for 6 from 11 for 3 - but their bowling was disappointing. Once Otago mounted an assault on the bowling from the 12th over onwards, Scorchers had no one to rein in the run-scoring. Between the 12th and the 20th overs, they conceded less than 15 runs in just one of the nine overs.
Royals, on the other hand, have managed to control the latter half of their bowling innings well. They conceded 10 runs or more in an over six times against Lions, of which only two were in the last five overs. Against the more powerful Mumbai Indians line-up, they had only five such overs overall.
Perhaps, the most crucial player for Scorchers in this game will be Brad Hogg, who has spent two IPL seasons with Royals. Hogg's first-hand knowledge of the hosts line-up and the playing conditions in Jaipur could prove invaluable as Scorchers look for a revival.
For Royals, the focus will be on consistency and confirming their semi-final place. Their ability to find performers at crucial junctures has been impressive and they've benefitted by giving youngsters like Ashok Menaria and Sanju Samson a free rein. Shaun Tait has been sidelined so far with an injury but things are likely to get interesting if he is fit in time to play against his Australian T20 side.
Players to watch
Simon Katich had a great run with Lancashire in the Friends Life t20, leading up to this tournament. In nine innings, he scored 265 runs at an average of 44.16. As one of the most experienced players in the side, Katich has a clearly-defined role of keeping one end stable as the younger batsmen bat around him.
Brad Hodge, with his deadpan style of batting, has reveled in his middle-order role for Royals. He cemented their place in this Champions League with an unbeaten 54 against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL 2013. Against Lions, he struck a nonchalant 20 runs off the final over to take Royals to a strong total. With Shane Watson alternating between the top and middle order depending on the match situation, Hodge's presence lends a certain calm to the Royals batting line-up.