Only two points separate Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore, and with the round-robin stage at its business end, they will be wary of not tightening things further. Royal Challengers are among two teams locked on 10 points.
While being placed seventh and having the better NRR can still give them hope of a top-four finish, Royal Challengers travel to Jaipur following back-to-back defeats in Delhi and Mumbai, where the opposition chased down 182 and 200 respectively, with ease.
Their bowlers have conceded 180-plus four times in their last five games, twice each on either side of a remarkable defense of 126. That win over Lucknow Super Giants remains their only victory in their last four matches, and they will be wary of a Royals side which thumped Kolkata Knight Riders to reignite their own campaign.
Three defeats in a row seemed to have taken the juice out of what had started as a near-perfect season for Royals. Two of those losses came in an unsuccessful defense of 212 and 214 in the final over - sandwiched between a batting collapse of 118 - before Yashasvi Jaiswal and Yuzvendra Chahal brought Royals back on track.
But despite that inconsistency, it is not too late for both Royals and Royal Challengers to remain in contention for the playoffs. Maybe Royal Challengers can take heart from having beaten Royals by seven runs earlier this season; and if that happens at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium too, then it could soon turn out to be a Royal battle for the playoffs.
Rajasthan Royals WLLLW (Last five completed matches; most recent first) Royal Challengers Bangalore LLWLW
Both teams have all players available for selection.
The big question
R Ashwin has got Virat Kohli only once in T20s, but Kohli has struggled against spin this season. Who will come out on top if they face-off again?
Impact Player strategy
Royals dropped Obed McCoy for their last game after using him as Impact Sub against Sunrisers Hyderabad. If he is left out again, Royals might swap either of Jaiswal or Dhruv Jurel with KM Asif depending on whether they are batting or bowling first.
Kedar Jadhav had replaced Mahipal Lomror as Impact Sub for Royal Challengers against Mumbai Indians, though it didn't work out as intended. So if they bat first against Royals, they might start with Jadhav, and bring in either Mohammed Siraj or Harshal Patel when they bowl. And it could go the other way round if they happen to chase.
It could be interesting to see which opening pair trumps the other in Jaipur. Among those with a minimum of eight first-wicket stands and a total of 200 runs added this season, Royals' Jaiswal and Jos Buttler have the best run rate of 10.03, while Royal Challengers' Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis have the most runs with 650.
However, there could a twist in the tale. Royal Challengers have the most wickets in the powerplay this season (25), and the best average. Nine of those wickets have gone to Mohammed Siraj, who is third on the wicket-takers' list during that phase only on account of a barely worse average of 18.22 than Royals' Trent Boult, who is second with 18.11. Also, Boult has the second-most wickets in the first over of a game in IPL history.
Chahal, with the second-most wickets (21) so far this season, holds a clear advantage over du Plessis, the highest run-getter (576). Royal Challengers' captain has managed only 34 runs from 40 balls against Royals' legspinner, while being dismissed twice. But both Chahal and R Ashwin might be wary of Glenn Maxwell, who strikes at 173 and 200 respectively, against them.
The last time Royal Challengers beat Royals in Jaipur was in 2012, when Kohli and Harshal Patel were part of the winning side.
Pitch and conditions
Jaipur has hosted four matches this season, and the scores batting first in the last three of those have swung from 202 to 118 to 214. All four games started at 7.30pm local time, with the side batting first as well as chasing winning twice each. However, the Royal Challengers match will be the first this season to begin at 3.30pm. And among all Indian grounds to have hosted at least 15 IPL matches starting at either 3.30 or 4pm, Jaipur has the lowest run rate of 7.92.
Meanwhile, the temperature in Jaipur is expected to hover around 40 degrees Celsius in the afternoon, though it might fall as evening draws closer.