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Match 13 of Pepsi IPL 2013 will feature a battle between two teams with contrasting fortunes. Pune Warriors India, who’ve lost their first two matches and lie at the bottom of the table, play host to the Rajasthan Royals who’ve won two out of two and are sitting pretty in the top half of the table.
A very good team on paper, the Pune Warriors haven’t quite got their act together. The team failed to chase down 126 and suffered an embarrassing 22-run defeat in their opening match at home. Things went from bad to worse in the second game when, sans Yuvraj Singh, they batted out their entire 20 overs but only managed to post 99 runs on the board. Robin Uthappa, Marlon Samuels, Ross Taylor and Angelo Mathews have reputations of being very dangerous batsmen; but between them, they’ve only managed to contribute 97 runs in two matches and that has hurt the team big time. Having lost two matches, they will want to get their first points on the board and they have a good chance of doing so when they play this home fixture.
The Rajasthan Royals may not possess too many superstars in their line-up. But their strength lies in the fact that all the players in the line-up play with freedom and punch above their weight. The team would have learnt their lessons from last season, when they won four of their first six matches but only managed to win three of their remaining ten, eventually missing out on a Play-Off berth by just one win.
Thursday, April 11, 2013, 8 p.m
Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium, Pune
The Pune Warriors India will look forward to the return of Yuvraj Singh to their line-up. The southpaw had to miss the previous game owing to back injury and is more than likely to be available for this match. Also keep an eye on Ross Taylor whose place in the XI could come under the scanner after two poor outings and with growing voices for the inclusion of Steve Smith. The 23-year old Smith was Pune Warriors’ second-highest run-getter last season and was in good touch during Australia’s Test series in India recently.
For Rajasthan Royals, Ajinkya Rahane showed glimpses of good form in the previous match. Given his growth chart as a cricketer, he will be expected to play a key role for the Royals. Shane Watson didn’t contribute too much in his first outing and he will be itching to make a bigger contribution, as will Brad Hodge whose knock was chiefly responsible in RR posting a respective total against KKR.
The Rajasthan Royals have a 100% record against Pune Warriors India. The two teams have so far met on three occasions and the Rajasthan Royals have won each of those matches.
Pune Warriors India will be very keen to improve on their home record; the team has only managed to win two of the nine matches they’ve played at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium in Pune.
Siddharth Trivedi is the Rajasthan Royals’ most-capped player; he has played 61 of the franchises 76 matches in the IPL.
Pune Warriors India will hop across the city to the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai to take on the Mumbai Indians on April 13 while the Rajasthan Royals will head back home to host Kings XI Punjab on April 14.
Match 12 of Pepsi IPL 2013 will feature the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders.
After losing a thrilling tie in the Super Over in an away game to SRH, RCB rallied back brilliantly on their home turf to defeat the Sunrisers Hyderabad convincingly. The Kolkata Knight Riders meanwhile opened their account in convincing style when they defeated the Delhi Daredevils in the tournament opener. However, chasing a modest total against the Rajasthan Royals, the defending champions fell short by 19 runs.
Thursday, April 11, 2013, 4 p.m
M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru
Virat Kohli showed the other night – in the home match against the Sunrisers Hyderabad - that RCB was not a one man team. There is no doubt Chris Gayle will consume most of the space in the media and most time in opponents’ team meetings, but in Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers RCB have two of the game’s best finishers.
Though they got outclassed in the away fixture against the Rajasthan Royals, the Kolkata Knight Riders are a solid outfit. In Gautam Gambhir they have a captain who believes in leading by example. The KKR skipper confirmed at the pre-match press conference that the hard-hitting Brendon McCullum was fit and rearing to go. His availability and inclusion in the XI will be a huge fillip to the team’s batting line-up.
On the bowling front, it is going to be a battle of the two spin wizards – Sunil Narine and Muttiah Muralitharan. Batsmen have found Narine, the Purple Cap holder, to be extremely difficult to get away; in his two matches so far this season he has conceded only 41 runs in the eight overs. The wily Muraitharan has picked up a solitary wicket, but he has only conceded 71 runs in twelve overs. Young Jaydev Unadkat has kept the runs down and picked up important wickets too.
These two teams were involved in the very first IPL match – back in 2008 – when Brendon McCullum got the IPL off to a flying start with a breathtaking single-handed demolition of the RCB.
Since then the two teams have met on nine occasions and RCB have managed to even the scales, winning five to leave the head to head at five apiece. In the last IPL season, KKR won both their league matches against RCB by convincing margins.
Brendon McCullum’s unbeaten 158 against RCB in the opening game of the inaugural IPL is still the highest individual score in T20 cricket.
RCB will hop across to neighbouring Chennai for their away fixture against the Chennai Super Kings on April 13 while the Kolkata Knight Riders will head back home to host Sunrisers Hyderabad on April 14.