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Kings XI Punjab are coming off a six wicket loss against KKR and on Monday they face Mumbai Indians, a team high on confidence after their thumping victory against RCB on Saturday. Mumbai Indians’ batting came good, their bowlers backed them and on the back of that performance, it will be an uphill task for Kings XI to get the better of MI. Kings XI coach Darren Lehmann is wary of the challenge ahead.
“Mumbai Indians are a quality side and they have played really well in the tournament so far. We have to be at the top of our game to beat them and we have to have some good man-of-the-match performances.”
Feeling that the wicket at the Wankhede will assist his team’s bowling, their strength, Lehmann said, “We saw the MI-RCB game and felt it was a good T20 wicket. Obviously it has a lot of bounce and carry in it. MI are a dangerous side to play at home and we will have to bowl well against them. Our strength is our bowling, so I expect us to bowl well.”
The bowling might be their plus point, but batting is still a cause for concern according to Lehmann who said, “Our batting has been a bit of a worry. But I have been impressed with the batting in the last few games. We played well against KKR in the previous game and got to 149 which we felt was defendable on that surface.”
Also, their captain has barely got going this season and there have been just a few standout performances in the batting line-up that has helped the Kings XI post good totals on board. Will we see Adam Gilchrist doing a Ricky Ponting by resting himself?
“Look, Gilchrist would like to get some runs under his belt, just like we all would like to. Gilly knows he has to make some runs, be it this game or the next game or the game after. Gilly has to come good soon. When a player is not scoring well, he is under scrutiny and it will be no different in Gilly’s case. We will sit down and see if he is a part of our selection plans.”
Lehmann had words of praise for the domestic talent who have time and again performed for the side. Be it chasing totals or scoring at a brisk rate, the likes of Mandeep Singh, Manan Vohra have stood up to the occasion. It is only fair that the coach wants his overseas players to step up their game.
“I am impressed with the domestic talent. We have to harness our talent and it is our motive to make the local talent play to their best as much as they can. We have seen a lot of young players in the side who have done well for us. For example; Manan Vohra has been impressive in the opportunities he has got and we are exposing him to the big stage. I feel the overseas players need to make more contributions to make the job of the domestic players easier. This will be a good batting track and we expect our batsmen to play with a lot of freedom.”
The Rajasthan Royals clash with the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Match 40 of the Pepsi IPL 2013.
Both teams are undefeated at home so far this season but have had contrasting results in their most recent matches. While RR thrashed Sunrisers Hyderabad in their previous match, RCB suffered a 58-run drubbing at the hands of Mumbai Indians.
Both teams are still placed among the top four teams in the standings though RCB have played one match more than their opponents. RR are not among the more fancied teams in the tournament, yet Dravid and his team – a very likeable team - have played a fearless brand of cricket and have outsmarted their opponents time and again.
Virat Kohli’s team will be aware that they’ve lost their three away matches this season and need to start getting results their way, given that they will be on the road for the next week.
Dravid’s team will also remember the seven-wicket defeat they received at the hands of RCB when the two teams met at Bengaluru earlier this season and will be keen to return the favour this time around.
Monday, April 29, 2013, 4 p.m
Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
For RR to compete with RCB on the batting front, they will need one of either, Shane Watson, Ajinkya Rahane or Rahul Dravid to bat for a majority of the innings. Watson is the most important batsman in the RR line-up for the simple reason that not only does he score quickly he also has the habit of scoring big. The Australian slammed the first century of the current season and narrowly missed out on a second in the previous match against Sunrisers Hyderabad. Dravid and Rahane have been important cogs because they play the role of anchor and ensure the scoreboard continues to tick giving ample opportunity for the likes of Stuart Binny and Brad Hodge in the lower order to go after the bowling.
RCB skipper Virat Kohli has steadfastly denied that his team is not a one-man army – with the one man referred to being Chris Gayle. RCB have chosen to play with five specialist bowlers and that has meant that one between Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers or Kohli, one of them needs to bat out the entire twenty overs, if not the entire twenty.
The surface at the Sawai Mansingh stadium has tended to help the quick bowlers this season and that puts the spotlight on James Faulkner (RR), RP Singh, R Vinay Kumar and Jaydev Unadkat (all RCB). Previous Meetings
The head-to-head record between the Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore sways in favour of the latter. RCB have won six of the 11 matches they’ve played against RR (one of which was washed out by rains).
No visiting team has won more matches at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium than Royal Challengers Bangalore. RCB have won three of the four matches they’ve played at the venue.
The Rajasthan Royals’ next fixture is against defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders on May 3. Virat Kohli and Co. meanwhile head to Pune to take on Pune Warriors India on May 2.