Match 28 Preview: Royals to tame Tuskers, To Catch the Race

Rajasthan Royals and Kochi Tuskers Kerala have been the sensational names of IPL. Kochi in 2011 is doing what Royals did in 2008, coming as underdogs and performing as champions. Can Kochi continue the same performance and reach teh knockouts!! Shane Watson and Warne may be the biggest test on their way to the answer.

There is no cricketing history between Tuskers and Rajasthan Royals. Players can have specific interests though. Ravinder Jadeja, the key Kochi player was one of the main pillars of Royals.

2011 Performances
Without the services of fiery Watson, who was Player of the Tournament in 2008, Royals have produced two emphatic wins. They drubbed their prey Deccan Chargers easily and then went on to thump Delhi Daredevils. But after that they had to play two back-to-back matches against Kolkata Knight Riders. In third match, their record of defending totals above 145 runs was broken against KKR, and in fourth match at Edens, they scored the third-ever lowest score of IPL, losing it againt to KKR. Kings XI had further humiliation in store for RR.

When Kochi played their first match, they went on to score the highest score of the tournament, scoring 161/5. But Bangalore batsmen chased it. Even Pune Warriors defeated them in the same fashion. But, against Mumbai Indians they realised their batting strength and decided to chase, and earned their first victory. Against Chennai Super Kings also they earned easy victory chasing a high score. Against Knight Riders, Kochi bowlers earned a remarkable victory defending low target.

Player’s Performance
Rajasthan Royals player performance index shows better batting, with four batsmen touching 100-mark, but the highest is still just 118 that too by Botha who is warming the bench continuously. Their bowlers have taken 22 wickets in 5 matches.

Kochi’s player’s performance index shows McCullum, Jadeja, Hodge and captain Mahela in tremendous forum. But their bowlers have failed taking only 20 wickets in 5 matches.

Who Will Win Today!
Kings XI can take two positives to win the match. They have already defeated 2010 and 2009 champions, CSK and DC, although they have lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore and Pune Warriors. Considering the current form Kings XI looks set to win. The success and failure of Valthaty and Watson will decide the winner.

Key Battles
Jadeja vs Tait/Watson/Warne
Jadeja, the ex-Royal player, has emerged as one of the most improved player of the tournament. His clean hits and aggression have not spared any bowler so far. If he continues his devastating form with bat, then Tait, Watson and Warne will have a forgettable day, and with some contribution with his tight bowling, he may be the match-winner of Kochi.

Shane Watson vs Kochi Bowlers
Its not only Rajasthan Royals but entire IPL community is waiting for Shane Watson to get back in form. If Watson chooses today’s match as the day, Kochi would have no option but to sit back and become spectators to their loss.

Rajasthan Royals Squad
Batsman: Ross Taylor, Rahul Dravid, Swapnil Asnodkar, Amit Singh, Ankeet Chavan, Aakash Chopra, Faiz Fazal, Amit Paunikar, Ajinkya Rahane, Pinal Shah (WK), Dishant Harendra Yagnik (WK)
Allrounder: Shane Watson, Paul Collingwood, Dinesh Salunkhe
Bowlers: Shane Warne (Captain), Shaun Tait, Stuart Binny, Aditya Dole, Nayan Doshi, Samad Fallah, Ashok Menaria, Sumit Narwal, Pankaj Singh, Abhishek Raut, Siddharth Trivedi

Kochi Tuskers Kerala Squad
Batsman: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Michael Klinger, Brendon McCullum (WK), Owais Shah, VVS Laxman, Kedar Jadhav, Chandan Madan, Parthiv Patel (WK), Yashpal Singh
Allrounder: John Hastings, Brad Hodge, Steve O’Keefe, Thisara Perera, Steven Smith, Ravindra Jadeja,
Bowlers: Muttiah Muralitharan, Sreesanth, Ramesh Powar, RP Singh, Vinay Kumar, Balachandra Akhil, Balachandra Akhil, Deepak Chougule, Gnaneswara Rao, Raiphi Gomez, Sushant Marathe, Prasanth Padmanabhan, Tanmay Srivastava

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