Struggling Rajasthan Royals will face an uphill task to bring their campaign back on track when they clash against in-form Kochi Tuskers Kerala in their Indian Premier League match on Sunday.
Out of six matches they have played so far, the 2008 champions, after having started on a great note by winning the first two games, finished on the losing side on three occasions, while one match got abandoned due to rain.
Led by Shane Warne, Rajasthan Royals though have lacked the fire power and killer instinct which made them the champions in the inaugural IPL.
While the batting looks inconsistent, the bowlers have not been able to stop the flow of runs.
It is high time that the Royals pull up their socks and get back to winning ways. And they would require to do it itself against a confident Kochi outfit before it becomes a much stiffer task to make it to the last-four stage.
But for that, they would have to get their act together quickly in all three departments of the game.
The likes of Shane Watson, Ross Taylor, Rahul Dravid, Stuart Binny, Ashok Menaria have not been able to make an impression yet and they will now have to raise their hands and be counted.
The hosts would also be desperate to include Johan Botha, who has been in good form with willow, if he is fit.
The bowling department, which looks impressive on paper, has also failed to penetrate into the opposition camps so far in the tournament and Warne will be looking to lead from the front when they take on the Kochi Tuskers.
Shaun Tait, Shane Watson, Sidhartha Trivedi and Warne himself were all found lacking at times but it will be just a matter of one match as any of these players are capable of changing the complexion of the game.
On the other hand, Kochi Tuskers have been on a rampage. After putting behind the disappointment of the first two losses, this new IPL team has hardly looked back.
Mahela Jayawardene and Co have stunned three powerful sides in the competition – defending champions Chennai Super Kings, runners-up of last season Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders – to emerge as one of the favourites in the tournament.
With Brendon McCullum, Jayawardene, Parthiv Patel, Brad Hodge in good form, Team Kochi might be expecting a cake-walk but they would certainly be guarding against complacency.
They would also be hoping that all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja would continue with his fabulous run.
The bowling also looks solid with the presence of veteran Muttiah Murlitharan, RP Singh, Vinay Kumar and Jadeja have lived up to the expectations so far and the Keralites would want the story to be no different as well.
But all said and done, even though the visitors start favourites against the Royals, wily skipper Warne is well aware of the fact that in Twenty20, equations can change extremely fast and the veteran spinner would be looking to come out with a new trick to change the fortunes for his side.
Rajasthan Royals: Shane Warne (C), Swapnil Asnodkar, Stuart Binny, Johan Botha, Deepak Chahar, Ankeet Chavan, Aakash Chopra, Aditya Dole, Nayan Doshi, Rahul Dravid, Samad Fallah, Faiz Fazal, Ashok Menaria, Sumit Narwal, Jacob Oram, Pankaj Singh, Amit Paunikar, Ajinkya Rahane, Abhishek Raut, Dinesh Salunkhe, Pinal Shah, Amit Singh, Shaun Tait, Ross Taylor, Siddharth Trivedi, Shane Watson and Dishant Harendra Yagnik.
Kochi Tuskers Kerala: Mahela Jayawardene (c), Brendon McCullum, Parthiv Patel, Brad Hodge, Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Thisara Perera, Raiphi Gomez, Rudra Pratap Singh, Ramesh Powar, VVS Laxman, Sreesanth, Muttiah Muralitharan, Owais Shah, Steven Smith, Balachandra Akhil, Deepak Chougule, Gnaneswara Rao, John Hastings, Michael Klinger, Chandan Madan, Sushant Marathe, Steve O’Keefe, Tanmay Srivastava, Padmanabhan Prasanth and Yashpal Singh.