As we move towards the business end of this IPL, match 68 sees a contest between two teams in contrast, one far removed from the action and competition for the play-offs and the other right in it. While the Deccan Chargers – eliminated from the race to the play-off spots – have little to play for other than a respectable finish to a forgettable season, the Rajasthan Royals have everything at stake. Odds are against them but qualification to the play-offs is the prize.
Rahul Dravid and his men visit Hyderabad for what is a must-win game, if they are to pip Chennai and Bangalore to the fourth place. Their final game being against a relatively stronger opposition in Mumbai Indians, the Royals need to win here with a good margin to improve their net run-rate as it seems likely to be the deciding factor to determine the fourth play-off team.
With just two wins in fourteen games, Deccan Chargers have been unable to gel as a team and have performed poorly, confirming the fears of fans and pundits alike. With just five points so far and the top seven teams well out of their reach in the points table, the Chargers need to win both the remaining games and hope for a favourable result when KKR play 8th placed PWI, to avoid ending this edition at the bottom of the table. Though DC cannot make it any further this edition, they can play spoilsport, ruining the qualification chances of both the Rajasthan franchise as well as RCB (whom they play in their last game). But will that be enough to draw out a winning performance from the Chargers?
Head to Head:
The champions of the first ever IPL have competed with the winners of the second edition in a total of 8 games, of which Rajasthan have won no less than 7 games, with the Chargers having only win to their credit. The last time these two sides met on the 17th April, earlier this season, Rajasthan Royals won chasing a big target.
Played – 8: DC – 1; RR – 7
He had a forgettable match against Rajasthan Royals in their previous encounter. But, one of the best pace bowlers in the world, Dale Steyn will have a huge impact on the outcome of the game. If he is at his best, Rajasthan Royals might see their chances disappear faster than a Dale Steyn delivery.
The opener has been a consistent performer in an under performing Deccan Chargers side. A good player of spin, it is important for the Chargers that he tames the Rajasthan bowlers and gets the team off to a flying start for the other batsmen to build upon. He has had a superb IPL-5 so far and will look to extend that run against the Royals tonight.
The young Rajasthan opener has had a consistent season and has been a rock in the batting line-up for the Royals at the top. Royals need him to get off to a good start on a Hyderabad pitch that is well suited for batting. If the opening duo start off well, a high score looks to be on the cards.
Rahul “The Wall”Dravid has lived up to his reputation this season. He has well allayed fears and doubts from skeptics who believed he is not capable of playing in the Twenty20 format. He has proved himself in the heat with his captaincy skills, keeping a less fancied Rajasthan side in contention for the playoffs.
If the team strengths on paper is considered, Rajasthan Royals might win in a closely fought contest.