ICL: Indian Cricket League

Confident Rajasthan ready for Kolkata


Match facts

Thursday, May 1, 2008
Start time 16.00 (local), 10.30 (GMT)

The Big Picture

The Rajasthan Royals, after an inauspicious start, are seeking their fourth successive win. Astutely led by Shane Warne, they have moved up to the third slot in the team standings, and their frugality at the auction (they spent the least), are slowly bearing fruit. In the first of two back-to-back home games, they have to contend with the Kolkata Knight Riders who, after a rollicking start, have lost two in a row. The departure of Brendon McCullum and Ricky Ponting for their respective international commitments, coupled with Chris Gayle’s unavailability for the rest of the season due to injury, will make it that much harder for Kolkata to bounce back. And there is one contest on the sidelines: The battle of the coaches. Warne and John Buchanan had no love lost for each other in their Australia days; how will they interact now?

Watch out for …

… some stand-out performances from Jaipur. Shane Watson has earned two Man-of-the-Match awards in four games, and needs to score 28 more runs to earn the right to wear the orange cap bestowed on the highest cumulative run-scorer. Graeme Smith has scores of 71 and 49 in his two innings while Yusuf Pathan, who blasted the quickest fifty of the tournament, may set the stadium alight. Meanwhile, Kolkata’s batting has fizzled out after McCullum’s 158 in the IPL opener and it’s not surprising that none of their batsmen have recorded a half-century since. Their icon, Sourav Ganguly, has only managed 40 runs in four innings while David Hussey, after his stabilising influence in Kolkata’s first home win, has made just 67 overall. But they can take heart from the fact that Brad Hodge, who was a late signing, has the game to spark a change in fortunes.

Team news

Dimitri Mascarenhas, the England allrounder who has earned a reputation for big-hitting (he struck Yuvraj Singh for five successive sixes in an ODI), is available for five games for Rajasthan. He is likely to replace Sohail Tanvir, the Pakistan left-arm seamer. Besides the one change, the rest of the line-up looks settled, with Mahesh Rawat set to continue with wicketkeeping duties in the place of Kamran Akmal .

Rajasthan (probable) 1 Graeme Smith, 2 Mahesh Rawat (wk), 3 Yusuf Pathan, 4 Shane Watson, 5 Mohammad Kaif, 6 Dimitri Mascarenhas, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Dinesh Salunkhe, 9 Shane Warne (capt), 10 Siddharth Trivedi, 11 Munaf Patel.

The departure of Ponting and McCullum means that Kolkata may hand out IPL debuts to Salman Butt and Hodge. Hodge has an impressive domestic Twenty20 record - 1649 runs in 44 innings at 42.28 with a strike-rate of 139.20. The young Debabrata Das showed glimpses of potential during his 29 against Mumbai, and should get another opportunity.

Kolkata 1 Sourav Ganguly (capt), 2 Salman Butt, 3 Brad Hodge, 4 David Hussey, 5 Mohammad Hafeez, 6 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 7 Laxmi Ratan Shukla, 8 Ajit Agarkar, 9 Murali Kartik, 10 Ishant Sharma, 11 Ashok Dinda.

IPL form

Rajasthan Royals: LWWW
Kolkata Knight Riders: WWLL

Stats and trivia

  • Smith, with 364 runs at 36.40 from 12 matches, is the highest run-getter, and the batsman who has hit the most number of fours in Twenty20 internationals
  • Ajit Agarkar, with 11.10 balls per wicket, has the best strike-rate among all bowlers in the IPLQuotes

“There’s never a low for me. I can never feel low. There are times when my son (Aryan) runs a race but doesn’t come first. I’ve myself lost races. I’ve made flops but that doesn’t take anything away from life. It’s not that I like losing, though… I don’t and my team doesn’t like losing either.”
Shah Rukh Khan, Kolkata’s team-owner and Bollywood superstar, takes losing in his stride while talking to the Telegraph

Source:Cricket News

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