Royals, Kings eager to regain winning touch

Royals, Kings eager to regain winning touch

Royals, Kings eager to regain winning touch

Hosts Rajasthan Royals will look to regroup and get back to winning ways after their unexpected loss to lowly Pune Warriors, when they take on Kings XI Punjab in their Indian Premier League match here on Sunday.

Aiding Royals in their quest will be the home crowd and the track at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium. But skipper Rahul Dravid and his men will first have to put the loss to Warriors behind.

The team selection will surely be a brainstorming exercise for the hosts because of the fitness of the likes of Shane Watson, Shaun Tait and Rahul Shukla and the resurfacing of the ‘slap gate’ controversy, which might have affected medium pacer S Sreesanth, who tweeted 44 times in a two-hour span on Friday.
This could have a bearing on the selection of the playing XI.

Royals had begun the tournament with back-to-back convincing wins but were pegged back a bit after their humiliating loss to Pune, who had broken their eleven-match losing streak with a seven-wicket victory. Now, the hosts would be more than happy to be back on the home turf.

Their batting looks good with Ajinkya Rahane and Dravid in good touch and high on confidence.  

Despite being the oldest Indian player in IPL-6, Dravid has scored two fifties and has looked as solid as ever, often playing some uncharacteristic adventurous strokes. Rahane too has a good run of scores — 30, 36 and 38 — and lower-down Brad Hodge has accelerated the innings with a mix of caution and aggression.

Watson’s addition has certainly strengthened the side but the Australian has played only one match and lasted just ten balls for his unconvincing five runs.  He is due for a big one and who knows that might come on Sunday if he is declared fit to play.   
The bowling needs to be tightened a bit as the move to open with a left-arm spinner against Pune backfired and Sreesanth proved to be expensive. Tasmanian all-rounder James Faulkner impressed in his first outing picking up two for 17 in his four overs and old war horse Sidharth Trivedi was as good as ever.

On the other hand the visitors, who have come here with one victory and a loss in their two outings, are short on confidence after their humiliating 10-wicket loss to Chennai Super Kings.

Rajasthan royals

* RAHUL DRAVID: Retirement from international cricket has not taken the class away from his batting. Coming in as an opener or one-down for Royals, Dravid amasses runs at a brisk rate without sacrificing the basic ethos of his batting that made him a legend, underscoring the fact that 40 (his age) is just a number.

kings xi punjab

*PRAVEEN KUMAR: The pace at which he bowls -- mid 120 kmph -- can tempt batsmen to take him for granted. But that’s only till they face him. Praveen can torment even the best with cutters bowled with accuracy of a sniper. He hasn’t been at his best in the two matches he played but that might just change on Sunday. 

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