Rajasthan Royals keen to retain momentum

Dravid's men will have their guard up against Kings XI

Rajasthan Royals keen to retain momentum

As they move closer to the play-off stage, Rajasthan Royals would be looking to guard against complacency when they take on an unpredictable Kings XI Punjab side in their IPL match here on Thursday.

Led by Rahul Dravid, the Royals have won eight games out of 12 and are placed third in the table, while Punjab with five wins from 11 matches are in contention for acquiring a play-off berth.

The hosts would draw confidence from their dramatic six-wicket win over a formidable Royal Challengers Bangalore in their last tie, where KXIP’s South African import David Miller bailed the team from the dumps and single-handedly won the match, chasing a mammoth 191-run target.

‘Killer’ Miller had struck a 38-ball 101. His ability to bring the team out from tight spots on few other occasions in this season has made Miller an extremely dependable player. He had earlier struck a 41-ball 80 against Pune Warriors.

Apart from Miller, Australian Shaun Marsh is another key player, who along with Mandeep Singh and Dravid could easily counter the opposition bowling attack.

David Hussey is leading the team in the absence of an under-performing Gilchrist, who dropped himself from the team in the last few matches.

The team has looked good at the home turf and would be keen to take maximum advantage with two more matches to be played at home.

Punjab have shown the stomach for a fight with some close finishes but they need to put up an all-round performance to get the better of a strong Jaipur outfit. They need to win at least four of the remaining five games to stand a chance for the play-off berth.

While Punjab’s morale is high after pulling off an unlikely win against RCB, the Royals are also riding high on confidence.

STAR WATCH

AJINKYA RAHANE:  The youngster has gradually blossomed into a real match-winner with impressive knocks. Along with captain Rahul Dravid, Rahane played a crucial role in shaping Royals’ win over Delhi Daredevils on Tuesday, pulling out some spectacular shots.

DAVID MILLER: Miller might have cashed in on the luck factor to take his team to victory against Royal Challengers Bangalore the other night but there is no doubting the talent of this 23-year-old South African. His blazing willow has boosted the confidence of his team.

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