Jaipur, Apr 13: 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 (IPL) match here on Sunday (April 14).
Aiding Rajasthan 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 Pune 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 yesterday. This could have a bearing on the selection of the playing XI.
Rajasthan 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 Rahul 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 tomorrow 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 has 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.
They had started with an eight-wicket thumping of Pune and would be hoping to get their act right.
They have a couple of promising youngsters in Sandeep Sharma and Manan Vohra, both of whom were part of the India Under-19 team, apart from left-arm medium pacer Aniket Choudhary.
With former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist at the helm, they are not short on experience.
The skipper along with David Hussey, Mandeep Singh give solidity to their batting while India all-rounder Praveen Kumar will spearhead the bowling attack, which includes Ryan Harris, Azhar Mehmood and Parvinder Awana.
Most importantly, from the visitors' point of view, Punjab need to put in a team effort to make an impact against the hosts, who know the conditions better.
The visitors have been here for the past two days in order to get used to the conditions.
The match is likely to be played on the same strip, which saw Rajasthan getting the better of defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders.
Rajasthan Royals: Rahul Dravid (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Shane Watson, Ajit Chandila, Ankeet Chavan, Ashok Menaria, Brad Hogg, Brad Hodge, Dishant Yagnik, Fidel Edwards, Harmeet Singh, James Faulkner, Kevon Cooper, Kumar Boresha, Kushal Perera, Owais Shah, Pravin Tambe, Rahul Shukla, S Sreesanth, Sachin Baby, Samual Badree, Sanju Samson, Shaun Tait, Sreevats Goswami, Siddharth Trivedi, Stuart Binny, Vikramjeet Malik.
Kings XI Punjab: Adam Gilchrist (captain), Azhar Mahmood, Luke Pomersbach, David Hussey, David Miller, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Manpreet Gony, Nitin Saini, Parvinder Awana, Paul Valthaty, Piyush Chawla, Praveen Kumar, Rajagopal Sathish, Ryan Harris, Bhargav Bhatt, Bipul Sharma, Gurkeerat Mann Singh, Harmeet Singh Bansal, Manan Vohra, Aniket Choudhary, Mandeep Singh, Sandeep Sharma, Siddharth Chitnis, Sunny Singh.
Match starts at 8PM IST