Rajasthan Royals confident against Royal Challengers

Updated: 23 May 2008 12:08 IST

Rajasthan Royals will have to come out from the aftershock of the blasts and concentrate on the IPL game on Saturday against Royal Challengers in Jaipur.


Rajasthan Royals will have to come out fast from the aftershock of the serial blasts and concentrate on the Indian Premier League game on Saturday against a beleaguered Bangalore Royal Challengers at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.

Home team captain Shane Warne, Shane Watson, Graeme Smith and coaching director Darren Berry were reportedly terrified by the blasts on Tuesday that killed over 60 people and were reluctant to return to the Pink City for the match.

However, after IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi assured that adequate security would be provided to the players, Warne and his boys are returning from their vacation in Goa to take on Rahul Dravid-led team.

Rajasthan Royals CEO Fraser Castellino said the team was on its way to Jaipur while lesser known faces like Parag More are camping here to meet any exigency.

But for the blasts, the break should have done a world of good for the hosts who had a gruelling schedule last week, with three matches in six days.

The hosts are sitting pretty at the top with 14 points and one more win will ensure them a place in the semifinals.

Considering Royal Challengers' track record - four points after seven defeats and two wins - the home team's task does not look very tough on Saturday, provided they switched on fast to the cricket mode leaving behind the thoughts of the blasts.

Moreover, the Rajasthan Royals will also carry the confidence that they have beaten the same opponents at their own backyard when Watson's 61-run knock had steered them to a seven-wicket victory. Since then, the Royals have grown in confidence and the aura of invincibility in their own fortress has been more than impressive.

The shrewd tactician in Warne, in the dual role of coach and captain, has transformed the pre-tournament underdogs into a victorious army.

At home, the hosts have won five matches on the trot and they would look to continue their winning streak.

Their batting looks good with Watson, Yusuf Pathan, Swapnil Asnodkar and Graeme Smith in good nick and Pakistani middle order batsman Younis Khan is expected to join the side anytime to strengthen the team.

The bowling, to be spearheaded by Warne himself, has a good variety. The skipper has said that he wants his bowlers to be the smartest and cleverest in the tournament.

"We want to reach in semifinals being at the top," Warne had said, making clear his intentions.

On the other hand, Royal Challengers have been a demoralised lot with a series of defeats and off the field controversy involving the team management.

Though at the bottom of the table, the Challengers would want to prove a point that they were not the punching bag of the tournament.

Meanwhile, curators Taposh Chatterjee and Abdul Saeed have promised a sporting wicket for the match and the fans could see an even battle between the bat and the ball.

Rajasthan Royals: Shane Warne (Captain), Graeme Smith, Sohail Tanvir, Siddharth Trivedi, Shane Watson, Mohammad Kaif, Munaf Patel, Niraj Patel, Yusuf Pathan, Mahesh Rawat, Dinesh Salunkhe, Aditya Angle, Swapnil Asnodkar, Ravindra Jadeja, Kamran Akmal, Pankaj Singh, Sumit Khatri, Taruwar Kohli, Anup Revandkar, Parag More, Morne Morkel, Jaydev Shah.

Bangalore Royal Challengers: Rahul Dravid (Captain), Wasim Jaffer, Sunil Joshi, Jacques Kallis, Zaheer Khan, Mark Boucher, Virat Kohli, Praveen Kumar, Anil Kumble, Cameron White, Misbah-ul-Haq, Dale Steyn, Vinay Kumar, Neravanda Aiyappa, Balachandra Akhil, KP Appanna, Jagadeesh Arunkumar, Bharat Chipli, Shreevats Goswami, Ashley Noffke, Devraj Patil.

Topics : Cricket
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