This is a battle of two under-performing teams scheduled to be played at Jaipur’s Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Friday, April 6, 2012.
RR won the inaugural IPL in 2008 thanks to their then mentor and skipper Shane Warne who has since left the squad. His replacement at the helm, Rahul Dravid, has a challenge on his hands as he attempts to make do with a bunch of unproven players, in a tough competitive arena.
Dravid will rely on Shane Watson to lead the batting in the absence of marquee names, though Watson’s services will be unavailable till the latter half of the season, as the Aussie all-rounder is currently doing international duty. In the meanwhile, other internationals such as Brad Hodge and Owais Shah will bear the onus of running up good scores for RR, with local assistance from the likes of Rahane, Menaria and Fazal.
The inclusion of Sreesanth has given the bowling a competitive edge, embellished by the tear-away pace of Shaun Tait and assisted by the likes of Amit Singh and Siddharth Trivedi. In spin, RR have an embarrassment of riches with Brad Hogg and Johan Botha vying for honours.
As far as the absence of big name players goes, Kings XI Punjab are in a not dissimilar situation, themselves. Coached and led by Aussie legend Adam Gilchrist, the team will rely on the likes of Paul Valthaty, Abhishek Nayar, Paras Dogra and Sunny Singh, with David Hussey and Shaun Marsh shoring up the middle.
Praveen Kumar is likely to shoulder the bowling burden until he is joined later in the competition by Ryan Harris, currently on international duty for Australia. Kumar will have assistance from the likes of Nathan Rimington, Vikramjeet Malik and Harmeet Singh. As in the case of RR, KXIP also have strong spin options, in the form of Romesh Powar and Piyush Chawla.
While KXIP currently have a stronger batting line-up (at least on paper) RR should prevail in Friday’s match, on the back of their more penetrative bowling attack.
RR’s probable eleven: Dravid, Fazal, Rahane, Hodge, Shah, Menaria, Goswami, Tait, Hogg, Trivedi, Sreesanth.
KXIP’s probable eleven: Gilchrist, Valthaty, Marsh, Hussey, Dogra, Nayar, Malik, Kumar, Chawla, Powar, Rimmington.
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.