We are coming off another close game, this time against the Deccan Chargers. Hayden, Raina and Oram did well to take us to 165, which is a tough score. We could have perhaps got 20 or so more, and though our bowling has improved, we need to take more wickets. Gilchrist and Gibbs made all the difference on Monday, and I hope we get rid of the big hitters against the Rajasthan Royals on Thursday.
This is a good time to play them as we are more or less in the same boat. In a competition as long as this, things can turn round fast, so it’s important that we don’t get bogged down by the results so far.
Strengths: Their win over the Daredevils will boost self-belief. Rajasthan are an adventurous team and Shane Warne has been able to use the resources available to him and inspire youngsters like Ravinder Jadeja, Swapnil Asnodkar and Kamran Khan.
Weaknesses: Generally lack firepower in bowling. This year, there is no Shane Watson and Sohail Tanvir and their batting has been inconsistent.
Opportunities: They have not been as consistent as they were last year. This time, their form has fluctuated, especially with the bat. We need to take wickets at regular intervals to put them under pressure. Our all-rounders must take on their death bowlers.
Threats: Warne is always a threat with the ball, and moreover, spinners but have been doing well in South Africa. The late season has made the pitches surprisingly slow and firm which has probably aided them. Kamran Khan was exceptional against the Kolkata Knight Riders, so we need to watch out for him.
Supersport looks like a good batting wicket and we would like to quickly see the back of the dangerous Yusuf Pathan and steady Graeme Smith.