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Royal Challengers sent in to bat

Rajasthan Royals won the toss and elected to field against the Royal Challengers in what promises to be a cracker of a contest. Listen to podcast audio

cricket Updated: May 07, 2009 16:44 IST
HT Sports Bureau

Rajasthan Royals won the toss and elected to field against Bangalore Royal Challengers in what promises to be a cracker of a IPL contest. Listen to podcast audio

Preview

Thursday’s double-header pits the Rajasthan Royals against the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Chennai Super Kings against the Kings XI Punjab at Centurion. With three points separating the top seven teams the race for the top four places heats up.

Table manners

A win for RR, who are on a high after posting the first 200-plus score at IPL II in a convincing win over KXIP, could take them to the top. A reversal could extend BRC’s three-match winning run and take them alongside Delhi Daredevils who lead the table with 10 points and would have two matches in hand. CSK could emerge leaders with a win against Preity Zinta’s pack. Conversely, KXIP could break into the top four and slam the brakes on M.S. Dhoni’s comeback campaign.

‘Top’sy turvy

Naman Ojha and Graeme Smith have struck gold for Shane Warne’s RR. BRC’s Robin Uthappa has finally hit form, albeit after being ignored by the selectors for the T20 World Championships, and with Jacques Kallis paved the way for a comfortable chase against Mumbai Indians.

KXIP too have struggled to find an effective opening pair and Yuvraj Singh, who made a gutsy 48 off 37 in a losing cause against RR, could open alongside Kumar Sangakkara. Murali Vijay made good use of the opportunity he got to open with the in-form Matthew Hayden against Deccan Chargers and the two could again play a crucial role.

Basic instinct

Dhoni has always shown an instinct of finding magic from the ordinary. Last year every time he tossed the ball to Manpreet Gony or Joginder Sharma, the duo did not let him down. This time it’s been a left-arm spinner from Goa, Shadab Jakati.

With two four wicket hauls he has made the difference between sides and has flourished in the company of Muttiah Muralitharan.