Rajasthan Royals v Pune Warriors India
Sunday 5 May 2013, 15:30 BST
Live on ITV4 and itv.com
Rajasthan's quest for the IPL title took a knock on Friday as they lost to the struggling Kolkata Knight Riders on a turning pitch. They will be much happier on their own ground, especially against a team like Pune who rely largely upon quick bowlers. Wicketkeeper Sanju Samson has played only three games so far in this season's IPL, but has scored a remarkably 130 runs. That he has the last name of a legend is a smokescreen, the clue is in his middle name, Vishwanath. If ever a player was born to play a nuggety little innings it is man named after one of India's finest batsmen ever, Gundappa Viswanath - and so it has proved to be. James Faulkner continues to dominate the bowling statistics, dominating the IPL with 16 wickets. The problem is that no other bowlers have been picking up wickets for them. One man with a reasonable strike rate is West Indian Kevon Cooper and it has to be time for Rajasthan to bite the bullet and play him even though he has the worst economy rate of any Royals bowler who has played more than three games.
Pune Warriors India
It is turning out to be another IPL to forget for Pune, who languish at the bottom of the table with only two wins from 11 games and all hopes of making the playoffs logically - if not actually - gone. Defeat today would make that a near certainty so there is a huge incentive there for them. Aaron Finch has been their most consistent player, but their big problem has been an inability to build innings around any one batsman. That, in turn, has left a huge burden upon their bowlers that none of them have been able to live up to. Only Ashok Dinda has taken more than 10 wickets, and he has done it at the expense of conceding over 10 runs per over.
Venue and Conditions
Rajasthan are unbeaten at the Swami Mansingh Stadium in 2013. The last two games have seen first innings scores in excess of 170 and the perception in the IPL is that this is one of the higher scoring grounds. Rain is forecast for the daytime, but it should clear up by the evening and with temperatures of over 40 degrees Centigrade this will be a hot old evening in Jaipur.
Rajasthan are red hot favourites for this one, and with justification. In fact, you could say that the gap between them at [1.68] and Pune at [2.32] is actually too small and that, given their home record and Pune's poor form, the Royals should be at even shorter odds than that.
Shane Watson isn't just Rajasthan's most dynamic batsman this year, he's also their all time top runscorer, by a margin of over 500 runs. He's been in decent form just lately, seeming happy to use the IPL as a distraction from his problems in the international area with Australia. Back him at odds of around [4.5]
Finch has been the highlight player for Pune so far, but his fellow opener Robin Uthappa seems to be running into some good form, blasting 75 from just 45 balls as the Warriors narrowly failed to overhaul a huge Bangalore total in their last game. The odds on him will not be great at around [4.3], but when you are betting on a struggling team sometimes the only sensible option is to go with the man in form.
Back Rajasthan Royals at [1.68] to win