The intensity varies. So does the burden. Rajasthan Royals, says skipper Shane Warne, is fiercely determined and committed. Pune Warriors, asserts Yuvraj Singh, is equally devoted and firm. But the load on their shoulders is not the same.
Rajasthan Royals is placed third and Pune Warriors ninth in IPL-IV. The difference between the teams is big. In terms of combination and form, Pune Warriors has been a huge let down. Rajasthan Royals is just about beginning to discover new warriors who can change the course of a contest.
Pune Warriors, a new entrant this year, has offered nothing new. The combination looks cluttered and the lack of depth in all departments has made things gloomy for the captain. When Yuvraj claims that he is playing well as a batsman but not the team it is time for the management to take note.
Introspection at this stage would help Pune Warriors improve its performance but Rajasthan Royals is an opponent which has grown as a strong unit in the last few matches.
Nothing has worked for Pune. Runs have dried up for the batsmen, barring Yuvraj, Jesse Ryder and Robin Uthappa, and the bowlers have struggled to make an impact.
Rajasthan Royals loves to play at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium, especially with Warne playing the leader's role. He has transformed the way the youngsters in the team approach the game. Ashok Menaria, who has the potential to play in the big league, reveals how Warne's support has enabled the team to attain their best in difficult situations.
Warne has appointed leaders for every department. Even the youngsters find themselves saddled with some responsibility. “It helps in binding the team,” says Menaria, who was told of his specific role by Warne at the beginning of the tournament.
Warne rated Menaria a “key player” and he is slowly turning out to be one. Warne's belief, admit the youngsters in the team, is the driving force.
In sharp contrast, Yuvraj has been having a tough time. “We have to win six out of six to have a chance,” he said in the run-up to this match.
To win six matches would mean a remarkable recovery for Pune Warriors. How well does Yuvraj script a resurgence would be partly known on Sunday. He has a job to do that he so wonderfully accomplished at the World Cup.
True, this is a different platform. But the goal and the responsibility are the same.