As they move closer to the play-off stage, Rajasthan Royals would be looking to guard against complacency when they take on an unpredictable Kings XI Punjab side in their Pepsi Indian Premier League match here on Thursday.
Led by an experienced campaigner Rahul Dravid, the Royals have won eight games out of 12 and are placed third in the table, while Punjab with five wins from 11 matches are in contention for acquiring a play-off berth.
The hosts would draw confidence from their dramatic six-wicket win over a formidable Royal Challengers Bangalore in their last tie, where South African import David Miller bailed the team from the dumps and single-handedly won the match.
His ability to bring the team out from tight spots on few other occasions in this season has made Miller an extremely dependable player. Apart from Miller, Australian Shaun Marsh is another key player, who along with Mandeep Singh could easily counter the opposition bowling attack.
Punjab’s bowling has been their strength, with Praveen Kumar getting the ball to swing early on and Parvinder Awana and leg spinner Piyush Chawla chipping in with wickets.
The Royals are also riding high on confidence, having registered a comprehensive nine-wicket win over Delhi Daredevils on Tuesday.
Dravid has been leading from the front and along with Ajinkya Rahane, is providing solid starts. Australian all-rounder Shane Watson and 18-year-old Kerala lad Sanju Viswanath have been the positives for Royals. Sanju is the find of the season for them. His useful contributions with the bat has provided the team impetus in the middle-order.
On the bowling front, left-arm pacer James Faulkner, who is leading wicket taker with 18 scalps, has been goodIn the spin department, the Royals have Ajit Chandila, and with leg-spinner Pravin Tambe making his T20 debut for the Royals the other night, it will be interesting to see how Punjab batsmen treat the opposition spin attack.PTI