Struggling Pune Warriors on Wednesday got a much-needed fillip with the confirmation that they will have the services of impact player Yuvraj Singh when they cross swords with high-flying Rajasthan Royals in a Pepsi Indian Premier League (IPL) clash on Thursday .
Yuvraj is fit to play Thursday's game, according to team coach Allan Donald, but Pune will miss West Indian all-rounder Marlon Samuels, who has picked up a groin injury.
The Warriors have lost two matches on the trot thanks to dismal batting efforts.
On the other hand, the Royals go into their second away game after recording a clinically executed and morale-boosting 19-run victory over defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders at home, their second win in as many matches.
The Warriors are the underdogs going into the clash and their stuttering batting line-up, which includes proven performers at the international level like Yuvraj, Ross Taylor and Marlon Samuels, needs to buck up and start firing.
Yuvraj pulled out of Pune's first home game on April 7 against Kings XI Punjab at the eleventh hour, after flopping in their campaign opener in Hyderabad against new outfit Sunrisers, complaining of a sore back.
How and when he sustained the injury is not known and in his absence, the Warriors were restricted to a paltry 99 for nine, which was easily overhauled by Kings XI.
Not only was Yuvraj missed as a main middle-order batsman, the Warriors were also handicapped without his clever left-arm spin bowling in the middle overs.
The Warriors would be happy to get such a key player back after suffering successive defeats. Pune have been done in by the poor form of their top batsmen who need to contribute significantly if are to outdo the high-flying Royals who shot to the top of the table after stunning KKR.
Rajasthan Royals: Rahul Dravid, Ajinkya Rahane, Shane Watson, Ajit Chandila, Ankeet Chavan, Ashok Menaria, Brad Hogg, Brad Hodge, Dishant Yagnik, Fidel Edwards, Harmeet Singh, James Faulkner, Kevon Cooper, Kumar Boresha, Kushal Perera, Owais Shah, Pravin Tambe, Rahul Shukla, S Sreesanth, Sachin Baby, Samual Badree, Sanju Samson, Shaun Tait, Sreevats Goswami, Siddharth Trivedi, Stuart Binny, Vikramjeet Malik.
Pune Warriors: Angelo Mathews (Captain), Yuvraj Singh, Abhishek Nayar, Robin Uthappa, Ross Taylor, Ajanta Mendis, Manish Pandey, Marlon Samuels, Mitchell Marsh, Mithun Manhas, Parveez Rasool, Rahul Sharma, Ali Murtaza, Anustup Mazumdar, Ashok Dinda, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Dheeraj Jadhav, Eklavya Dwivedi, Harpreet Singh, Ishwar Pandey, Kane Richardson, Krishnakant Upadhyay, Luke Wright, Mahesh Rawat, R Gomez, Shrikant Wagh, Steve Smith, T Suman, Tamim Iqbal, Udit Birla, Aaron Finch.