After a rollicking start to their IPL V campaign, Rajasthan Royals will look to continue the winning momentum when they face Kolkata Knight Riders, who would be equally keen to bounce back from a humiliating defeat in their opening match against Delhi Daredevils, here on Sunday.
The Royals, led by the recently-retired Rahul Dravid, beat Kings XI Punjab by 31 runs last night and the former India skipper would hope that his boys would come up with an equally good performance ahead.
Kolkata Knight Riders too would be eager to put their humiliating eight-wicket defeat behind them when they start in the day match to be played in the scorching heat at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.
KKR captain Gautam Gambhir. Photo: AFP
The Royals were impressive against Kings XI and Kevon Cooper was the find of the match.
The little-known Caribbean cricketer impressed with his allround capabilities by adding 11 runs off three balls and then bowling with guile to grab four for 26 apart from displaying his agility on the field.
The batting for the hosts looked solid with Rahul Dravid playing his role as a motivator and sheet anchor to help Ajinkya Rahane play a brisk 98 run innings.
Though the exuberant Ashok Menaria failed to read a wrong one from Piyush Chawla, other batsmen including, Brad Hodge, Owais Shah and Kevon Cooper, accelerated according to the need of the hour.
The bowling department too looked in good touch as they took advantage of the wicket. Cooper was especially outstanding as he learnt fast to mix his slower ones according to the pace of the wicket.
The 23-year-old lad from Trinidad has demonstrated that he is a quick learner and might be a vital cog in Rajasthan Royals' campaign.
Amit Singh and Siddharth Trivedi have shouldered the responsibility of the pace unit in the first match and the hosts might also bring quickie Shaun Tait to spearhead the attack.
KKR, on the other hand, has a pretty balanced side which would really test the might of the Rajasthan Royals.
The genuinely quick duo of South African youngster Marchant de Lange and seasoned Brett Lee did prove costly against Delhi but they can be a real threat once they get their rythym right.
The wily South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis and Yousuf Pathan, who knows the conditions well here, can be devastating with both bat and ball. Skipper Gautam Gambhir who was in fine form recently would be eager to be back among runs.
The rest of the batting too has solid names such as Manoj Tiwari and Laxmi Ratan Shukla apart from a tail which consists of Lee, Iqbal Abdulla and Rajat Bhatia, all capable to add a few quick runs.
The scorching heat would be a worrying factor for both the teams but the wicket which was good for batting might again provide a surface for an intriguing clash between the two teams.