Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rajasthan Royals look to strike form against a rejuvenated KKR

Defending champions Rajasthan Royals will look for a quick turnaround in their fortunes, while a rejuvenated Kolkata Knight Riders would aim to carry on the winning momentum when the two sides clash in an Indian Premier League match here on Thursday.

Without big stars in their ranks, the Royals have a tough task at hand after the thrashing in their campaign opener and second game against Mumbai Indians being washed out.

Shane Warne's side started its campaign by restricting Bangalore Royal Challengers to just 133 with the legendary spinner leading from the front but that total proved to be a mountain for the Royals as they were bundled out for just 58, the second lowest IPL total.

The Rajasthan youngsters failed to get the measure of another legendary figure in Anil Kumble who throttled them with a five-wicket haul.

In that match, the highest score by any Rajasthan batsman was 11 and they would be itching to leave behind that nightmare by coming good against Knight Riders who have also not done anything exceptional as yet.

Knight Riders, on the other hand, got over their first match disappointment, with a nine-wicket victory over Kings XI Punjab on Tuesday.

West Indian Chris Gayle exhibited his awesome batting prowess while Sourav Ganguly rolled his golden arm to great effect to compensate for his batting failure in the first match.

Warne would expect a better show from his batsmen as their opponents have a strong batting line-up.

"It is pretty disappointing. As champions we wanted to impose ourselves. We were exceptional in bowling and fielding but batsmen could not do well," Warne has said.

"Shot selection was really bad. I think the top 3-4 batsmen could have shown sensibility and played sensible shots. But I promise to come back strong," Warne had said after their first match defeat.

Knight Riders' captain Brendon McCullum, on the other hand, insisted that all was well in KKR camp after the captaincy row.

"It was a nice result after the first match defeat and we bounced back at the right time to gain some momentum. Sourav bowled exceptionally well. In Twenty20 one has to think quickly and I am happy that my decision to bowl him paid rich dividends," he had said.

More than the outcome of the match, it will be an intriguing contest between Warne and Gayle. Warne would also came face to face with old foe Ganguly and the fans could be in for a treat.

[the article was originally published at]

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