Rajasthan look to consolidate their momentum

May 7th, 2012 - 7:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Virender Sehwag Pune, May 7 (IANS) Rajasthan Royals arrested a four-match losing streak by beating Kings XI Punjab by 43 runs in their last Indian Premier League (IPL) match and their captain Rahul Dravid sent out a warning to their opponents not to take them lightly.

After losing twice to league leaders Delhi Daredevils and once each to Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan will face Pune Warriors for the first time in the competition.

Royals’ Ajinkya Rahane is holding on to the orange cap with 463 runs scored from 11 matches, but Virender Sehwag (445), Chris Gayle (433) and Gautam Gambhir (421) are in hot pursuit to snatch it from him.

Rahane and Dravid are the best opening pair in this IPL edition with partnerships of 99 and 71 against Daredevils and 77 against Kings XI Punjab. Dravid himself is in great touch, scoring 379 runs from 11 matches and he has been a great inspiration for youngsters in the team.

Australian Shaun Tait, who scalped two wickets for 18 with his excruciating pace against Punjab, his first game this season, and compatriot all-rounder Shane Watson brought in the desired balance in the team.

Pune, who are on a five-match losing streak, are also on the look out for a victory to reverse the trend. Tightening the attack in the last 10 overs, they restricted Kolkata to 150 runs, but a batting collapse at the start left Pune eight runs short of the target.

With their strike bowler Ashok Dinda back in action to share the new ball with the likes of South African Wayne Parnell, Sri Lankan Angelo Mathews, who turned on the match around against Kolkata with two wickets, and left-arm spin duo of Murali Kartik and Australia skipper Michael Clarke the bowling line-up looks formidable.

Robin Uthappa is Pune’s leading run-getter with 340 runs from 12 games, followed by Steven Smith 283 from 11 games and Ganguly 247 from 12.

The road ahead for Pune, second from bottom, looks bleak with eight points from 12 games while Rajasthan, with 10 points from 11 games, seem to have found the momentum and are better-placed to go forward.

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