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Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai

Preview: Match 9 - Rajasthan Royals vs Highveld Lions

Top-placed Royals to defend Jaipur fortress against Lions in Group A thriller

What

Match 9 of the Karbonn Smart CLT20 2013 features the Rajasthan Royals taking on the Highveld Lions. The Rajasthan Royals are sitting pretty on top of Group A with four points, courtesy their win over the Mumbai Indians in the opening game. The Lions meanwhile are tied on two points with the remaining four teams after their match against the Perth Scorchers was washed out by rains.

The Royals were clinical when they hosted the Mumbai Indians last weekend. They restricted a star-studded and a very formidable MI line-up to a modest 142 and then chased down the runs without too much trouble.

When

Wednesday, September 25, 2013, 8 pm IST

Where

Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur


The Protagonists

Though the Rajasthan Royals have several players who have done well for them in recent times, the one genuine match-winner in their ranks is Shane Watson. The Australian is capable of blowing away opponents single-handedly and he will be expected to do the damage. At the top of the order, the Royals will need skipper Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane to lay the platform, so the likes of Watson and Brad Hodge can power their way in the middle and latter parts of the innings.

James Faulkner will be expected to give the team early breakthroughs – just like he did in the IPL and finished the team’s leading wicket-taker. Vikramjeet Malik was impressive in the match against MI, and one should expect him carry a lot of confidence from that performance into this match.

Quinton de Kock, Neil McKenzie and Alviro Petersen will be the central characters in the Lions batting plans. The 20-year-old de Kock, rated very highly in South African cricket circles, did not have a great IPL season; he will be hoping to set the record straight by performing against a quality opposition.

Among the bowlers, the two left-arm seamers – Sohail Tanvir and Lonwabo Tsotsobe – promise to be more than a handful. On a surface that has assisted quicks in recent times, Tanvir’s awkward action coupled with his ability to get the ball to skid through, and Tsotsobe’s ability to generate lift off the track, will present a challenge for the Royals batsmen.

Trivia

The Rajasthan Royals have won 25 of their 34 matches at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. In comparison, while playing outside Jaipur, they’ve won 25 and lost 32 of their 57 matches.

Sohail Tanvir will have fond memories of playing at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium. It was at this venue that he took 6/14 for the Rajasthan Royals – the best bowling figures in the IPL – in his maiden stint in the tournament. In 11 matches in the 2008 season, the left-armer picked up 22 wickets at an incredible strike-rate of a wicket every 11 deliveries.

What Next

The Rajasthan Royals will be seen in action next on September 29 when they host the Perth Scorchers. The Highveld Lions meanwhile travel to Ahmedabad to take on the mighty Mumbai Indians on September 27.

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