Rajasthan have bounced back from nowhere and at a time when no one thought they could match the other teams.
Ahmedabad: Turbo charged Rajasthan take on purring motor Chennai in what should be a lip-smacking clash in the day game of the double header on Super Sunday. Both the teams have witnessed contrasting fortunes in the last week and Chennai will hope that they can finally put one across to get their campaign back on track in this edition of the IPL.
Rajasthan have bounced back from nowhere and at a time when no one thought they could match the other teams. They still don't have Shane Watson and with injuries to Graeme Smith and Dmitri Mascarenhas, most would have written them off. But their never-say-die attitude has seen them script quite a comeback. Shane Warne continues to be an inspirational leader and the local lads have put on a spectacular show. After all, when you hit rock bottom, the only place to go is up.
Both teams have everything to play for on Sunday. Warne knows the importance of continuing the winning momentum. They have already reached number three in the points tally and would not under any circumstance want to squander the advantage. Yusuf Pathan has again begun to strike from the middle of the bat, while Michael Lumb, Naman Ojha and Abhishek Jhunjhunwala have played handy knocks. Rajasthan's biggest turnaround factor though has been their innovative bowling and spot on fielding. They've caught the catches and not missed the throws at the stumps.
Their bowling has also got a much needed fillip with Shaun Tait back in his rhthym and Sidharth Trivedi and Yusuf Pathan bowling tight overs. Warne knows that he needs to hold on for another week, when Watson will join them after the Test series against New Zealand. Rajasthan suddenly again seem the team from the first edition.
And talking of the first edition takes us back to the final where Chennai ended up on the losing side. They would surely want to return the favour and put their campaign back on track. Losing tight games certainly hasn't helped their cause. And while much is expected from Matthew Hayden and his mongoose bat, one success in six games means the bat is certainly not one to be feared of.
Hayden's failure with the mongoose bat in the super over against Punjab also means that he has a couple of demons to get rid off. Will he chance this bat again on Sunday or will he go for the time-tested regular bat? This is a question he must think an answer off as a lot depends on him and the start he provides.
Chennai's weakest link though continues to be their bowling. Barring Muttiah Muralitharan, none of the others have been able to impress. Albie Morkel and L Balaji have performed in patches and both R Ashwin and Shadab Jakati have failed to tighten the screws on the opposition.
Rajasthan definitely have the edge and have their engines revved up. Chennai will have to drive hard to catch up and make their mark.