The scenario for Rajasthan ahead of their penultimate match of IPL 5 against Deccan Chargers in Hyderabad is: lose and you will exit, win and stay alive. But even victory over the ousted Deccan on Friday – and against Mumbai Indians on Sunday - will not secure Rajasthan a place in the playoffs; they will have to rely on Kings XI Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore losing their remaining matches. The visitors have 14 points from 14 games and mildly put, they cannot afford a loss.
Rajasthan had a commendable start to the tournament, winning their first two games, but they failed to continue with the winning momentum. Ajinkya Rahane has been the find of the tournament and the Rajasthan opener is the highest run-getter for his team with 541, and third overall in IPL 5. He has been well supported by his captain Rahul Dravid who has 418 runs, but of some concern is that Rajasthan's batting revolves around these two openers. Whenever Rahane and Dravid have departed early, the batting line-up has collapsed.
Shane Watson could have been handy in both departments but his late arrival hampered the team's progress. The Australian allrounder had a good show in their last game against Pune Warriors India, blasting a quick 58 off just 31 balls and also grabbing 2 for wickets for 19. Rajasthan's march in the tournament was also greatly cramped when Kevon Cooper, a surprise package with the ball and bat, was forced home early in the competition due to an injury.
A victory does not guarantee them a place in the IPL 5 playoffs; they'll have to rely on other results to see where they finish.
Deccan, meanwhile, are simply performing their last rites in IPL 5. Though they have lost most of their games, they fought well on many occasions and that is the reason why Rajasthan cannot take them lightly. With the likes of Kumar Sangakkara, Dale Steyn, Shikhar Dhawan and Cameron White, they have the potential to beat Dravid's men. Dhawan has 538 runs from 13 innings and has been a consistent performer while aother player to watch out for will be Steyn who has everything when he bowls - pace, swing, bounce and seam. Deccan will be hoping to win this game in front of their home fans and end their IPL 5 journey on a good note.
The last time these two teams met, Rajasthan successfully chased a huge target of 197 in Jaipur and delivered a win. Rajasthan will be once again hoping for a win to keep their hopes alive for the playoff stage, and then count on some good fortune which could lift them to the next stage.
Deccan Chargers:1 Parthiv Patel (wk), 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (capt), 4 Cameron White, 5 Daniel Christian, 6 Abhishek Jhunjunwala, 7 Akshath Reddy, 8 Dale Steyn, 9 Amit Mishra, 10 Manpreet Gony, 11 Veer Pratap Singh
Rajasthan Royals: 1 Rahul Dravid (capt), 2 Ajinkya Rahane, 3 Shane Watson, 4 Brad Hodge, 5.Ashok Menaria, 6 Stuart Binny, 7 Johan Botha, 8 Shreevats Goswami (wk), 9 Ajit Chandila, 10 Siddharth Trivedi, 11 Shaun Tait