New Delhi: Rajasthan Royals will once again be ready to guard their Sawai Mansingh Stadium fortress in Jaipur as the Highveld Lions from South Africa try to break the stronghold of Rahul Dravid & Co. in a Group A match of the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) on Wednesday.
Rajasthan added another win to their unbeaten home record during IPL6, when they defeated Mumbai Indians in the tournament opener on Saturday and will pose a tough challenge to HL who are short of match practice after their first match against Perth Scorchers was washed out at Ahmedabad on Monday.
Considering how the spot-fixing controversy has hounded the team, Rajasthan have done well to extend their winning streak at home to nine matches now and will like to consolidate their position in Group A with another win.
The team did most things right against Mumbai in a comprehensive seven-wicket win, thanks to a half-century by the 18-year-old Sanju Samson that complemented the three-wicket spell by Vikramjeet Malik.
Ajinkya Rahane gave good support to Samson before the job was finished by allrounders Shane Watson and Stuart Binny, which indicates that their batting unit is well oiled despite the failure of Dravid who made just one. Malik surprised Mumbai with his pace and control and led the bowling attack, which also has James Faulkner, Rahul Shukla and allrounders Watson, Kevon Cooper and Ashok Menaria.
With most blocks fitting nicely into the respective pegs, RR are unlikely to tinker with their eleven, though playing spinner Harmeet Singh could be a temptation.
The visitors had put in hard one-week practice to get ready for the tournament but were made to gather rust in Ahmedabad where rain followed the toss and didn't allow a single ball to be bowled.
They will be keen to get a full game under their belt after splitting points with Perth and will look up to their star performers to give them a winning start.
HL's batting relies on the seasoned campaigners Neil McKenzie and Alviro Petersen and the highly-rated young wicketkeeper batsman Quinton de Kock, while the success of the bowling unit will largely be in the hands of Pakistan pacer Sohail Tanvir, the experienced Lonwabo Tsotsobe and rookie legspinner Imran Tahir.
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Dravid (capt), Shane Watson, Sanju Samson (wk), Stuart Binny, Brad Hodge, Ashok Menaria, James Faulkner, Kevon Cooper, Vikramjeet Malik, Rahul Shukla
Lions: Quinton de Kock, Rassie van der Dussen, Hardus Viljoen, Alviro Petersen (capt), Temba Bavuma, Jean Symes, Dwaine Pretorius, Sohail Tanvir, Aaron Phangiso, Imran Tahir, Lonwabo Tsotsobe
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