The stakes could not get any bigger than this, Otago are on a 15 match winning streak and the Royals are unbeaten at home this entire year (including IPL). Well, one of the winning streaks is going to end at the end of 40 overs, as only 1 team can emerge victorious. This is probably the clash of the Giants, the strongest team from New Zealand up against a team which plays like champions at home.
Both teams have some class players, awesome batsmen, wicket taking bowlers and some of the best all-rounders in the shorter version of the game. It’s the clash of the captains, one who is arguably the best technically skilled player in the world and the other who is like a bomb in the t20 version, who can explode and wreck havoc. The one department where Otago would struggle to match up with the Royals is the spin department. Nathan and Beard against Tambe is really just a 1 sided game all together.
Rajasthan Royals have a strong and balanced team in all 3 departments. To add to that, they also have a very good opening combination in Rahane and Dravid, but Dravid has not been among the runs lately. Dravid needs to be a little solid, and stay on the wicket for a bit longer. However, where Dravid has not been consistent, Samson has been on the top of his game. In Samson, Watson, Binny and Hodge, the Royals have a solid middle order and to break that open, it would take a hell lot.
Unbeaten in the last 14 games, Otago have a pretty solid team. If it’s not Mccullum’s day, the other guys step up. The team is so good because everyday one or the other guys steps up like Neesham did in the last game. If one of the top 6 could step up tomorrow, it is their game to win. Nathan Mccullum and Nick Beard have a big role to play, and much will depend on their performance.
Rajasthan Royals: Rahul Dravid (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson (wk), Shane Watson, Stuart Binny, Brad Hodge, Ashok Menaria, James Faulkner, Kevon Cooper, Vikramjeet Malik, Pravin Tambe
X-Factor: If you ever want to see a 41 year old making the youngsters dance, turn on your TV to watch Otago vs Royals. Pravin Tambe is one excellent leg spinner, and with his experience he is the biggest asset that the Royals have. He can turn the ball and pick wickets regularly, which is always a plus for the team. A good spinner is exactly what Otago are missing, and the Royals have a class act in Tambe. If he can get a couple of wickets, he has done an excellent job for his captain, and put his team in a really good position.
Otago: Neil Broom, Hamish Rutherford, Brendon Mccullum (c), Derek de Boorder (wk), Ryan Ten Doeschate, James Neesham, Nathan Mccullum, Ian Butler, Neil Wagner, Nick Beard, James Mcmillan
X-Factor: Brendon Mccullum has had a wayward tournament. He has performed well in 2 matches, but has failed miserably in the other 3. He needs to be more consistent, and if he can do that for the team, Otago would benefit very much. He is definitely the best batsman in the team and being the most experienced player in the team, Mccullum is the guy who can play spin very well. He can turn the game on its head and that is what Otago are expecting from him in very important game against Rajasthan.
Expected Result: Royals win
There could not be a more 1 sided game predicted than one of the strongest teams in the competition, Royals up against one of the weakest teams in the competition, Scorchers. On top of that, the match is being played at Jaipur, which is a fortress for the Royals and they have been unbeaten here since a while.
The Royals have the perfect team, filled with both experience and youth. They also have 3 really good all-rounder in Watson, Binny and Faulkner who add to the strength of the team. On the other hand, the Scorchers have been hit by so many injuries that their team is full of youngsters, with the exception of Voges and Katich. They do have some good youngsters, but they just don’t seem good enough for them to make sure they progress in this competition.
The Royals have a pretty strong team, in both the batting department and their bowling looks fresh and strong too. They bat pretty deep till number 9, and also have 7 bowlers who can roll their arm over and that ensures Dravid has enough options throughout the match. The team can do very well with the experience of Dravid, Watson and Tambe, and the youth of Samson, Faulkner, Menaria and Binny. As a unit, particularly when the Royals play in Jaipur, they seem unbeatable and that is a big worry for the Scorchers.
The Perth Scorchers were blown away by the Volts in the last game, and not much is expected out of them this time around either. Cricket is a funny game and surprises do occur, but this one seems unlikely given the fact that the Scorchers are shot of experienced bowlers. If Voges or Katich can step in they might have a slim chance, and they have to capitalize on every small opportunity that the Royals present to them.
Rajasthan Royals: Rahul Dravid (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson (wk), Shane Watson, Stuart Binny, Brad Hodge, Ashok Menaria, James Faulkner, Kevon Cooper, Vikramjeet Malik, Pravin Tambe.
X-Factor: James Faulkner is one of the best young bowlers in the shortest format of the game. He is a regular wicket taker and at the same time economical at the same time. Faulkner is the go-to man for the captain and whenever he feels the team is in trouble he is the one who would be given the ball. Faulkner is also someone who can bat towards the end of an innings and if needed provide the punch needed to knock out the opposition. He is a class player, and certainly one for the future for both the Royals and Australia.
Scorchers: Liam Davis, Ashton Agar, Simon Katich (c), Adam Voges, Hilton Catwright, Ashton Turner, Tom Triffitt (wk), Joel Paris, Jason Behrendorff, Burt Cockley, Michael Beer
X-Factor: Adam Voges is the only established international cricketer, apart from Katich, in this line up. He is the mainstay of the batting line up and might also have to roll his arm over to get a few breakthroughs. He not only has to play well, but has to share his experience and motivate the others in his team to make sure they perform well as an entire unit.
Expected Result: Royals win easily
Finalllyyyyy, a match involving 2 IPL teams after one between MI and RR just took place a while back. This is match is definitely going to be a crowd puller given that the Indian crowd mostly shows up just to see their stars play. It’s the battle of the D’s, the cool Dhoni vs the flamboyant Dhawan.
Both teams are coming off great wins, and would want to continue that winning momentum with them. The Sunrisers are coming off a win on the back of Thisara Perera’s brilliant hitting, whereas the Super Kings won their last game on the back of a brilliant all-round batting performance. This is definitely a mouthwatering contest, and it is to be seen as to who will come on top. Super Kings would have the home advantage given that the match is being played in Dhoni’s backyard, Ranchi and there will be no surprises as to whom does the crowd want to see as the winners.
Could there be a more balanced team than the Chennai Super Kings? This team is as strong as any top class national team with there being so many big names in their lineup. The ever consistent Hussey, an awesome t20 player Raina and 2 brilliant allrounders in the shorter version Jadeja and Bravo are just a few out of the main 11. The best part about CSK is that if today is not Raina’s day, then Hussey or Vijay step in, and if it is not Dhoni’s day then Jadeja or Badrinath step in and get the job done for the team. The play as a unit, and it is going to take a hell lot to beat them on a flat track.
The Sunrisers always seem to be short on batsmen, particularly since their Indian batsmen have not stepped in as yet. Vihari and Reddy both have not played a good knock yet and that may worry the captain just a little bit. That being said, they have 2 brilliant all-rounders who perform consistently. In Perera, Steyn and Dhawan they have 3 of the best match winners a team could ever demand. Should they play as a team, they certainly can win this game.
Super Kings: Murali Vijay, Michael Hussey, Suresh Raina, Subramaniam Badrinath, Mahendra Dhoni (c)(wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Chris Morris, Mohit Sharma, Ravi Ashwin, Jason Holder
X-Factor: Murali Vijay would be a bit nervous as he got out for a duck in the previous game, and with his rival openers Sehwag getting match practice for India A, he would want to put in a good performance to book his place on the flight to South Africa. Here is his chance to face off against Dale Steyn on a Ranchi pitch rather than a pitch in Cape Town, and he can get his confidence high if he plays Steyn well. He is also the quicker of the 2 openers in terms of strike rates, given that Hussey’s role is to act as an anchor throughout the innings.
Sunrisers: Shikhar Dhawan (c), Parthiv patel (wk), Hanuma Vihari, JP Duminy, Darren Sammy, Thisara Perera, Karan Sharma, Ashish Reddy, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Dale Steyn
X-Factor: Amit Mishra has never been the 1st choice bowler for India even though he performs regularly and consistently. This sheer ignorance is intolerable but well, he has taken it in a positive way and is constantly putting in brilliant performances for the Sunrisers. Tomorrow is a big game against a strong batting line up and if he can perform against the national team captain, he might be in with an outside chance of making the trip to South Africa later in November. The CSK team has a couple of left handers in their line up, and it would be interesting to see Mishra bowl against them if given a chance.
Expected Result: Super Kings Win