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.

Team News
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.

Probable Teams
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

 





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