Pune Warriors host 2008 champions Rajasthan Royals at the Subrata Roy Stadium, in the second of two Indian Premier League ties for Thursday. The home team will be eager to recover from a heavy eight wicket defeat to the Kings XI Punjab in their last game. Meanwhile, the Royals are on a high, with two wins from their first two games. the second of which was a 19 run defeat of defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders on Monday.
Where to Watch Live
Play is scheduled to start at 3.30pm BST. Live coverage is on ITV 4. Follow the game live, via text commentary, on ESPN Cricinfo. You can watch highlights of the match here.
The Warriors have had a woeful start to the 2013 Indian Premier League (IPL), with two defeats from the first two games. They opened the campaign with a 22 run defeat to IPL debutants Sunrisers Hyderabad and Sunday's crushing loss cannot have helped morale within the dressing room.
Pune were restricted to 99/9 against Sunrisers and bundled out for 104 in the earlier game, suggesting their batting line-up has work to do, in order to ensure competitive totals for their bowlers.
They do have heavy hitters in the squad and it is likely only a matter of time before one of Robin Uthappa, Marlon Samuels, Manish Pandey, Mitchell Marsh, Ross Taylor or the captain, Angelo Mathews fires. They also have India senior all-rounder Yuvraj Singh, who returns to the squad, after a back problem.
The Royals, meanwhile, are enjoying a fantastic start to the IPL season. They've already played two of the more high-profile teams in the tournament - Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and emerged victorious on both occasions.
Captain Rahul Dravid led his side to a narrow five run win at Delhi and the retired Indian legend led the way with 65 runs from 51 balls. A strong contribution from Stuart Binny (40) gave the visitors 165/7 and despite a challenging 77 off 56 balls from David Warner, the Daredevils fell short. West Indian Kevin Cooper was the hero with 3/30.
Dravid and co then produced another superb performance in the field to bowl KKR for 125, in pursuit of 145, in the second match. Cooper was once again a key performer, picking up 3/15 this time.
- Last Five (most recent first): L L
- Last Match: Pune Warriors lost to Kings XI Punjab by eight wickets
- Last Five (most recent first): W W
- Last Match: Rajasthan Royals beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 19 runs
Pune Warriors: Yuvraj Singh returns for the Warriors and that will be a big boost. However, there is bad news too. West Indian all-rounder Marlon Samuels has a groin problem and will not play this game. There are options though - Pune can choose between Australian Steven Smith and England's Luke Wright. Coach Allan Donald, however, will likely put his faith in big-hitting Australian batsman Aaron Finch, in order to boost the batting department.
Rajasthan Royals: The high-flying Royals have no major injury problems and will likely rely on Cooper to continue his heroics with the ball. They also have his compatriot Samuel Badree, who, incidentally, has the lowest economy rate of any bowler in Twenty20s: a stunning 4.90 from 61 matches. Expect Dravid, Binny and the Australian duo of Shane Watson and Brad Hodge to have key roles to play with the bat.