2:00 PM GMT
7:30 PM LOCAL
Preview by Prakash Govindasreenivasan
“We’ve found ways to win,” quipped David Miller in the press conference on Thursday (May 4) while talking about managing the expectations that come with being the defending champions. Those five words perhaps sum up their title run of last season when nobody gave them a chance of starting life in the IPL with glory. This year too stars have aligned for them as they sit atop the points table despite arriving in Jaipur on the back of a botched up chase. A win will give them a three-point lead at the top – gold dust in a season like this that will keep them away from having to partake in a five or even six-way fight for the playoffs.
Rajasthan Royals, who have already beaten GT once this season, have the chance to usurp them to the top spot, adding to the narrative of arguably the most competitive season of IPL. To put it in context, RR’s win will take them to the top but only two points will separate them and PBKS at sixth.
What also adds spice to Friday’s fixture is the fact that these are two smartly-built squads that didn’t just fight it out for the title last season but also began seamlessly this year – four wins in first five for RR; three in five for GT. Along the way, imperfections in both their squads have been exposed, that they can each exploit in Jaipur. RR have shown a tendency to slow down in the middle-overs, where GT can get aggressive from both ends with the spin of Rashid Khan and Noor Ahmed. GT’s issues are more on an individual level, Saha’s effectiveness in the PowerPlay dipping and Hardik Pandya’s batting stocks being at an all-time low.