Win and you qualify for the playoffs – the scenario could not be easier for the Rajasthan Royals when they travel to Mohali to take on the Kings XI Punjab on Friday.
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The crucial match is scheduled for an 8 pm IST (3.30 pm BST, 10.30 am ET) start with live coverage on Sony Six, Sony Six HD (English) and Sony Max (Hindi) in India. The match can also be watched via live streaming online HERE or HERE. Viewers in the US can catch the game on Willow TV or with the live streaming option HERE, while Canada viewers can do the same HERE. Watch the match in the rest of the world HERE, HERE or through the GoCricket apps.
Viewers in the Middle East can watch the action on OSN with the live streaming option available HERE, while New Zealand viewers can do the same via Sky NZ or HERE or via the above rest of the world options. Viewers in the UK can catch the match on ITV, while Pakistan viewers can do the same on Geo Super, with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh audience able to watch the game on TV on Masaranga TV and Carlton Sports Network respectively.
Irrespective of what other teams do, all the Royals have to do is win one of their last two games, but with their final match against the desperate-to-make-the-playoffs Mumbai Indians, they will not want to leave it until the end.
The Royals' form has been indifferent over the last five matches, losing three and winning just two, with their latest defeat coming on Monday against MI in Ahmedabad, where six of their top seven batsmen failed to reach double figures.
Time to experiment and try out their bench strength – resting Ajinkya Rahane in the last game backfired – has gone. Then need to put out their strongest team and take back control of their own destiny. Not long ago the Royals looked capable of challenging KXIP and CSK for a top-two place, but suddenly, with KKR showing tremendous form, their top-four place has come into jeopardy.
"If you look at our team on paper, you would call us underdogs," RR mentor Rahul Dravid told IPL's official website. "I would if I looked at the paper and looked at some of the teams we have come up against, because we don't have those stars.
"But we don't mind the tag. It doesn't bother us anymore. We know every team is a good team and we have to perform. We don't think too far ahead. This competition is still open and we know we have to play very good cricket in the next couple of games and then look at the playoffs once we get there."
While there might be stronger teams on paper, RR are not as star-less as one might think, with skipper Shane Watson, one of the more destructive batsmen in T20 cricket, aided well by the likes of Rahane, Steven Smith and James Faulkner.
RR's batting is brilliantly long, with Faulkner usually coming in at No.8, while the Royals also have a few wily old-timers coupled with some exciting youngsters, namely Sanju Samson and Karun Nair.
That formula will need to work to perfection against the Kings XI Punjab on Friday, with the table-toppers desperate to bounce back after a comprehensive defeat at the hands of the Mumbai Indians on Wednesday.
The first home game for KXIP did not go too well, and the most exciting side in the IPL this season will be determined to seal top spot with two points on Friday. Realistically, though, KXIP are assured of top place having picked up 18 points from 12 matches, with CSK and KKR two points behind with one game to play each for the second and third-places sides.
Kings XI's net run rate is so high that there is little chance of any side catching up with them in that aspect, making them as good as assured of having at least a couple of cracks at making the IPL 2014 final.
However, keeping that winning momentum going is crucial heading into the playoffs, and KXIP will want to do exactly that by picking up two wins in their final two games.