Not too long ago, the Rajasthan Royals looked like they would finish at the top of the IPL 2015 table and ease through to the playoffs. That not-too-long-ago will seem like quite a fair while back for RR, who, after an alarming dip in form, find themselves scrapping for a place in the top-four, needing a victory in this winner-takes-all match at the Brabourne Stadium against Kolkata Knight Riders.
Only a point separates the two sides at the moment, with KKR lying third on 15 points, the same as second-placed RCB, and RR in sixth on 14 points. A win on Saturday, for either side, should be enough to ensure their place in the knockout stages, which only adds to the drama of this marquee match.
KKR could have ensured their playoff place with a win over the Mumbai Indians in the last game, a match they really should have won, but having somehow thrown that win away, they must now scrap it out with a desperate RR to keep their IPL 2015 season alive.
"It is good for the tournament that things are so tight on the points table," KKR all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan told IPL's official website after returning to the side following Bangladesh duty. "Obviously we wanted to win [against MI] and book a place in the playoffs but it didn't happen.
"We will try to improve in some areas, come back, and give our best shot."
The return of Shakib does lend more balance to the KKR team, but they will need to improve on their death bowling against RR, after conceding 72 runs in the final five overs against MI.
"We didn't bowl well in the death. We gave away about 70 runs in the last five overs," Shakib added. "The pitch was a good one to bat on and we should have chased that total down.
"We had a few batsmen who were set and scoring easily, but no one could stay there to finish the game. These are the areas we need to improve in."
The Brabourne pitch should also be a decent wicket to bat on, and the better batting team could decide the outcome on the night. While the chase against MI was unsuccessful, Gautam Gambhir is again likely to want to bowl first if he wins the toss, and it remains to be seen if Steve Smith feels the same as well.
Smith took over the captaincy duties from Shane Watson on the last game, after the latter relinquished the key role in order to concentrate on his bowling and batting. Smith started the season as captain for RR, leading them to four straight wins, before Watson returned from injury.
So, while the timing might not be the best, the Royals should have no problems in Smith as the skipper, and their fans will certainly hope he brings back the midas touch that has been missing in the second half of IPL 2015,
"Watto just thought he needed to focus more on his batting and bowling," RR all-rounder Chris Morris said. "It is a tough job to captain a T20 team, especially when you are bowling first and your mind is a bit all over the game.
"And then you come off and strap your batting pads on in 10 minutes. It becomes a bit of roller-coaster game. I doff my hat off to Watto for giving up the captaincy and taking more responsibility for his batting. It was a responsible thing to do. We all appreciate it as team men and move on from there."
Moving on has proved to be difficult for RR, since their five-match winning hangover to open the IPL 2015 season, but move on and pick up a win they must if they harbour hopes of playing more cricket in the next seven days.
Where to Watch Live
Get the Match Report and Highlights HERE
RR vs KKR IPL 2015 Match 54 is scheduled for an 8 pm IST (3.30 pm BST, 10.30 am ET) start. Sony Six (English), Sony Max (Hindi), Sony Pix (Telugu and Tamil) and Sony Aath (Bengali) will show the match live in India on television, while the online live streaming options are on Hotstar and Starsports online.
Audience in the US can watch the IPL 2015 game live on ESPN, with the match also online on ESPN Cricket.
Viewers across the world can watch RR vs KKR Live on Cricketgateway.