The Roller Coaster Ride: Rajasthan Royals (RR) Mid-Season Review

Amidst much pomp and show, Rajasthan Royals had emerged as the champions of IPL 2008. Fast forward to the midway of IPL 2020, they are struggling to breathe at 7th. They have won only 3 matches out of 7 and hold the lowest NRR (-0.872) of all teams currently. In short, they have more negatives than positives and in this article, we will discuss their journey till now.

Batting

Opening:

In just 7 matches, Rajasthan Royals have tried 4 different opening combinations. Four players have been tried as openers till now- Jos Butler, Steven Smith, Yashasvi Jaiswal, and Ben Stokes. Here are the scores at which the first wicket has fallen:-

  • Against CSK- 11 runs (2.2 overs)
  • Against KXIP- 19 runs (2.2 overs)
  • Against KKR- 15 runs (1.6 overs)
  • Against RCB- 27 runs (2.4 overs)
  • Against MI- 0 run (0.2 overs)
  • Against DC- 15 runs (2.3 overs)
  • Against SRH- 7 runs (1.2 overs)

Steven Smith (Twitter/rajasthanroyals)

Despite trying out four opening combinations, the best start they have got is when the duo lasted for 16 balls against RCB. All four of them have been inconsistent individually too. If RR needs to have any chance at the trophy, then they need their opening duo to fire.

It is a question mark that when they have Robin Uthappa, who has a bucket load of experience as an opener then why are they bringing him to lower down the order?

Middle Order:

The middle order of RR has been chaotic too.

Let’s start with Sanju Samson. He started the season with a bang as he scored 70+ twice in a row. After that his formed started to dip as he got out in single digits in the next four matches. There is no question mark on his potential but he needs to be more consistent with the willow.

Tewatia celebrating after win against SRH (Twitter/rahultewatia02)

Robin Uthappa has practically been non-existent. He has failed to cross 18 runs and it would be no surprise if he is dropped in the future. Rahul Tewatia has been the shining star for RR. When RR was all but lost, he stepped up superbly both against KXIP and RR. In a star-studded lineup, he has emerged as a match-winner and RR would hope that he continues his brilliant form. Riyan Parag was out of touch initially but he showed the world what he is capable of against SRH.

Parag dancing after winning against SRH (Twitter/rajasthanroyals)

The main problem for RR has been the sheer inconsistency of their players. Be it Steven Smith or Sanju Samson or Riyan Parag, almost none of them have been consistent with the bat. Had it not been for individual brilliance in two matches, they might’ve won just one match off 7.

Bowling

Pace Bowling:

Jofra Archer’s shoulders would be sore now after carrying RR’s bowling for so long. He has been the go-to man for RR whenever they have needed wickets or to put a leash on the flow of runs. He has 9 wickets in 7 games that too with a brilliant economy of 6.82. Had it not been for Archer, RR’s bowling would have been fragile.

Jofra Archer against MI (Twitter/rajasthanroyals)

The issue has been that Archer hasn’t found a worthy partner. Lately, Kartik Tyagi has shown some promise but he has been expensive with an economy of 9.09. Tom Curran too was ineffective as a wicket-taker and has an eye-popping economy of 11.44. Unadkat failed to replicate his Ranji heroics whatsoever. He has just 2 wickets in 5 games with an economy of 9.37 while Ankit Rajpoot has a 10+ economy too. Phew.

Spin Bowling:

The spin bowling department has Shreyas Gopal and Rahul Tewatia. Till now they have been below mediocre.

Shreyas Gopal in action (Twitter/rajasthanroyals)

Rahul Tewatia has 5 wickets in 7 games with an economy of 7.90. Shreyas Gopal lags behind with 4 wickets in 7 games. Shreyas hasn’t been able to stop the flow of runs too as he has an economy of 9.00. So to say the least, the spin bowling department hasn’t contributed much.

Overall

To sum up, most of the things which could be wrong, are going wrong for RR. Batsmen are inconsistent with no clarity whereas the bowling has been the story of one player carrying them.

They are in chaos. They have nearly always come up with a playing 11 that is different from their last match. They have made numerous changes be it in inclusion or exclusion of David Miller, Ankit Rajpoot, Mahipal Lomror, Kartik Tyagi, Andrew Tye and Yashasvi Jaiswal. There is very little clarity and stability.

Aakash Chopra had earlier predicted that RR will finish last and unfortunately, it does seem very likely that it will happen. They need to group together and bounce back if they want to bring back the IPL glory.

Featured Image: Twitter/rajasthanroyals

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