IPL 2023: Opening pair, spinners hold key for Rajasthan Royals
They came close to winning their second IPL title last year before Gujarat Titans turned the ‘Grand Finale’ into some sort of an anti-climax and Rajasthan Royals team will be itching to do one better with a more than a decent set of match-winners at its disposal.
Barring a few changes here and there and some injuries, RR has managed to keep its core team intact.
RR’s main strength lies in its batting line-up.
The team’s opening pair of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler looks threatening and most potent, and all other sides in the tournament would be wary of the duo.
While England T20 skipper Buttler has been consistent in the run-up to the 2023 season, it is Jaiswal, who is in ominous form.
Jaiswal scored an eye-catching 396 runs with an average of around 80 in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, besides boasting a terrific strike rate of 141.48 in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, where he piled up 266 runs.
The left-hander also struck a hundred for India A against Bangladesh A.
RR’s middle order will be led by Joe Root and mercurial skipper Sanju Samson with Devdutt Padikkal, Shimron Hetmyer, and the talented Riyan Parag for company.
With the experienced Indian duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal and Australian Adam Zampa up their ranks, RR’s spin department looks potent.
The role of an all-rounder is of immense value in limited overs cricket and this one area RR could find itself short.
In West Indian Jason Holder, the team has only one quality all-rounder but the likes of South African Donovan Ferreira and domestic recruits Abdul Basith and Akash Vashisht are yet to be tested at this level.
But the ‘Impact Player’ rule could actually become a saving grace for the Royals as it negates the role of an all-rounder in the set-up.
Bowling, especially the pace department is another area that could be a cause of concern for the Jaipur-based franchise.
Barring Trent Boult, the pace attack looks ordinary.
The absence of Prasidh Krishna, who has been ruled out of the entire IPL due to a back stress fracture, has made things worse for RR.
The onus would be on Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Sen, and West Indian Obed McCoy to deliver for the side.
If the pace is a concern, the spin attack is in the safe hands of Ashwin, Chahal, and Adam Zampa and is one of the best in the tournament.
With the pace department looking thin, the upcoming season could be a big opportunity for the likes of Saini, Sen, KM Asif, and Delhi’s left-arm fast bowler Kuldip Yadav to make a mark and make their presence felt.
Besides, the upcoming season is expected to provide opportunities to Holder and Zampa and the duo will be desperately looking to stamp their authority with impactful performances for their franchise in the tournament.
Going by past records, the tournament has not been a very happy hunting ground for RR as they have a history of failures.
After winning the inaugural title way back in 2008 under late Shane Warne’s leadership, it has been a case of disappointments for the Jaipur-based side till last year, where they finished runners-up.
RR entered the playoffs only three times in the history of the tournament, and has also encountered the ignominy of suspension for two years.
But come this edition, the Kumar Sangakkara-coached side would look to pull all their resources together and dish out a consistent performance to end on the right side of things.
“Get more sports news, cricket news and football updates, log on to sportslounge.co.in. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter and Subscribe to YouTube Channel.”