Rajasthan Royals (RR) have been perennial underachievers in the Indian Premier League (IPL) since the inaguaral edition despite the fact that they have always boasted of world-class talent. Last time around, they had an excellent start to their season but lost form pretty quickly. As a result they had to be content with a eighth place finish.
This time around, at the auction,RR were pretty active. Beforehand, they released a huge chunk of their squad and chose to rebuild despite the fact that the mega-auction is just one more year away. They went for some big money buys and their squad now looks stacked. Yet the Rajasthan Royals look short on the fast bolwers department especially in Jofra Archer‘s absence.
We predict the playing XI RR could go with in the upcoming edition.
Openers: Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler
The Royals have an abundance of options for the opening slot. The English duo of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler will be the front runners for the slot given the destructive power they possess. The last season saw RR struggle due to inconsistency of their batting order and it is something they will look to address.
Both Stokes and Buttler have opened for the franchise in the last season and were successful in the role. So the team will be expecting some more fireworks from the duo in the brand new season. Barring them, the likes of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Liam Livingstone are in the dug out. Livingstone’s impressive outings in the ODI series makes up a good option for the spot.
Middle Order: Sanju Samson, Shivam Dube, Riyan Parag
The Rajasthan Royals middle-order is studded with some great hitters of the white ball. With captain Sanju Samson leading the charge, the likes of Shivam Dube and Riyan Parag provide the much-needed firepower down the order. After a disappointing season in UAE, Samson will have to step up his game if he wants to lead by example and succeed in his maiden season as a skipper.
The Royals boast of some exciting prospects on the bench in Protea star David Miller, Manan Vohra and Mahipal Lomror. Given the bench strength, the RR middle order looks all but sorted. It will be interesting to see how the young guns perform when their turn comes in the middle.
All Rounders: Chris Morris, Rahul Tewatia
Chris Morris, the costliest buy in the history of the league, will definitely be making it to the line up. With Archer set to miss the better part of the league, the South African will be leading the bowling attack. Along with him, last season’s breakout star Rahul Tewatia makes up the lower order of the Royals.
Tewatia was undoubtedly the find of the season for Rajasthan in IPL 2020. He contributed with both bat and ball as he earned his maiden national call up. The season will be tricky for the Royals with essentially no back up for the duo. Given Morris’ fitness issue, it will be interesting to see how he fairs this season.
Bowlers: Shreyas Gopal, Chetan Sakariya, Mustafizur Rahman, Kartik Tyagi
In the absence of Archer, the pace bowling department of the Royals will have their work cut out this season. A side that boats numerous left-arm quicks, Bangladesh star Mustafizur Rahman and young gun Chetan Sakariya seem to be the front runners for a spot in the XI. Given his fairly impressive outing last season, Kartik Tyagi might also get a chance in the XI as the only right-arm pacer.
In the spin department, Shreyas Gopal is expected to start over Mayank Markande. Talking of back ups, the likes of Jaydev Unadkat, KC Cariappa and Andrew Tye are available. But the franchise will definitely miss Archer’s express pace that troubled many a batters last season.
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