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IPL 2021: Royals face acid test against red-hot RCB today

Ayaz Memon/Mumbai
Filed on April 21, 2021
Sanju Samson and Kumar Sangakkara are discussing a strategy. — IPL

Thursday’s match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore could be a good starting point for reorienting effort


The Rajasthan Royals have been swimming against the current this season, off and on the field. Jofra Archer, spearhead of the bowling attack, has not yet arrived for the tournament because of an injury to his hand. He might miss the entire season.

Champion all-rounder Ben Stokes played just one match, broke a finger, and is out for the season. With the tournament just over 10 days old, Liam Livingstone has decided to return home because of bio-bubble fatigue.

And if these developments were not enough to raise concern, the team’s performance on the field has been disappointing too, leading to inconsistent results.

For instance, after pulling off a fantastic win against the Delhi Capitals through the majestic batting of David Miller and pyrotechnics of Chris Morris, the team crashed to a massive 45 runs defeat against the Chennai Super Kings.

It’s not the defeat that disappointed the fans, but the team’s batting capitulation was simply appalling. The bowling lacked control too.

But their biggest disappointment has been skipper Sanju Samson. After the brilliant hundred in the first match, Samson has failed to make an impact as a batsman and leader.

Consequently, the Rajasthan Royals find themselves placed third from the bottom when they could well have been third or even second from the top.

One can’t be overly critical of a young side which have had so many hurdles thrown in their path. But there is a case for Team Director Kumar Sangakkara and captain Samson to demand regimented effort, because the team still posses a lot of talent.

Thursday’s match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore could be a good starting point for reorienting effort. This is their fourth match at the Wankhede Stadium and RCB’s first. Familiarity with conditions is always an advantage – but only up to a point. Let’s not forget that the Royals have lost two of the three matches they’ve played at this venue.

On the face of it, the Royals start with a handicap. The RCB are current table toppers, with almost all key players in terrific form, especially the overseas stars Glenn Maxwell, AB de Villiers and Kyle Jamieson.

Unlike the previous season, RCB are reaping benefit from both batting and bowling departments.

Maxwell seems unburdened from pressures of expectations and is enjoying his best season in almost a decade. The legend of De Villiers has got a new dimension from the way he’s been batting, despite being out of action for almost six months before this tournament began.

Jamieson is exhibiting the kind of skills that make him among the most exciting all-rounders in the game.

Because of the success of these players, Virat Kohli, whose batting form has been sound, looks far more assured as a captain too.

If there is an area of concern, it is the form of spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar. They have yet to hit their top gear. Both these bowlers are crucial for the RCB to sustain the current momentum in quest of a maiden title.

Players to Watch Out For

RCB

Glenn Maxwell, AB de Villiers, Kyle Jamieson

RR

Chetan Sakariya, Jos Buttler, Chris Morris





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