IPL 2022: Rajasthan Royals should avoid the cavalier approach

Sanju Samson's side take on KL Rahul's Lucknow Super Giants in Mumbai

Sanju Samson captain of Rajasthan Royals. — BCCI
Sanju Samson captain of Rajasthan Royals. — BCCI

By Ayaz Memon

Published: Sat 9 Apr 2022, 11:43 PM

Last updated: Sat 9 Apr 2022, 11:46 PM

Rajasthan Royals were leading the points table and pretty much also looking the leading team in the tournament, rich in talent and ambition, till they ran into Royal Challengers Bangalore, or more specifically, Dinesh Karthik last week.

The veteran wicketkeeper-batsman has a penchant for pulling off the improbable in T20 cricket and showed this once again, carting RR’s bowlers all over the park, in the company of young Shahbaz Ahmed, in a sensational partnership. The two not only fetched RCB two valuable points, but also showed up some chinks in RR’s capacity to defend modest scores on batting pitches.

Once the inspired Karthik cut loose, there was no stopping him. He played pace and spin with equal aplomb to turn the tables on RR. Mind you, Rajasthan’s bowling attack features Trent Boult, Prasidh Krishna, R Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal, making it among the best bowling combinations this season. But the bowlers lapsed in length and line and Karthik cut, swept, reverse-swept, and hooked his way to a scintillating unbeaten 44.

RR can ill afford such loose bowling against Lucknow Super Giants, who have been perhaps the steadiest team so far in the tournament, winning three matches on the trot after losing their first of the tournament.

Among the two new teams added to the IPL along with Gujarat Titans, LSG have depth of talent and balance in the team, but even more important, strong temperament and sound strategy.

These were the attributes that saw them beat Delhi Capitals in the previous game. The bowling withstood Prithvi Shaw’s early onslaught with discipline and control to restrict DC to 149. While the target was modest, LSG batsmen eschewed pointless risk, approached the task without false bravado or playing to the gallery, which has sometimes been RR’s bane. Two points is what LSG wanted, and they got these with a clinical performance.

A fully loaded top order featuring Quinton de Kock, KL Rahul, Evin Lewis, Manish Pandey, Ayush Badoni and Deepak Hooda, followed by all-rounder Krunal Pandya (and Marcus Stoinis is in the squad too) would take some stopping. LSG’s bowling is formidable too, pacers in Andrew Tye and Avesh Khan, and spinners Pandya an leg spinner Ravi Bishnoi — all white-ball specialists — being in the frontline of the attack.

Highlighting LSG’s so many strengths does not mean it will be an easy passage to victory for them.

Any team playing Rajasthan knows the havoc their top order, with Jos Buttler (the only centurion so far this season), and skipper Sanju Samson, also in extremely good form, can wreak on any attack.

If anything, on paper, Rajasthan’s batting appears to have more flair. This is where Samson has to ensure that his batters don’t get ahead of themselves in the match.

They need not compromise on natural aggression, but must aim to provide enough runs for their bowlers to defend even against a strong LSG side. They must play to win rather than just please fans.

Ayaz Memon is an Indian sports writer and commentator

Players To Watch Out For:

LSG: Quinton de Kock, Ravi Bishnoi, Krunal Pandya

RR: Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson, Trent Boult

X Factor: Yuzvendra Chahal

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