Staying true to their 'Royal-ty', Rajasthan came close to winning their second IPL title last year before Hardik Pandya-led Gujarat Titans turned the 'Grand Finale' into no less than an anti-climax
Rajasthan Royals (Pic Courtesy: AP)
Staying true to their 'Royal-ty', Rajasthan came close to winning their second IPL title last year before Hardik Pandya-led Gujarat Titans turned the 'Grand Finale' into no less than an anti-climax. Rajasthan Royals will be itching to do one better with a more than decent set of match-winners at their disposal when the IPL 2023 kickstarts from March 31. Barring a few changes here and there and some injuries, RR has managed to keep its core team intact.
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RR's main strength lies in its star-studded batting line-up. The team's opening pair of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler looks threatening and most potent, and the 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 a eye-catching 396 runs with an average of around 80 in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, besides boasting of 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. Their 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, the spin department looks dangerous.
One can't undermine the role of an all-rounder in limited overs cricket and this one area the Royals could find itself short. In West Indian Jason Holder, the team has only one quality all-rounder but the likes South African Donovan Ferreira and domestic recruits Abdul Basith and Akash Vashisht are yet to be tested at this level. But 'Impact Player' rule could actually become a saving grace for Royals as it negates the role of an all-rounder in the set-up.
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Bowling, especially pace department is another area which could be a cause of concern for the Jaipur-based franchise. Barring star Kiwi bowler 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 pace is a concern, the spin attack is in safe hands of Ashwin, Chahal and Adam Zampa and is one of the best in the tournament.
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 an indelible mark and make their presence felt. Besides, it could also provide opportunities to Holder and Zampa as the duo will be desperately looking to stamp their authority with impactful performances for their side.
(With PTI inputs)