Rajasthan Royals succumbed to yet another disappointing loss — their sixth in eight games — to remain in 7th place on the points table after the game against Kings XI Punjab in Mohali on Tuesday. Royals Coach Paddy Upton felt that both the Ashwins — Ravichandran and Murugan — kept a stranglehold over the visitors in the second-half of their reply.
Chasing 183 to win, the Royals fell 12 short despite a fine cameo by all-rounder Stuart Binny. “From the 14th over I think the two Ashwins bowled really nicely. Obviously experience on the field mattered a lot, I think they set really nice fields to us. Although the batsmen did attack, they just either didn't get or find the gaps and we didn't find the boundaries. So that’s probably the place where the advantage swung from us back into Kings XI favour,” Upton said after the loss.
The Royals managed to keep Kings XI in check for the first 10 overs of the innings with opener KL Rahul finding it tough to get boundaries. But some poor bowling towards the end cost them eventually.
“I am comfortable with a lot of the plans and the executions by the bowlers but there were a few errors. We got into the wrong areas. Probably we gave away five boundaries more than what we should have. They were little bit of freebies rather than actually making the batsman really work for them. It was a 160-170-par wicket,” Upton felt.
The pick of the Royals bowlers was Englishman Jofra Archer, who claimed 3/15 from his four overs. “He (Archer) is a highly skilled bowler. It is amazing how he is able to structure his six balls — what balls to bowl at what time. He has been outstanding throughout the tournament and it’s just a pity that we haven’t been able to rally around him at the right time,” Upton said about Archer.
Archer’s fine form also poses another conundrum for the Rajasthan franchise, who might lose their strike bowler if he is selected for the England World Cup squad on Wednesday night. English players like Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes and Australian Steve Smith will be returning home early to prepare for the World Cup.
“We did know that we are going to be losing players so we have picked accordingly. We have got nice replacements in Oshane Thomas, who is waiting in the wings should Jofra Archer go. When Buttler goes we have Liam Livingston. If Smith were to go along with Ben Stokes, we've got Ashton Turner so we've actually got really nice covers should those people go,” the Royals coach informed.