Here is an analysis on the strengths and weaknesses of Rajasthan Royals this year.
Jos Buttler - Buttler is Rajasthan’s best player (+1.04) and comes into the season in brilliant form. Last year his five consecutive fifties propelled Rajasthan to the Play Offs. Similar heroics may be required this time around as well.
Settled overseas core - Rajasthan are likely to select Buttler, Stokes and Archer as three of their four overseas players, with Sodhi and Thomas fighting for the second bowling spot. Although Stokes is not anywhere near the T20 superstar his huge auction fee suggests this settled core will provide the team with a clear structure.
Home pitch - Last season the pitch in Jaipur was slow and low. This may not suit overseas batsmen Stokes and Buttler but Rajasthan’s domestic batting - the likes of Rahane and Samson, and potentially Smith as well - may be well suited to grinding out competitive totals.
Lack of match-winners - Rajasthan are the weakest team in the IPL this season. Their squad is conspicuously lacking major match-winners. Their only player with a projected match impact of more than one is Buttler (+1.04) and they only have five players with positive projected impact: Gopal (+0.48), Sodhi (+0.39), Kulkarni (+0.14) and Archer (+0.06).
Weak Indian contingent - Rajasthan only have five positive impact players and just two of them - Gopal and Kulkarni - are Indian. In Vohra (-0.13), Rahane (-0.14), Gowtham (-0.15), Samson (-0.16) and Tripathi (-0.28). Rajasthan have a number of Indian players with minor negative impacts. Unless they can all over-perform Rajasthan are going to be heavily dependent on their overseas players.
Pace bowling problems - Archer (projected bowling impact +0.25) and Kulkarni (+0.20) are strong bowling options but Stokes (-0.79) , Aaron (-0.86) , Unadkat (-0.97) and Thomas (-1.33) are all considerably weaker. Thomas is at least at the start of his career and has room for improvement while Unadkat has had one excellent IPL. They are going to need at least one of these quicks to excel.
World Cup call-ups - Rajasthan’s are likely to be gutted by World Cup selections which looks set to take Buttler, Stokes and Archer - all certain starters, Smith and possibly Turner from their squad. This will leave them with only three overseas players: Livingstone, Thomas and Sodhi.
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