IPL 2019 | Royals Winning Run Coincides With Unfortunate Departure of Stokes & Archer

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: April 26, 2019, 8:12 AM IST
IPL 2019 | Royals Winning Run Coincides With Unfortunate Departure of Stokes & Archer

(Image: Twitter)

Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer's contrasting IPL 2019 came to an end on Thursday (April 26) and one needs to look no further than Rajasthan Royals' last encounter against Kolkata Knight Riders to evaluate the kind of season they had.

The two players will fly back to England on Friday morning to join the national side to prepare for an ODI series against Pakistan in the lead up to the World Cup. While Stokes has been named in both the squads, in-form Archer will audition for a World Cup spot in a five-match ODI series against Pakistan starting May 8.

Archer capped off his season in tremendous style with a match-winning cameo of 12-ball 27*, helping Rajasthan to keep their hopes alive. The Barbados-born all-rounder was franchise's most consistent player, picking up 11 wickets in as many games at an economy of 6.76.

Archer contributed in almost every game but found no support from the other end in the bowling department. His best performance came in Chennai (2 for 27) and Mohali (3 for 15) but even that wasn't good enough to push his team to the right side of the results. The 24-year-old only got to bat five times in which he struck 67 runs at an average of 33.50 and a strike rate of 167.50.

"I feel really excited. The tournament didn't go as well as we liked, but moments like these really make me cherish playing for Rajasthan," he said after the match against Kolkata.

"Anyone that comes in to replace me and Stokesy will do a great job, I'm sure of that. I'm grateful for Rajasthan to take a chance on me, having not played any international cricket. I am really gutted that I have to leave the boys. I hope that we qualify for playoffs.

Meanwhile, things didn't really go as planned for the flamboyant all-rounder Stokes. The 27-year-old only managed 123 runs in nine games at an average of 20.50 and even struggled with the ball in hand, picking up just six wickets at an economy of 11.22. His only decent outing came against Chennai Super Kings in a losing cause in which he smashed 46 runs in 26 balls.

After a fruitful first season with now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant, Stokes was bought for Rs 12.5 crore by Rajasthan last year but the all-rounder has failed to live up to the expectations. He was tried out at different spots but couldn't find his groove and this slump cost Rajasthan dearly this season.

"I think everybody would want to be consistent, but you take it as it comes. Everyone wants to go out and do their best every time, but sometimes it doesn't come off and you just wipe out that part. Also, if you do well, you can't live off that," he said.

Despite being out of form, Stokes is someone who provides that balance to the squad and has the capability of delivering goods under pressure. With eight points to their name and three games to go, the departure of Stokes, Archer and Jos Buttler has left a massive hole in the Rajasthan unit who will also lose out on the services of their skipper Steve Smith after two encounters.

The road to playoffs looks full of bumps, cracks and many other challenges and Rajasthan will have to come up with something miraculous if they want to reach anywhere near their destination.
First Published: April 26, 2019, 7:30 AM IST

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