Rajasthan Royals resume their IPL 2021 campaign on a shaky ground with the unavailability/withdrawal of key players. Three of their marquee stars including allrounder Ben Stokes, big-hitter Jos Buttler and pace-ace Jos Buttler are missing the second leg due to various reasons. They have called in reinforcements but the impact these players have made for the franchise over the years certainly affects their title dreams considering a middling start to the Indian leg.
They were fifth in the points table when covid breach disrupted the season leading to indefinite suspension in the first week of May. Between then and now, RR have been weakened due to the absence of aforementioned players but they have in the past (inaugural season) defied logic to get the better of teams boasting of superstars.
Position: Fifth | Matches Played: 7| Matches Won: 4 | Points: 6
Remaining Matches (Seven)
Sept 21: vs Punjab Kings, Abu Dhabi (7:30 PM IST)
Sept 25: vs Delhi Capitals, Abu Dhabi (3:30 PM IST)
Sept 27: vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, Dubai (7:30 PM IST)
Sept 29: vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, Dubai (7:30 PM IST)
Oct 02: vs Chennai Super Kings, Abu Dhabi (7:30 PM IST)
Oct 05: vs Mumbai Indians, Sharjah (7:30 PM IST)
Oct 07: vs Kolkata Knight Riders, Sharjah (7:30 PM IST)
Sanju Samson: Matches Played: 7 | Runs Scored: 277 | Average: 46.16 | Strike-rate: 145.78 | Highest Score: 119
Chris Morris: Matches Played: 7 | Wickets Taken: 14 | Average: 16.00, Economy: 8.61 | BBI: 4/23
A lot of changes. Archer is out of the entire 2021 due to a shoulder injury, Stokes has taken a break from cricket to focus on his mental health while Buttler and Andrew Tye have withdrawn due to personal reasons. RR have announced their replacements with the likes of world’s top-ranked T20I bowler Tabraiz Shamsi joining the 2008 champions alongside Evin Lewis, Glenn Phillips and Oshane Thomas.
RR started the season losing three of their first four matches. A six-wicket win against Kolkata Knight Riders came as a confidence-booster but in their very next match, Mumbai Indians defeated them by seven wickets. They again bounce back against the struggling Sunrisers Hyderabad for a 55-run win before the season was halted. They cannot afford such slips in the second half of the tournament and even more so when their top performers will not be available.
RR need to win at least four of their remaining seven games to confirm a playoff spot. Although teams with 12 points have in the past managed to finish among the top-four but why leave it to the fate?