18/05/2024

Ben Stokes prepares for a big IPL14 (credit Rajasthan Royals twitter)

After a disappointing IPL13, Steve Smith is out, and the Englishmen are in. Can Ben Stokes and his countrymen lead Rajasthan back to the playoffs?

IPL Wins: 2008

Coach: Nil

Captain: Sanju Samson

2020 Lookback

2020 was a difficult season for the Royals finishing on the bottom of the table.

After winning the initial IPL under the guidance of Shane Warne back in 2008, the Rajasthan side hasn’t managed to win another tournament. The only positive for Rajasthan in 2020 was Jofra Archer, who managed to take 20 wickets the most for the competition.

Unfortunately for Rajasthan fans, Archer will miss a chunk of the IPL after hand surgery only weeks ago. Steve Smith is also a key out for Rajasthan, having been released by the franchise. Sanju Samson will take over the captaincy in his absence.

Key Players

Ben Stokes- While Stokes doesn’t seem to quite fit in England’s T20 side batting in the middle, he is more than at home in Rajasthan. Opening the innings allows Stokes to play his best cricket, similar to Marcus Stoinis he battles, to begin with, before massive acceleration. Stokes is the best all-rounder in the world and offers batting, bowling, and excellent skills under pressure.

In 2020 Stokes had an interrupted season missing matches due to a family matter back in New Zealand.

When he returned, Stokes managed 285 runs at 40. His bowling, however, was a point of concern, only taking two wickets at 77. Stokes’s highlight was a significant century that he dedicated to his father, an emotional moment to watch.

Rajasthan relies on Stokes at the top of the order to set the tempo and get the side off to a good start. A good season for Stokes is essential to getting Rajasthan off the bottom of the table.

Jos Buttler- The second member of the English opening combination Buttler is well known as one of the best T20 batsmen in the world.

The wicketkeeper gives Rajasthan an aggressive option at the top of the order, as he hits from ball one. Innovation is key to T20, and no one innovates more than Buttler.

In 2020 Buttler had a good but not great season. 328 runs at 32.8 meant he was solid but far from his best. Worryingly he managed only two half-centuries along with four single figures scores during the recent ODI series in India.

With 6499 T20 runs at a strike rate of 144, Buttler is a proven performer. Rajasthan needs the English contingent to fire in 2021, and Buttler plays a big part in this.

Player to watch:

Andrew Tye: One of the first exponents of the knuckleball, Tye has been a T20 stalwart over the last decade. As the only Australian in the Rajasthan side after Smith’s axing Tye will be wanting to fly the flag for his nation.

Having been hampered by injury in recent years, Tye will want to get back to his best. He returned in the BBL |10, and he seemed a changed bowler. Suddenly his pace was back above 140, and his powerplay bowling was dangerous.

Having only been given the one game in the 2020 edition of the IPL, Tye didn’t get a chance to properly show off his talent. 1 for 50 were Tye’s figures, and crowds didn’t see him again. Luckily for Tye, with Jofra Archer out of the beginning of the season, a bowling spot is open.

Whether he can play consistently for Rajasthan is largely up to him and how he performs. He is undoubtedly one to watch, the variety of deliveries is special to see.

Australians

Andrew Tye- The only Australian in the Rajasthan line up, Tye will want to fly the Aussie flag. He offers Rajasthan a solid bowling option with extremely varied skills. Well known for his myriad of slower balls and change-up deliveries, Tye will give the Royals control over the death overs in tight matches. The only question is whether Tye can sneak into the playing XI in one of the four overseas spots.

Predicted XI

J Buttler, B Stokes, S Samson, M Lomror, S Dube, R Parag, R Tewatia, C Morris, A Tye, S Gopal, K Tyagi

Full Squad

Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes (England), Jofra Archer (England), Jos Buttler (England), Riyan Parag, Shreyas Gopal, Rahul Tewatia, Mahipal Lomror, Kartik Tyagi, Andrew Tye (Australia), Jaydev Unadkat, Mayank Markande, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Anuj Rawat, David Miller (South Africa), Manan Vohra, Shivam Dube, Chris Morris (Australia), Mustafizur Rahim (Bangladesh), Chetan Sakariya, K.C. Cariappa, Liam Livingstone (England), Kuldip Yadav, Akash Singh

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