The Rajasthan Royals (RR) team is always termed as the underdog team of the tournament. They never start as favorites and have generally finished in the 2nd half of the table or the best they have secured the no. 3 position in the 2013 which made them qualify for Champions League in the same year and the main achievement is the winners of IPL 2008. The team has always backed the young talent in them for years, be it in the form of Ravindra Jadeja in 2008 or even Sanju Samson for years till today. The team think team involves mentor in form of Shane Warne who was the coach and the captain in the ingaural year and had won the trophy for them in that year. This team performance had often been below par after that initial success attained by them.
Let take the time line ahead and come to present. Rajasthan Royals started the tournament with a bang winning the first two games in Sharjah one by batting 1st against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and one by batting 2nd against Kings XI Punjab where the heroics of Rahul Tewatia was praised by everyone. The main impact factor in both the games was the way, Sanju Samson played with a lot of freedom, in both the games the total number of sixes hit by him were 16 after which there has been a great fall in his batting. He has only scored 17 runs combined in the next 4 matches. Is this the way Sanju Samson performs after having a start this in the tournament... The Answer is YES!!!! He needs to play with freedom and responsibility as a senior batsman in the team.
The team batting approach always remains questionable even though there are players in form of Jos Buttler who can take the bowling to cleaners on any day and the orthodox player in form of Steve Smith, the captain who a busy player by his standards but has also failed to make an impact in the last few matches. Once these players get out, the batting looks to go nowhere even though we have seen some batting from Jofra Archer and Tom Curran in late overs but it is not consistent. Rahul Tewatia who can go in the books as a one match hero where he won a game for his team with the bat, but then he cannot be banked on each game to do the job. The young talent in form of Yashashvi Jaiswal and Riyan Parag along with Mahipal Lomror have been in consistent too. The failure of Robin Uttappa not to be ignored too...
Bowling approach is also not to the mark. Jofra Archer with his pace has been among wickets. Tom Curran was expensive so was Jaydev Undatkat. In the spin department, Shreyas Gopal has been bowling well in the middle and has taken wickets in the process. Kartik Tyagi the young fast bowler of 19 years age is finding his stride in the team. The bowling at the back end of the innings is a bit of concern as the bowlers are not able to contain the opposition but still the bowling of the team is better than the batting at the moment.
Now comes the game changer for them in form of Benjamin (Ben) Stokes who missed some matches initially because of personal reasons and also had to follow the quarantine role set by the tournament, the seasoned all-rounder and one of the best rated cricketer at this moment. What does Ben Stokes offer to the team?? I say everything, 4 overs with the ball among which 2 overs can be the death overs, a brilliant fielder and the main thing is his batting which the team really needs at the moment. He can turn matches on his own with the bat, we have already seen that in the last 2 years on the international platform. He can bring the stability to the batting of the team which can make them reach targets set by the opposition to them or even set challenging total. Players like Steve Smith, Jos Buttler and Sanju Samson can also play their natural games and could be a good season ahead for the team.
To conclude, Ben Stokes a 3-D (batting, bowling and fielding) player will be the Genie of the Alladin series who will do the team wonder with his presence. Rajasthan Royals will feel blessed with his presence and set up the tournament in the upcoming matches and try to win the silverware for the 2nd time in 13 years.