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Can Rajasthan finally find a good balance in Indian T20 League 2021 season?

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Team Rajasthan made a blistering start to their 2020 Indian T20 League season, winning both of their opening two games with a 200-plus score, but their form faded as the competition progressed. By the end of the league stages, the team had won just six of their 14 games and finished at the bottom of the table due to an inferior run rate.

Ahead of the mini-auction in February, the team arrived with a plan and were duly backed by a hefty purse value of INR 37.85 CR. They did buy some of the big names of the sport, but it remains to be seen how will they manage to get the balance they have always been devoid of.

Team Rajasthan squad

South Africa all-rounder Chris Morris made headlines on the day of the auction when he became the most expensive signing in the history of the Indian T20 League. The 33-year-old entered with a base price of INR 75 Lac and went to Rajasthan for a whopping INR 16.25 Cr after a rather intense bidding war.

The team also went big for Shivam Dube and uncapped Chetan Sakariya, who went for INR 4.4 Cr and INR 1.2 Cr respectively.

Rajasthan squad for Indian T20 League 2021: Sanju Samson (c & wk), Jos Buttler (wk), Ben Stokes, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Manan Vohra, Anuj Rawat, Riyan Parag, David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Mahipal Lomror, Shreyas Gopal, Mayank Markande, Jofra Archer, Andrew Tye, Jaydev Unadkat, Kartik Tyagi, Shivam Dube, Chris Morris, Mustafizur Rahman, Chetan Sakariya, KC Cariappa, Liam Livingstone, Kuldip Yadav, Akash Singh

Team Rajasthan strength and weakness

Strength: 

After the Rajasthan hierarchy decided not to continue with Steve Smith, they had a big decision awaiting; a decision of finding a perfect captain for the 14th edition. The team has some serial match-winners in their rank, but they eventually decided to go with Sanju Samson.

The one-time Indian T20 League winners made plenty of tweaks in their opening pair last season, and while it didn’t work out for the best, their middle-order oozed plenty of confidence. Their batsmen from #4-#7 scored 1016 runs last season, which is the third-best return after Delhi and Mumbai. The likes of Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes failed to deliver especially in crucial games, but the England duo has enjoyed a decent run of form of late in international cricket. That coupled with the inclusion of Chris Morris now makes their batting unit more formidable.

Weakness

While Rajasthan’s batting contingent was able to chase big targets last season, their bowling unit took a hit more often than not. Jofra Archer was Rajasthan’s go-to man last season, picking 20 wickets, and his absence, at least for the opening few games, now exposes the team on the bowling front. Now, the Jaipur-based team has entrusted plenty of faith in Jaydev Unadkat, but the 29-year-old is yet to live up to the potential, meaning that the team will undoubtedly lean on Chris Morris’ experience with the ball. 

The lack of an experienced bowling contingent is what they are lacking. Also, the absence of Mustafizur Rahman for the first two matches could hurt Rajasthan in one way or the other.

Who can be the highest run-scorer for Team Rajasthan?

The likes of Sanju Samson, Steve Smith and Jos Buttler were the only Rajasthan players who had scored more than 300 runs. Now, that’s certainly not much and given Smith is no longer in the team, one can rightly put their money on Sanju Samson to be the team’s top run-scorer in 2021 too. The 26-year-old scored three fifties last year at a strike rate of 158.89 and was undoubtedly the best hitter in the team, hitting 21 fours and 26 sixes in 14 innings. Expect a similar outing from the young captain this season.

Who can be the highest wicket-taker for Team Rajasthan?

Now that’s a tricky thing to predict. Their top wicket-taker of the previous season, Jofra Archer, is expected to miss at least the opening four games of the season, and that means the team will put the onus on Morris to do the damage. Rahul Tewatia, too, was promising last season, but it’s hard to see him picking 15-plus wickets this year. If Archer is to miss a major chunk of games, Morris could well and truly be Rajasthan’s top wicket-taker this year.

Where will Team Rajasthan finish in Indian T20 League 2021?

Rajasthan have a lot of planning to do ahead of the new season, with the utmost being their foreign selection. The team also muddled with their batting order which, in one way or the other, affected the results. There’s a long way to go for Rajasthan to win their first title since 2008. We expect them to finish outside of the playoff spots.

Feature image courtesy: Twitter / @rajasthanroyals

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