Much was expected of Rajasthan as they went into the 2020 Indian T20 League season. They had a perfect concoction of overseas players and a settled batting core. If anything, the bowling was a tad weak, but it wasn't expected to bite them back too much.
Yet, after a season of ups and downs, the one area that haunted them most was their bowling, sans Jofra Archer. While there were quite a few key issues in their planning and execution, the most glaring one was perhaps the bowling itself.
Jofra Archer remains one of the outstanding bowlers of the tournament, but he had zilch support from the other end as Rajasthan's pacers were all over the place.
To put things into perspective, Archer took 20 wickets. No one else took more than 10. Archer took his wickets at an economy rate of 6.55. Only one other player - Rahul Tewatia - had an economy rate under 8.
|Rajasthan bowling averages|
All pace bowlers aside from Archer had an economy rate of over 9.5. Six bowlers had an economy rate of over 10 runs per over. Archer single-handedly carried Rajasthan's bowling through the tournament. And despite his herculean efforts, it was not enough for Rajasthan to scrape through.
The overseas players
Steven Smith, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler were expected to shoulder the bulk of the responsibility in the Rajasthan batting line-up. While Stokes came into his own in the latter stages and Buttler shone in the odd game, Smith struggled big time. Surrounded by inconsistent Indian batters too, Rajasthan just couldn't find a balance between attack and preserving wickets and in the end, often left too much for Rahul Tewatia. The all-rounder played some blistering knocks and gave Rajasthan odd wins in matches where they weren't even supposed to come close. But in the end, the flop show of the big three overseas players for the majority of the tournament hurt them big time.
Stokes averaged 40 at a strike-rate over 140 while Smith averaged 25 at a strike-rate just over 130. Buttler too took time to settle in and made crucial contributions once set in the middle-order, scoring runs at an average of 32 and a strike-rate of 140+.
No one big scorer
The lack of a big scoring top-order batsman hurt them big. While all other seven franchises had at least one player scoring over 400 runs, Rajasthan's highest run-scorer comes in at the 15th position in the league with 375 runs (Sanju Samson).
|Rajasthan batting - Indian T20 League 2020|
That there were too many inconsistent players in the team and too much chopping and changing of roles further hurt the team. Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Steven Smith, Robin Uthappa and Yashasvi Jaiswal all opened the innings at one stage or the other in the season.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter.com / Rajasthan