Winners of the inaugural edition of the IPL, Rajasthan Royals are yet to enter the finals since 2008. Despite reaching the playoffs a number of times, RR can be said to have under-achieved so far post the victorious campaign. Going into the thirteenth edition, the Royals have a very good foreign core, but the Indian core is something they will be worried about. One more cause of concern will be the lack of options for finishing with the bat. However, they have a top-order that is capable of winning games on its own. Buttler has been one of the best in the league since 2018 and Samson on his day can out-bat any opposition. Smith coming in as the anchor might turn out to be a big advantage,
As we near the start of the season, we look at the batting summary of the Royals since 2018 and how they have performed against different bowling styles:
- Jos Buttler, who started in the middle order in 2018, has not looked back once sent out to open the innings. Scoring more than 40 runs per innings at a strike rate in excess of 150, Buttler has been their biggest match-winner.
- Samson and Smith have been decent too, with both of them scoring more than 30 runs per innings. Smith has the scope of improving his strike rate though.
- Riyan Parag was a revelation last season and the Royals will expect much more from the youngster this season with increased experience.
- Buttler has been totally devastating against the right-arm pacers, especially in the Powerplays. His dismissal rate of 41 balls per wicket is also very impressive. Samson is not far behind either.
- Barring the above two, almost all others need to improve upon their scoring rates.
- Left-arm pacers have to be the favorite bowlers for RR batsmen. Among batsmen facing a minimum of 10 balls, Smith’s strike rate of 146.15 is the lowest.
- While both the strike rate and dismissal rate are good for others, Smith and Stokes certainly need to better their dismissal rate, and Uthappa needs to work on his scoring rate.
- Except Buttler, almost all of the RR batsmen have struggled against off-spinners. Buttler takes 49 balls per dismissal and maintains a strike rate of 137.76.
- Captain Smith, with a strike rate of 90.48, clearly needs to take on the off-spinners.
- Uthappa and Stokes get out way too often against the offies while Samson needs to improve his scoring rate.
- Vohra has thrived against them, though the sample size is too small to conclude.
- The RR top order – Buttler, Uthappa and Samson, have all thrived against left-arm orthodox spinners. Buttler in particular has been terrific, scoring at a strike rate of 140 and yet to be dismissed.
- Smith’s biggest weakness has been left-arm orthodox, against whom he gets out once in 18 balls and scores at a sub-100 strike rate.
- The likes of Stokes and Parag have the scope of improving on their scoring rate.
- All of Rajasthan Royals batsmen have been in big trouble against wrist spinners. Among batsmen facing a minimum of 10 balls, no batsman other than Uthappa has a 130-plus strike rate.
- While Smith, Parag and Miller can provide stability against wrist spin, they need to work on their scoring rate. Or they can use other batsmen like Uthappa or Buttler to take on them from one end.
- Buttler, RR’s best batsman against other forms of bowling, gets out once every 13 balls and has a strike rate of 124.18.
- Uthappa seems to be one of the best bets against wrist spin, despite having a dismissal rate of 17.4 balls. Him taking on the wrist spinners at one end and Smith providing stability at the other end would be the ideal approach.
Overall, the Royals have a lineup that has not been upto the mark against spinners in recent past. With pitches in UAE expected to assist spinners even more, the royals will need their top guns to lead from the front, which they are very much capable of. Buttler and Samson against finger spinners and Smith and Miller against wrist spinners should be the RR’s solution to spin.