Rajasthan once again missed Sharjah big time as today, they lost their second game of the IPL outside the venue with RCB making easy work of a 155 chase. Chahal and Sundar starred for the Reds as the duo gave away just 44 runs in 8 overs, taking 3 wickets, while RR batting stalwarts failed big time.
RR need to get Jos Buttler off the opening slot
After entering the IPL with just 12 runs from three ODIs against Australia, there were expectations from RR’s talisman Jos Buttler to turn around his fortunes and give the team flying starts but he has only managed 4, 21, and 22, carrying forward his horror run. While his approach against KKR was way too aggressive given the required run-rate, today he was hurried by the raw pace of Navdeep Saini as he failed to cash in the great start, which saw him hit three fours and a six. Jos Buttler is one of the best finishers in the white-ball cricket and there is clearly a case for RR to open the batting with the likes of Manan Vohra or Yashasvi Jaiswal or even both, with Smith at 3 and Buttler at 4 or 5. Quite simply big players like Jos Buttler ought to make it easier for others so that prodigal youngsters stay relevant, with senior men like him taking tougher roles to help the team's cause.
Robin Uthappa is done and dusted
I still can’t stop but drool over Robbie’s maiden fifty in what was his first T20I outing for India against Pakistan in a tough situation in 2007 T20 World Cup. He was a walking assassin. I mean, who has the audacity to run down the pitch to pacers? That was the style which made Uthappa stand out among the rest. But as unfortunate as it is, Robin, who is nearing 35, seems better off to join his teammate Irfan Pathan in the commentary box than play for a team in the IPL. With scores of 5, 9, 2 and 17, the Karnataka batsman has looked like a pale shadow of himself. And it's not just a few games, he has failed in the last two seasons as well. In fact, his last 400-run season in IPL came as long back as 2014. In the 2018 IPL, the swashbuckling batter averaged 21.94 with a strike-rate of 132.45 while last year, his strike-rate fell to an unacceptable 115.10 though his average shot up to 31.33. Not that he was anywhere close to as good as he once was before to be considered an integral part of RR’s first XI.
RCB's Indian spin contingent is very, very good
Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar combined excellently well as they gave away just 44 runs in eight overs and took three wickets between them. Sundar, who was excellent in the last game against Mumbai Indians, where he gave away just 12 in four overs picking a wicket, replicated his economical spell as he finished with 20 runs against RR and aced the powerplay overs, once again. But the star of the show was Yuzvendra Chahal, whose stocks are rising with every passing game. He took the crucial wickets of Sanju Samson, Robin Uthappa and Lomror. Taking Samson early in the first six overs was akin to breaking the backbone of Rajasthan but he wasn't finished as he also sent back the RR's best batsman on the day, Mahipal Lomror, with a great plan, which was sliding the ball close to the tramline, full outside off so that the ball doesn't fall into the left-hander’s arc like it did on the first ball of the 17th over, which was dispatched for a six.
RCB's death-bowling woes are far from over
No matter what happens - whether Kohli scores runs, de Villiers fires or Chahal bamboozles batsmen - one thing that is going to stay for time immemorial is RCB's poor death bowling. Have they taken some club membership for mediocrity in death overs? One wonders. After being unbelievably good in the opening encounter against SRH, the Reds' bowlers have been sloppy, at best, in the final five overs, be it against Punjab, Mumbai or today versus RR. With Rajasthan struggling at 99 for 4 at the end of 15 overs, 150 seemed out of reach given there wasn't any notable finisher. But Virat Kohli's men still somehow conceded 55 runs off the last 5, which was rendered possible by a 40-run partnership between Jofra Archer and Rahul Tewatia, which came off just 20 balls. On a day when none of the RR star batsmen sparked, that RCB still found ways to leak runs is simply flabbergasting. Saini, who had given 22 runs in his final two overs last game, went a notch ahead and leaked 28 runs at the death. Luck not favoring and full tosses and balls in the slot getting hammered unlike the Super Over? Oh yes! Udana also gave 17 runs in the final two, compared to the last game, where he conceded 18 in six balls. Both pacers are far from being handy at death, as of now.