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IPL 2020 | Ben Stokes doesn’t look quite fit as RR’s opener, opines Ajit Agarkar

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Ben Stokes' struggled in his first game as RR's opener


IPL 2020 | Ben Stokes doesn’t look quite fit as RR’s opener, opines Ajit Agarkar

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SportsCafe Desk


After Royals’ victory against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Ajit Agarkar has opined that Ben Stokes doesn’t quite look fit as an opener in the RR unit, with him suggesting Samson-Buttler-Smith as their top-three. Deep Dasgupta also stated that Pant’s injury has changed Delhi’s batting approach.

Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Capitals walk into this encounter on the back of contrasting result - with the Royals winning a see-saw contest against Sunrisers Hyderabad while Delhi crashed to a stunning defeat against Mumbai Indians. However, both sides’ batting problems were highlighted in bold in their losses, which is also the talking point ahead of their clash. 

The 2008 IPL winners, RR opted to go with Ben Stokes as their opener alongside fellow Englishman Jos Butter, which pushed the in-form Sanju Samson to no.4. While the plan did look out-of-box, it eventually trapped the Royals into a maze that required an out-of-skin batting from Riyan Parag and Rahul Tewatia. Prior to their clash, Ajit Agarkar on ESPNCricinfo’s preview, opined that Stokes doesn’t quite look like a proper fit as RR’s opener. 

“Ya it was a bit strange (Ben Stokes as an opener), don’t quite know if he’s going to bat at the top of the order. However, it doesn’t quite look fit at the top. He’s just returned to cricket after quarantine. They should get Sanju Samson up the order and continue with their top three of Samson, Buttler and Smith.” said Agarkar on ESPNCricinfo’s preview. 

Former Indian wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta too agreed with Agarkar’s opinion, stating that Sanju Samson has to either open the batting alongside Buttler or bat at No.3 with Steve Smith interchanging his position. He also added that it would then allow the franchise to slot Ben Stokes in the relatively inexperienced middle-order. 

“Samson has to bat in top three, either he opens or bats at 3, I’m thinking of Smith at 4 but that would mean that Ben Stokes would become No.5. I would make Samson open the innings with Jos Buttler, demoting Smith at No.3 which would allow Stokes to play naturally in the middle-order,” said Dasgupta. 

Another issue that has popped up for Delhi in the last week, is the injury to Rishabh Pant, which in turn has affected the team combination. In Pant’s absence, the franchise have no option but to replace Shimron Hetmyer with Alex Carey, bringing in Ajinkya Rahane, whose batting style is completely different. 

“To an extent, Pant’s injury has changed Delhi’s structure. If you look at someone like Alex Carey and Hetmyer, they are similar in nature, if anything Hetmyer is more adept to boundary hitting. It has kind of derailed their playing approach, with Rahane and Dhawan at the top of the order.” he added.

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