RR bowling has largely been a one-man show with Jofra Archer doing the bulk of wicket taking, something that RR coach Andrew McDonald admitted to and rued the lack of contribution from other bowlers. After Jofra Archer took two wickets early on, RR bowlers couldn't maintain any pressure at all.
Rajasthan Royals' inexperienced and one-man dependent pace bowling attack was exposed for the nth time in 13th edition of the IPL and even spinners couldn't bail them out against Sunrsiers Hyderabad on Thursday in Dubai as they slumped to yet another defeat. RR did make early in-roads and thanks to Jofra Archer, they were able to reduce SRH to 16 for 2 in 2.4 overs in a chase of 155. But as soon as Jofra was taken off, the Royals were toothless at best with Tyagi and Stokes getting hammered all around the park by Manish Pandey as SRH ended the powerplay on 58 for 2.
After that, spin duo of Tewatia and Gopal did bowl economically but they couldn't take wickets, very much like the earlier games, where RR have been found wanting as soon as Jofra is taken off. There were a lot of question marks over Smith's decision not to give more than two overs in the powerplay to Archer after he took out Warner and Bairstow. Also they didn't try spin with the new ball.
RR head coach, Andrew McDonald, speaking in the post-math presser, rued the lack of contribution from RR bowlers barring Jofra Archer as he felt there wasn't enough pressure applied on the SRH batsmen.
"That was a decision for the captain to make in the middle to hold Archer back, one more wicket would have been nice. But they could have also defended the over and took his over out, which we could use in middle or back end of the innings. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough contributors with the ball, who could maintain pressure throughout the back end of powerplay or afterwards," McDonald said in the post-match presser.
Manish Pandey and Vijay Shankar stitched together a 140-run-stand for the third wicket and helped SRH canter to an easy win. Pandey made full use of powerplay overs making 39* off 19 and utilizing the field restrictions brilliantly in the first six overs. He ended with 83* off 47 while Shankar also made an unbeaten fifty.
McDonald applauded the SRH duo and stated that they played 'outstandingly well and absorbed the pressure after early onslaught' as RR just couldn't get a breakthrough in what was a match-winning partnership.
"Manish and Vijay played really well especially in the middle overs. There was a big partnership and two significant scores and you are less likely to lose a game from that situation. They played outstandingly well and absorbed the pressure after early onslaught from Jofra. Credit must go to both the batsmen. We rely heaving on spinners. We could have used an over of spin in the powerplay like we have done in the tournament but that's easier to say in hindsight. We were looking to squeeze in the middle with spinners. We just couldn't get a breakthrough, they didn't give us any chance," he said.
The former Aussie cricketer also reckoned that it was the kind of night where every time a batsman took risk, he got out and felt that RR could have finished more strongly with the bat.
"We could have 15-20 more runs and ended with a powerful finish and got 170 runs on the board. If you compare both the teams, we didn't even have one half-centurion. We didn't have a solid contributor, who made a fifty plus score and they also bowled really well. Every time a batsman took arisk, we lost wickets, it was that sort of game for us."
RR now just have four wins after 11 games and it seems an arduous task for them to go past the league phase in IPL 2020.