IPL 2019: Rajasthan Royals predicted playing XI against Kings XI Punjab
The 12th edition of the Indian Premier League started with a one-sided affair where Chennai Super Kings thrashed Royals Challengers Bangalore by seven wickets on Saturday.
The champions of the inaugural IPL, Rajasthan Royals, will begin their campaign against Kings XI Punjab at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Monday after Sunday's doubleheader.
In this article, we take a look at how Rajasthan Royals could line up for their all-important season-opener.
Openers - Ajinkya Rahane (C), Jos Buttler (Wk)
Rahane found it extremely difficult to accelerate last season after getting starts which resulted in the Royals struggling in the initial stages of the tournament. However, with Jos Buttler's promotion to the top, everything changed and it's not an overstatement to say Buttler single-handedly took RR to the playoffs last season.
Rahane should attempt to score at a strike-rate of 120+ in the opening few games, otherwise, he is in danger of losing his opening slot to the in-form Rahul Tripathi.
Middle Order - Steve Smith, Sanju Samson, Rahul Tripathi
Steve Smith will be itching to take the field to prove his worth to the world after serving a one-year ban for ball tampering. Though he has played few T20 leagues around the world in the lead-up to this tournament, the IPL is where he will be truly tested. Cricket Australia will be keenly following Smith's progress as they look ahead to the ICC Cricket World Cup.
Sanju Samson, who was touted to be Dhoni's successor for Team India, has disappeared into oblivion after an impressive few IPL seasons. Now, Rishabh Pant and even Ishan Kishan are ahead of him in the race to take the mantle from Dhoni. The Kerala wicket-keeper would love to impress everyone with his hard-hitting skills and needs to make it count this season.
Rahul Tripathi is in good form and will complete the middle-order for Rajasthan Royals
All-rounders - Ben Stokes, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jofra Archer
Rajasthan Royals boasts one of the best all-around units in the world. With the likes of Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, and Gowtham in their ranks, the champions of the 1st IPL edition, look a formidable unit on paper.
Ben Stokes will be an automatic choice as the batting all-rounder as he can provide great impetus to RR towards the end of the innings. Karnataka's Krishnappa Gowtham played few memorable knocks for RR last season towards the end of the innings and will take up the role of the finisher for RR.
Jofra Archer is hot property at the moment and will predominantly lead RR's bowling department. His ability to strike a few lusty blows lower down the order adds to his worth.
Bowlers - Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat, Varun Aaron
Shreyas Gopal will take care of the spin-bowling department alongside his Karnataka team-mate Gowtham. Shreyas is a handy batsman lower down the order as well which adds to the Royals' depth.
Unakdat and Aaron will be a lethal combination in the fast bowling department as both hit form during India's domestic competitions right before the IPL.
Rajasthan Royals' Predicted XI:
Ajinkya Rahane (C), Jos Buttler (WK), Steve Smith, Sanju Samson, Rahul Tripathi, Ben Stokes, K Gowtham, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat, Varun Aaron
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