IPL 2019: The ideal XI that Rajasthan Royals should aim for after the auction
Not many expected Rajasthan Royals to reach the playoffs last season. However, the winners of the first edition made a good comeback after a layoff period of two years to reach the top-4. They won a tense match against RCB in a must-win match in the process. They bowed out of the tournament after losing to KKR in the first eliminator.
The Jaipur based franchise will be expected to perform better in 2019 and hence a strong core of 16 players have been retained. They have let go of some important players and that would make them be active at the auctions to be held at their home Jaipur.
On that note, we have compiled a well-balanced XI which RR should try to field next season.
Openers - Ajinkya Rahane and Jos Buttler
The fate of Rajasthan Royals turned last season when Buttler moved up the order to open the innings. He has gone on to become a regular for the England team in all the three formats. So, he will keep his place for RR at the top. Considering his limited availability, players like Martin Guptill or McCullum could be signed as his backup.
Rahul Tripathi was very inconsistent last season and has not made any mark in the domestic season since then. Hence, captain, Rahane should open the innings. He can complement Buttler at the start of the innings and can also play a match-winning innings himself.
Middle-order - Sanju Samson, Shimron Hetymer and Manoj Tiwary
Rajasthan had its share of problems in the middle-order last season. Hence, they will need to address it in the upcoming auctions. Sanju Samson is a highly talented player and should bat at No.3 to increase the chances of RR winning the game. He may handle the wicketkeeper duties as well.
Although Steve Smith has been retained, his availability is a doubt and his abilities in the T20s have not been proved. Hence, RR should try to go after young attacking Shimron Hetymer. He has been good on the Indian pitches and will be an asset to the team.
Rahul Tripathi failed in the middle-order last season and the team needs an efficient domestic middle-order batsman in the team. Manoj Tiwary is a good option and he did well with the similar team at RPS in 2017. He will come cheap too. RR can also consider other options like Hanuma Vihari and Yuvraj Singh.
Follow Sportskeeda for all latest cricket news, scores, playing XI, match predictions, fantasy tips & stats.