Jofra Archer, batting at number 8, scored 24 for the Rajasthan Royals (RR) while trying to secure a win for side against the Mumbai Indians (MI). That it was the second highest score from the entire batting lineup - the same one that scored 226 earlier this season without Jos Buttler - spoke volumes of their performance with the bat.
After putting up another big score (193) on the board, courtesy of a standout 79* from Suryakumar Yadav and a quickfire 30* from Hardik Pandya, MI were able to bowl out their opposition for a paltry 136. Jasprit Bumrah was the star with the ball as he claimed 4 wickets for 20 runs, while the other bowlers were quite disciplined as well.
There were a few bright spots for RR. India U-19 pacer Kartik Tyagi debuted for the franchise and broke the opening partnership by sending Quinton de Kock back with a shoulder-height bouncer. Jofra Archer's hitting ability and Shreyas Gopal's two quick dismissals will also improve morale. Buttler's fine knock that threatened to keep the game alive only cemented the importance he holds for RR.
On the flipside, Tom Curran seems likely to make way when Ben Stokes joins the team. The collective failure of RR's top order excluding Buttler, contrasted with the brisk opening partnership that MI managed, will ask many questions to the RR camp. They did make a slew of changes to the team, but is their best XI one that features a bowling all-rounder at number six?
Here's a look at the top three underperformers from the match.
#3 Ankit Rajpoot (RR)
RR made wholesale changes, with the boldest one being the replacement of Unadkat with debutant Tyagi. That meant Ankit Rajpoot's responsibilities as a bowler increased, and with Tom Curran not able to nail down a solid performance, it was on Rajpoot to ensure the bowling was not over-reliant on Archer.
He had a torrid powerplay, opening the bowling and giving away five boundaries in his first two overs, including a six. Trusted by his skipper to bowl the final over in place of an under-fire Curran, Rajpoot overstepped on the second ball and conceded a total of 17 from the over, giving MI just the momentum they needed heading into their target defence.
#2 Krunal Pandya (MI)
Numbers 5 to 7 in the MI batting order are entirely flexible, and Tuesday's game saw a new permutation. Krunal Pandya was sent ahead of Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard in order to maintain a left-hand, right-hand combination at the crease. MI would have expected something close to his 4-ball-20 heroics from their previous game.
While he did strike a six straight down the ground, he was tied up for the rest of his innings by the likes of Shreyas Gopal and Archer. He ultimately perished after guiding a short ball by Archer to a waiting Gopal. Krunal's 12 off 17 sucked momentum from the innings, although the impetus was later restored by Hardik and the in-form Suryakumar Yadav.
#1 Sanju Samson (RR)
RR's third big loss in a row after their two impressive wins would dent the team. One big reason behind the team's lack of results of late has been the change in talismanic batsman Sanju Samson's form, which was one of the highlights of their two massive totals early on in the season.
Coming in at number 4 with RR in trouble at 7/2, Samson was cramped up on the pull shot by Trent Boult and offered a simple catch inside the circle. At 12/3 after his dismissal, and with lesser batsmen to follow before the bowling all-rounders, RR had begun the spiral into a loss within the first three overs of the chase.
Published 07 Oct 2020, 01:12 IST