The Rajasthan Royals (RR) returned to Sharjah in the hope that the venue at which they won their first two games of the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2020) would treat them kindly once again, but they were in for a rude shock.
The Delhi Capitals (DC), who have been one of the teams to watch out for this year, made light work of Steve Smith's side to register a dominating 46-run win and move to the top of the IPL 2020 points table.
Stellar performances from Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer and Ravichandran Ashwin took Shreyas Iyer's side to their fifth win in six IPL 2020 games, while Jofra Archer and Rahul Tewatia were the only two RR players to make a mark on the game.
RR have now registered four consecutive losses in the tournament, and their chances of qualifying for the playoffs are rapidly diminishing. However, they will be buoyed by the imminent return of Ben Stokes, who is expected to be available for their next game against the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Many players from both sides underperformed in a game that was dominated by eye-catching individual performances, especially with the bat. Here are 3 players who flopped in the RR vs DC IPL 2020 game.
#3 Andrew Tye (RR)
Brought into the RR playing XI instead of the expensive Tom Curran, veteran pacer Andrew Tye was expected to use the wealth of experience and slower balls that he possesses to out-think the DC batsmen in Sharjah. To say that this plan went horribly wrong would be an understatement.
Tye's first over - and the last of the powerplay - went for just 8 runs, with RR even managing to run Shreyas Iyer out. His second over saw Marcus Stoinis hit him for a six, but with acceptable figures of 0/19 after 2 overs (considering the short boundaries in Sharjah), the decision to play the Australian seemed to have paid off.
However, Tye's last two overs went for 37 runs as he was carted around by Shimron Hetmyer, and then bowled a no-ball that resulted in 15 runs off two balls towards the end of the DC innings. The former Purple Cap winner may have scalped the wicket of Axar Patel off his final ball, but he finished with ignominious figures of 1/50 in his 4 overs.
#2 Rishabh Pant (DC)
Prior to this game, Rishabh Pant's lowest score in IPL 2020 had been 28, and the young wicket-keeper had been consistent if unspectacular. Seeming to have banished the careless shot-making that has caused his downfall on so many occasions in the past, the 23-year-old was expected to fire at a ground where he can clear the boundary at will.
However, 9 balls into his innings, Pant was involved in an embarrassing run-out that shouldn't have been seen at any level, let alone the IPL. He blindly ventured out of his crease as Stoinis' nudge down the ground failed to get past the fielder at short mid-wicket, leaving him halfway down the pitch in a compromising position.
Pant was enthusiastic behind the stumps as always, but the spectre of his notorious history with throwaway dismissals will hover over him in the coming games.
#1 Sanju Samson (RR)
A worrying trend that Sanju Samson has exhibited over the years in the IPL has been his tendency to fade away after a couple of impressive performances.
But the manner in which he picked apart the bowling attacks of the Chennai Super Kings and the Kings XI Punjab at the same venue that this game took place in led fans to believe that the mercurial batsman had finally turned the corner.
Samson's last 4 IPL 2020 games have been nothing short of horrendous - his highest score has been 8, and he has found ridiculous ways to get out. In this game against DC, it was an ill-advised swipe off his 9th ball that found its way to the bucket hands of Hetmyer in the deep.
The Kerala batsman's abysmal form has coincided with RR's dreadful IPL 2020 run, but as a matter of fact, this is anything but a coincidence. RR are heavily reliant on Samson, who is the only recognised batsman in a threadbare middle order.
The 2008 IPL champions might be boosted by the return of Ben Stokes, but Samson will be the man who'll have to step up to the plate if they are to turn their IPL 2020 campaign around.
Published 10 Oct 2020, 00:23 IST