Steve Smith's side were unbeaten coming into this game, but a poor batting display from their top order ensured that they were never really in the contest. Jofra Archer bowled a fiery spell for RR, while Shubman Gill and Eoin Morgan played useful innings.
Here are 3 tactical mistakes that were made during the RR vs KKR IPL 2020 game.
#3 Is it time for Steve Smith to drop back down the order?
In RR's first IPL 2020 game against the Chennai Super Kings, captain Steve Smith sprung a surprise by coming out to open the batting. The decision was vindicated then as he scored a fluent fifty, and repeated the performance in the second game against the Kings XI Punjab.
Although the opening role has suited Smith and he seems to be dangerous at the position, RR need their captain to bat lower down the order, either at No. 3 or No. 4. In the absence of Ben Stokes, the team's middle order currently comprises of Robin Uthappa, Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia and Tom Curran.
This middle order is simply not good enough for RR to win games on a consistent basis, and the fact that they played their first two matches at Sharjah may have masked their obvious weaknesses. Smith needs to drop down for the good of his own team, and that was woefully apparent today.
#2 RR looked to attack the new ball a bit too much
RR have scored over 200 runs in both their IPL 2020 games so far, and a large reason behind that has been their attacking batting in the powerplay. But with the venue of this game shifting to Dubai, they didn't adjust their gameplan enough to suit the surface they were playing on.
Steve Smith seemed to have made up his mind to take the attack to Pat Cummins, and after playing and missing a couple of balls - apart from miscuing one horribly - the former Australian captain inside-edged one to Karthik behind the stumps. Samson also fell in the 5th over, mistiming an ambitious pull shot to Sunil Narine at mid-wicket.
The rest of the top order fell soon after, dashing any hopes of another miraculous run-chase very early. RR should've been more circumspect against the new ball, especially against Cummins.
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#1 RR played the game with only 4 full-time batsmen
For the second game running, RR had only 4 full-time batsmen in their playing XI - Jos Buttler, Steve Smith, Sanju Samson and Robin Uthappa. While Smith and Samson's excellent performances in the first two games took RR to wins, their deficiencies were woefully exposed in this one.
Without Ben Stokes, RR look very thin in the middle order, and need to play batsmen like Yashasvi Jaiswal and David Miller. Going in with 7 bowling options might be tempting for Steve Smith, it simply isn't a plan that is sustainable in the long run.
RR must reshuffle and bolster their batting order immediately, and the likes of Riyan Parag and Tom Curran might have to be sacrificed to make it happen.
Published 30 Sep 2020, 23:48 IST