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Predicting RR's opening combination for IPL 2021

Yashasvi Jaiswal had a harsh introduction to the IPL last year
Yashasvi Jaiswal had a harsh introduction to the IPL last year
Sai Krishna
SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 31 Mar 2021
Feature

The Rajasthan Royals (RR) had a poor campaign in the Indian Premier League (IPL) last year as they finished dead last on the points table under the captaincy of Steve Smith.

After releasing the Aussie, appointing Sanju Samson as the skipper of the side, and making a number of high-profile purchases in the auction, RR come into this year's tournament with renewed confidence.

RR's squad for IPL 2021: Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, Mahipal Lomror, Manan Vohra, Mayank Markande, Rahul Tewatia, Riyan Parag, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Anuj Rawat, Kartik Tyagi, David Miller, Andrew Tye, Chris Morris, Shivam Dube, Mustafizur Rahman, Chetan Sakariya, K C Cariappa, Liam Livingstone, Kuldip Yadav and Akash Singh

Among the above squad, Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Manan Vohra, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Liam Livingstone are capable of opening the batting. In this article, we predict RR's opening combination for IPL 2021.


What did RR do in IPL 2020?

Ben Stokes batted as an opener for RR in IPL 2020
Ben Stokes batted as an opener for RR in IPL 2020

RR's opening combination in IPL 2020 changed quite frequently.

Yashasvi Jaiswal and Steve Smith opened the batting in the team's first game, before the former was dropped in favour of the returning Jos Buttler. Jaiswal returned for the fifth game of the league phase, pushing Smith down to No. 3. But he once again lost his place in the XI after two games.

Ben Stokes entered the fray for RR after missing the first half of the tournament, and opened alongside Buttler initially. But that left the XI too top-heavy, and Robin Uthappa - who had been struggling in the middle order - replaced Buttler at the top.

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Stokes and Uthappa continued to open for RR, with Smith at No. 3 or No. 4 and Buttler lower down the order as a finisher.


Jos Buttler and Yashasvi Jaiswal likely to open the batting for RR in IPL 2021

Jos Buttler is at his best while batting at the top of the order
Jos Buttler is at his best while batting at the top of the order

Robin Uthappa has been traded to the Chennai Super Kings, while Steve Smith was bought by the Delhi Capitals in the 2021 auction. From the opening options RR possess, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler are likely to open the batting.

Jaiswal has been in stellar form for Mumbai in the domestic circuit, and it seems like he's ready for the step up to the IPL. Buttler, on the other hand, batted in the middle order during England's recent ODI series against India and scored only 17 runs from 3 games.

The English keeper is one of the best T20 openers in the world. Although Stokes was far from poor at the top for RR last year, he's more suited to a middle-order role in the format than Buttler. Moreover, Jaiswal and Buttler would form a promising right-left combination.

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Captain Sanju Samson has opened for RR in the past, but he'll have too much on his plate if he chooses to do so this year as well. No. 3 is perfect for the Kerala-born batsman, especially since he has been handed the reins.

Manan Vohra has found game time in the IPL difficult to come by since leaving the Punjab Kings, and his spell on the sidelines seems set to continue at RR. However, he's an excellent backup option and could shine if an opportunity presents itself.

Liam Livingstone was in good nick for England in the ODI series against India, but the Englishman will struggle to find a place in the XI with Buttler, Stokes and Morris in the mix.

Buttler and Jaiswal will look to pile on the runs in the powerplay and take RR to the playoffs in IPL 2021.


Published 31 Mar 2021, 11:59 IST
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