Rajasthan Royals have been one of those franchises in IPL who enters every season as the 'underdogs'. They believe in backing youngsters and have a different approach as compared to other teams. RR created history by winning the inaugural IPL title in 2008 against all odds. However, the Royals have failed to replicate the magical performance in the subsequent seasons. Since then, they have not reached a single IPL final and have made it to the playoffs only thrice (2013, 2015 and 2018). The last two seasons have been horrific for the Royals, finishing 7th and 8th in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
Coming into the new season with a young captain and a different-looking backroom staff, Rajasthan Royals would certainly be hoping for a change in fortunes in IPL 2021.
Looking back at IPL 2020
Rajasthan Royals were one of the most disappointing teams last year. With so much talent and potential, Steve Smith's side finished last with only 6 wins from 14 matches. RR started the last season with back-to-back wins, however their campaign derailed after that mostly because of their lackluster bowling. While Jofra Archer was their star performer, he got no support from the other end as the franchise leaked runs in plenty. The batting form of their skipper Steve Smith was also a major cause of concern throughout the season and he was unsurprisingly released from the team.
With a new young captain in the form of Sanju Samson, Rajasthan Royals would certainly be hoping for a change in fortunes in 2021. They have added some big names like Chris Morris and Shivam Dube to give them the batting depth as they aim to win their second IPL title in the upcoming season.
The franchise had an unsettled batting line-up last season. They never had a reliable opening pair as the top-order players were rotated throughout the season. Ahead of IPL 2021, the batting line-up is looking considerably solid. They are likely to go away from the option of Ben Stokes opening the innings as he is expected to go back in the middle-order to give the team more balance. RR has some exciting options to play at top of the order in the form of Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler, Liam Livingstone and Sanju Samson. They have added two quality all-rounders, Chris Morris and Shivam Dube to give them the batting depth they lacked last season. With Riyan Parag, Mahipal Lomror and Rahul Tewatia also in the side, it certainly looks like a well-settled batting line-up for Royals now.
Bowling was one of the main reasons for RR's horrendous campaign in 2020. While Jofra Archer was brilliant, having taken 20 wickets in 14 games, there was absolutely no support from other end. They released pacers Varun Aaron, Ankit Rajpoot and Oshane Thomas and added some new names to the bowling attack for this season. The big money signing of Chris Morris gives them the much-needed experience they lacked last season. Royals have retained bowlers like Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Mayank Markande and Kartik Tyagi for 2021. However, the exciting additions of Mustafizur Rahman and Chetan Sakariya certainly gives them a lot of depth and variety in the bowling department going into the new season.
Rajasthan Royals go into the 2021 season with a new-look leadership group. After releasing their former skipper Steve Smith, RR has handed the captaincy responsibilities to youngster Sanju Samson. The wicket-keeper has the experience of leading his state side and has been associated with the franchise for quite some time. Hence, it would be really exciting to see how he leads Royals in 2021. He will undoubtedly have the support of English trio Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer in the leadership group. Talking about the coaching staff, RR have parted ways with head coach Andrew McDonald. They have appointed the charismatic Kumar Sangakkara as Royals' Director of Cricket. With Amol Mazumdar and Sairaj Bahutule working with the youngsters, they also have the legendary Shane Warne as their mentor. The franchise certainly has a lot of influential leaders on and off the field ahead of the new season.
Sanju Samson: Matches – 107 | Runs – 2584 | SR – 133.7 | Avg – 27.80
Jos Buttler: Matches – 58 | Runs – 1714 | SR – 149.6 | Avg – 35
Jofra Archer: Matches – 35 | Wickets – 47 | ER – 7.13 | Best – 3/15
Ben Stokes: Matches – 42 | Runs – 920 | SR – 135.1 | Wickets: 28
Players to watch out for
Riyan Parag: Matches – 19 | Runs – 246 | SR – 121.2 | Avg – 20.5
Rahul Tewatia: Matches – 34 | Runs – 366 | SR- 134.6 | Wickets – 24
Chris Morris: Matches – 70 | Wickets – 80 | ER – 7.81 | Best – 4/23
Shivam Dube: Matches – 15 | Runs – 169 | SR – 122.5 | Wickets: 4
Full Rajasthan Royals Squad for IPL 2021
Sanju Samson (c/wk), Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler (wk), Riyan Parag, Shreyas Gopal, Rahul Tewatia, Mahipal Lomror, Kartik Tyagi, Andrew Tye, Jaydev Unadkat, Mayank Markande, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Anuj Rawat, David Miller, Manan Vohra, Chris Morris, Shivam Dube, Mustafizur Rahman, Chetan Sakariya, KC Cariappa, Liam Livingstone, Kuldip Yadav, Akash Singh.