IPL 2021 preview: Is Sanju Samson-led Rajasthan Royals the underdog this season?
Rajasthan Royals was the champion of the Indian Premier League during its inaugural edition in 2008. Sanju Samson would lead it in 2021. The side was led by Steve Smith last season, while it managed to finish at the bottom of the table. It has never qualified for the final since 2008.
As things get intense ahead of the 2021 Indian Premier League, everyone is looking forward to their favourite team. While some teams are already on the favourites list to win the title, Rajasthan Royals is one such team that has always been on the doubtful list.
RR has forever been considered the dark horse of the tournament. Although it managed to win the title in 2008, it was yet one of the competition's underdogs back then, with no big names and depth in the squad.
However, it has always possessed surprising young talents who have risen to the occasion and gain the spotlight, thus making a name for themselves. The upcoming season, too, is likely to be somewhat similar, especially with Sanju Samson being the skipper of the side that really does not have big firepowers. On the same note, we present the preview for the side for the upcoming term.
Judging by the squad composition, it is evident that the side has focussed on its bowling, as the department leads 16-14. It also has one of the most uncapped talents on the side, 12-11, to be precise. Clearly, the side has decided to do away with reliance on star power and go back to the opening season's tactics that led it to title glory. However, judging by how the competition has evolved over the past years, it won't be that easy.
Strengths and weaknesses
As evident above, RR's strength lies in its bowling. While all-rounder Chris Morris is likely to lead the attack with his pace bowling, Ben Stokes, Andrew Tye, Jofra Archer and Mustafizur Rahman are sure to come in handy with their valuable assistance.
Meanwhile, its batting lacks both in the number of men and star power, with David Miller, Liam Livingstone among the prime batsmen, along with Morris, Stokes and Shivam Dube. However, the wicketkeeper-batsmen Samson and Jos Buttler would add severe ammunition to the department, depending on the duo.
Also, with just three spinners on the side, it yet again is their weakness. Interestingly, both departments have the uncapped talents more than the capped ones, making it one of the most exciting and unpredictable sides to watch out for.
Players to watch out for
Miller: The South African is highly famous for his hard-hitting abilities and primarily plays as a finisher in the middle-order. With an already unstable batting line-up, Miller would have to shoulder more responsibility with the bat.
Buttler: The Englishman proved in the just-concluded Twenty20 Internationals against India as to what form he currently is in. However, would he be able to carry it into a tournament like the stature of the IPL is a million-dollar question. Nonetheless, he is definitely expected to fire.
Stokes: The English all-rounder needs no introduction, who was decent in the limited-overs leg against India. While his batting is reliable, he tends to be a bit expensive with his pace bowling and it would be interesting to see how he works upon it.
Morris: The most expensive player in the history of the IPL has a task at hand. Although he is not concerned by the price tag upon him, he is confident of delivering, mostly with his pace bowling. The entire globe would be watching out for him, desperately wanting him to deliver.
Archer: The English pacemaker is set to miss a few of the opening games. However, being a prime bowler across formats, RR would heavily rely on him for getting regular breakthroughs.
IPL 2021 prediction
Although its tactic of relying on talent over star power might have worked in the inaugural season, it is not entirely a fair idea considering the level of the tournament now. The lack of star power is still going to haunt it. While talent is of utmost importance, so does the experience. An uneven squad might lead to its downfall. Also, Samson's captaincy is hard to tell as to how impactful it would be. Nonetheless, we are not really confident here.
Newsable prediction: Sixth or seventh
RR squad for IPL 2021
Batsmen: David Miller, Manan Vohra, Liam Livingstone, Mahipal Lomror and Yashasvi Jaiswal.
All-rounders: Chris Morris, Ben Stokes, Rahul Tewatia, Shivam Dube, Shreyas Gopal and Riyan Parag.
Wicketkeepers: Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson and Anuj Rawat.
Spinners: KC Cariappa and Mayank Markande
Pacers: Andrew Tye, Jaydev Unadkat, Jofra Archer, Mustafizur Rahman, Kuldip Yadav, Chetan Sakariya, Kartik Tyagi and Akash Singh.