IPL 2020: Is Steve Smith and Jos Buttler the ideal opening pair for Rajasthan Royals?
Rajasthan Royals are being led by Steve Smith in the ongoing season of the Indian Premier League. Jos Buttler missed the opening game against Chennai Super Kings, as he was undergoing a mandatory quarantine. Meanwhile, he all set to be apart of the team on Sunday.
Rajasthan Royals (RR) are in the hunt for their second title in the Indian Premier League (IPL), having won their first in the inaugural season, back in 2008. As they take on Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in their second game of the ongoing season, speculations are being made as to who could be their ideal opening pair.
Although the side has had a number of opening pairs in the past, it is since last season, when skipper Steve Smith, along with English wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler, are being backed as the best pair. Recently, former Windies cricketer-turned commentator Ian Bishop gave his verdict on the same.
Bishop feels that the energy level of RR would certainly be boosted by the arrival of Buttler. He also feels that Buttler's hard-hitting nature would allow Smith to play his natural and composed gameplay.
"I think it is a good blend for the Rajasthan Royals, who depend heavily on their overseas players to win them a lot of games. So, if you got Smith to take that typical role, he will play as he sees deep into the innings and allows the other guys to fashion their innings from the other end," Bishop quoted to ESPNCricinfo.
Supporting Bishop's view, Sanjay Manjrekar, too, felt that the pair is best for opening, as the firm start would allow Sanju Samson to come in at number three and play even more freely. He also feels that Samson batting at number three won't make a huge difference at all.
"Interesting, because I don't think it is going to make that much of a difference if they have Samson opening with Buttler and Steve Smith batting at No.3. But, I think the way Buttler bats, Steve Smith at the opening position just allows him to be the guy who slowly gets into the innings and plays through the innings and then, Sanju Samson can just come out and start blasting," said Manjrekar.
Besides the opening pair, Bishop also warned to watch out for South African hard-hitter David Miller. Although the latter was dismissed through an unfortunate run out, Bishop feels that Miller can turn out to be a real game-changer, especially through his swash-buckling batting in the death overs.
"I wouldn't want RR to take David Miller out of the equation, because as I talked about that batting being carried by a lot of overseas players. I think Miller can be as destructive as anyone if you nip out two of their top early. Miller at his best anyway should be a game-changer," Bishop further noted.