Things have not been great for the Rajasthan Royals in the last three years. They are now making a return to the IPL after a two-year hiatus due to their involvement in unbecoming activities. They had retained Steve Smith in the auctions but he was later barred from playing in the IPL following the ball-tampering controversy.
Let's take a look at the probable playing XI for RR in their first match against Rajasthan Royals.
Ajinkya Rahane (Captain):
No real doubts about his selection in the playing XI. As Steve Smith is not there anymore, Rahane will be the captain of the side. A technically sound batsman, Rahane has done well in the IPL over the years.
Tripathi performed very well for the Rising Pune Supergiants last season. Played at a strike-rate of over 145, he showcased his talent last year.
Sanju is a young talent and an outstanding batsman who will be playing according to the situation. He can play carefully and rotate the strike, can also play very destructively.
The best all-rounder in the whole world right now. Once again, Stokes was the costliest player to be bought by any franchise in the auctions. He will play an important role in Rajasthan’s success this year.
Klassen showcased his talent against India in limited overs cricket. Very dangerous against spinners, he is capable of hitting huge sixes.
Jos Buttler (WK):
Wicket-keeping batsman from England, Buttler will be the main finisher in the team. He plays well against spin and is a very fine wicket-keeper as well.
Binny can give you 2-3 overs if any bowler is not in the best rhythm. He can come out and hit big at the end of the innings with the bat as well.
Bought for Rs 6.2 crore, Royals better play Gowtham. He bowls at an economy rate of 7.06 in T20 cricket, and bats at a strike rate of 159.79. A T20 specialist.
A very fine fast bowler, Archer bowls under an economy of 8, which is decent in T20 cricket. He had a fine Big Bash League, taking 17 wickets in 13 matches. He can bat decently as well, with a strike rate of 143 in T20s.
Left-arm seamer in the team, Unadkat has developed several variations, which may prove to be dangerous for the batsman. Had a very good IPL last year and will be key for the Royals.
Been with the Rajasthan Royals in the past as well, Kulkarni can swing the new ball well. Remember his spell against RCB in Qualifier 1 of 2016, where he demolished the entire batting line-up.
Two good openers who have done well in the previous seasons of the IPL followed by a very fine youngster at number 3. Don’t need to say a lot about the middle order comprising of three classy overseas batsmen in Stokes, Klassen and Buttler, giving you the best finishers as well. Bowling looks very decent as well. Sounds like Royals have a balanced XI, having covered all bases.