The Indian Premier League frenzy has raised the bar high with every team ready to give their all to get an early advantage in the points table in the initial stage of the 12th edition of the league. Looking at the points table, all the franchises have played 3 matches till now and only Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals are yet to register a win in the ongoing tournament.
Virat Kohli's RCB have been performing poorly which is the sole reason behind their results but in the case of Rajasthan Royals, they have been playing decent cricket, but still are not able to hold their nerves in the crunch situations.
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Looking at Rajasthan's results, in the first match where the Mankading controversy fired up, RR lost the match by 14 runs to Ravichandran Ashwin's Kings XI Punjab. In the second match against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Royals' Sanju Samson smashed a scintillating century, his second in the league, but went in vain against Warner's power show. The southpaw's counter-attacking innings guided the home team to a 5-wicket victory. In the third match against MS Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings, RR came short of 8 runs. It was RR's to win at the M A Chidambaram Stadium, but couldn't deliver in the high-pressure clash.
Despite having a few big overseas names in their den which includes England's Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Australia's Steve Smith and Barbados' Jofra Archer, they currently lie at the bottom of the table.
After the three matches, it is crystal clear that Rajasthan's bowling department and inconsistency in the middle-order are the weak links in their game.
Rajasthan Royals made similar mistakes in past few seasons as in the 2018 edition, they bought strike bowler Jaydev Unadkat for whopping 11.5 Crores, but didn't live up to the hype. He ended the 2018 edition with only 11 wickets in his bag after 15 matches and Royals released him after that.
In 2019 IPL auction, out of nowhere, Rajasthan bought him again, this time for a massive 8.5 crores which raised many eyebrows once again. The heavy price tag raises the stakes on Unadkat's shoulder and in the three matches so far, he had a severely poor economy rate of 12.4.
When it comes to the middle order, Steve Smith is the backbone of the RR squad, but as of now, he isn't showing the character that his team needed from him in the crunch situations.
In the match against CSK, he scored 28 off 30 balls, then threw his wicket away when RR wanted someone to hold the wicket from one hand. In their opening match against KXIP, Smith was the part of RR's batting collapse as their most dependable batsman departed for only 20 runs.
After the hattrick of defeats, skipper Ajinkya Rahane is still hoping to get some luck on his side.
But luck should not be the only thing that Rahane's boys need right now, actually, they require that someone from their team step up and finish the game for their team. The other thing that they need to sort out how to get the best out of Unadkat.
Rajasthan Royals next face a hapless Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 2 (Tuesday), but the big query arises as to which franchise will stand tall at the end of the day after going winless so far.