Rajasthan Royals (RR) have a chance to jump to fourth in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 points table with a win over Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). SRH have struggled all season and find themselves at the foot of the table. With two wins in two since the restart, RR have given themselves a chance of making it to the playoffs.
Talking about reasons for SRH’s struggles this season, former India wicketkeeper Saba Karim reckons it is due to the lack of wickets with the new ball.
“It must be a very tough phase for the Sunrisers. In the past 2-3 seasons, they have put together a solid combination and most of the players have performed quite well. This season unfortunately for them things have gone down in the dumps, mostly because their quality players are not performing. Look at David Warner, look at Kane Williamson – no runs at all from them especially in the second leg,” Karim said on Cricket.com’s Man vs Machine.
“Then you have some of the experienced players who have not come up to the mark – like Bhuvneshwar Kumar – has struggled to pick up wickets with the new ball and if you notice in the second leg in the IPL, the teams with strike bowlers have had success, with the new ball – look at Delhi Capitals, look at CSK, look at even Punjab Kings, the way they beat Sunrisers in the previous game. So, if you have top quality pace bowlers who are there to take wicket with the new ball, more chances of the team to succeed,” he further added.
RR, on the other hand, do not have the services of Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes, who Karim reckons are the ‘nucleus of the side,’ but adds that they have replaced them with good talents.
“They are a young side, they have suffered badly due to injury – no Jofra Archer, no Ben Stokes, no Jos Buttler – that means they have taken away the nucleus of the side. Having said that, they have stitched together some good overseas pros – like Livingstone – he is such a match-winner. Also some youngsters they have in their XI – all these people have been able to put up some stellar performances. Look at Lomror for that matter, he came good in the last game,” Karim said.
While praising Sanju Samson, Karim also called for the need of stitching valuable partnerships at the top.
“Sanju Samson as captain, as a batter has been far more consistent than what he has been in the past. So, it is a young and enthusiastic side. But at times you do struggle if you lose wickets early especially against quality bowling sides like Delhi Capitals. So if they can stitch some valuable partnerships up the order, they will have far more chances of winning in the IPL. They still remain in the fray to qualify for the playoffs,” Karim, who has played one Test and 34 ODIs for India, adds.
Batting in the powerplays has been an issue for RR this season. Who have a run-rate of seven in the first six overs, which is only better than Punjab Kings (6.8). Karim feels there is a need to address that. While Evin Leiws’s participation remains in doubt, Karim says that the experience of a senior player like David Miller has to come through.
“They were hard done by the fact that Evin Lewis, who scored 30-odd in the first game, he looked to be in good form, but unfortunately, he was injured,” Karim said.
“So, they had to bring in David Miller at No. 4, didn’t succeed. Miller has been around for number of years. You expect a batter like Miller, who has had international experience, who had had number of years of IPL experience to come good. When you are sitting at the auction table and pick players on their credentials, you expect their players to fire. When they don’t do so, there’s not much the team management or the coaching staff can do. You can always offer some advice, in terms of temperament, in terms of calculative risk that you have to take. Then it boils down to individuals’ ability to perform at these crucial junctures.”
“Yes, Livingstone remains a dangerous player for RR. He is batting up the order and I hope Evin Lewis gets fit and comes back in the XI. He will be able to replace David Miller. That offers more stability to RR. Samson and top 2-3 batters need to play a big role,” Karim added.
While SRH are out of contention for a place in the playoffs, RR, with a win today, will blow the competition for a place in the top four wide open.