Middle overs will decide the outcome of Rajasthan-Gujarat clash: Nannes

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14 Apr 2022 | 03:35 AM
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Middle overs will decide the outcome of Rajasthan-Gujarat clash: Nannes

The two teams have been far from perfect but have still managed to win three of their four games in IPL 2022

Rajasthan Royals have won three of their four games and are currently at the top of the points table in the Indian Premier League 2022 but former Netherlands and Australia fast bowler Dirk Nannes believes they still have some chinks in their armour. The likes of Sanju Samson and Devdutt Padikkal haven’t really set the tournament on fire, while R Ashwin has been economical but has picked up only one wicket in four encounters. The Royals will now take on Gujarat Titans on Thursday (April 14).

“There are still a few challenges they have. Hetmyer has got the best average and Buttler is doing really well at the top-order but RR haven’t been fantastic. Padikkal hasn’t really nailed his spot, averaging his mid-20s and striking at less than 130. You would have to do more than that. Samson is also averaging in the mid-20s but has a good strike rate,” Nannes told Cricket.com. 

“There are some batters who haven’t really been nailing and likewise with the ball. Ashwin has taken only one wicket in the tournament and that’s a big concern for me. He has a great economy, he always does but you still need him chipping away with wickets and he hasn’t done that. And, no one really has nailed that fifth-bowler spot. On form at the moment, they can go all the way but there are few question marks.”

However, Jos Buttler and Shimron Hetmyer have been superb for the Royals. The former has scored 218 runs at a strike rate of 141.55, while the left-hander from West Indies has slammed 168 runs at an average of 84 and a strike rate of 178.72. And, Nannes wants Gujarat skipper Hardik Pandya to use legspinner Rashid Khan against them, especially Buttler.

“I am bowling Rashid Khan to Jos Buttler, that’s for sure. Sometimes we do overanalyse and both Buttler and Hetmyer are starting to become a big problem for the oppositions. I am sure they will try to work out a game plan. I am not talking about playing him out because T20 cricket has gone past simply playing a bowler out. You need to be slightly attacking against him and the game will depend on how these three play him.”

The Titans too have won three out of four matches but have a couple of players who haven’t done much so far in the competition. In the bowling department, Mohammed Shami, Lockie Ferguson, Rashid and Pandya have been pretty good but they haven’t been able to find that fifth bowler. The likes of Darshan Nalkande and Rahul Tewatia have been very expensive but Nannes thinks it’s still too early to make too many changes.’

“David Miller is in a little bit of trouble because he is batting at 5 and is striking at close to 120. So, what really is he bringing at the moment? However, I would be reluctant to change things around at the moment. They have won three out of four and I am not too worried about having Miller in the middle-order. But again, they haven’t been able to find that fifth bowler. Nalkande hasn’t been impressive in the two games he has played, while Tewatia too has been expensive. Still, I wouldn’t be too worried and make wholesome changes.”

The Titans have been superb in the powerplay but their bowlers have struggled big time in the middle overs. They have operated at an economy of 9.5 in that phase, which is the second-worst in the tournament. 

“That’s exactly where this game is going to be won or lost. The ball will move early in the innings but once it starts getting tired, it will be interesting to see how teams pounce on that. And, how aggressive can you be in that phase, and the key for Gujarat would be to win that phase and they haven’t done that so far. I would love Rashid to bowl one over to Buttler and then he can try and capitalise in the middle phase.”

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Rajasthan Royals vs Gujarat TitansIndian Premier League, 2022Rajasthan RoyalsGujarat TitansDirk NannesRashid KhanJos ButtlerShimron HetmyerRavichandran AshwinDavid Miller

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