IPL 2018: Catches win matches! Rajasthan desperately need to learn basics

Photo: PTI
Remember how commentators used to say, "In the air, taken. Good catch". Well, it seems that in VIVO Indian Premier League (IPL 2018), commentators should amend that statement to, "In the air, dropped. Pathetic effort!". 

Rajasthan Royals (RR), it seems, have decided that they will set the benchmark for dropping dollies. In the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), Rahul Tripathi dropped Kane Williamson's catch. It was easier than a dolly, to put it mildly. A life was given to Williamson and he made the most of it by scoring 63 off 43 balls. Ben Stokes too dropped one. It was tough but this was no gully cricket. Such catches needed to be pouched. 

SRH had a reason to bat first. They have the best bowling attack in IPL 2018 and they can defend any score. They know this, rest of the teams know this, everyone knows this. Why did RR make no plans for it? RR bowlers never looked in the mood to take wickets. They went for containing runs, in which they sort of failed. Jofra Archer took wickets in the final overs but he had no support from any of his teammates. Jaydev Unadkat, the costliest Indian in IPL 2018, gave no support, neither did Dhawal Kulkarni. 

Ben Stokes' abysmal show continues. He has been nothing but a disappointment. The tag of the all-rounder is something he doesn't deserve any more. He is more of a liability than a seasoned campaigner. He did nothing to stop run or take wickets. His presence in the team is questionable. Since the Ashes incident, Stokes has not been in the touch he used to be. Hence, the not-so-good batting team ended up scoring 151-7. 

Chasing a modest target of 152, RR was off to a modest start. Not hitting too much, not trying to score very quickly, not even taking many doubles, it got really confusing what were the RR batsmen doing. Rahul Tripathi was trying a little too much. There was no need to step out to a pacer and then get bamboozled. He was dismissed cheaply. No batsman showed the character to build the innings. They never took doubles or tried to convert singles to doubles. 

Ajinkya Rahane, who remained not out, failed his team. It was his responsibility to make sure his team wins. He never tried to up the ante in the middle over, giving the opportunity to SRH bowlers to gain the upper hand. He scored 65 in 53 balls (5 fours and 1 six). His counterpart Kane Williamson played 43 balls scoring 63 runs (7 fours and 2 sixes). This difference is because Kane took more doubles that Rahane did. He lacked the winning attitude. 

Sanju Samson failed to live up to the expectation. He needs to realise that he is not a lower-middle order batsman who comes to play cameos. He is a top order batsman who builds the innings and sees it through. He hit some shots but due to his recklessness, his team suffered. The team management and the coaching staff needs to get behind him and tell him what his role is if RR want something good for themselves. 

Two words are enough for Ben Stokes — utter failure. Be it the bat or the ball, Stokes has been a failure. He played a pathetic shot to get dismissed cheaply, leaving his team in trouble. Same was the case of Jos Butler. It is a mystery when will these two batsmen will win matches for RR. 

Overall, failed batting and below average fielding let Rajasthan Royals down. This is nothing but gifting matches to the opposition. With coach Shane Warne back for the team, some serious thinking is needed to get RR's campaign back on track.

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