The Rajasthan Royals (RR) were tipped to be one of the most all-round sides heading into the 2022 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), and if their first game against Sunrisers Hyderabad is any indication, the Men in Pink looked like contenders.
As the saying goes, a good start is half the battle won. Captain Sanju Samson and coach Kumar Sangakkara will be pleased with the Royals’ performance on Tuesday in Pune, given the manner both hitters and bowlers performed.
With Sanju Samson’s 55-run knock, Rajasthan reached 210/6 in 20 overs. Devdutt Padikkal chipped in with a 41-run blast. Then Prasidh Krishna and Yuzvendra Chahal were at their best with the ball, leaving SunRisers Hyderabad scratching their heads. Rajasthan won by a comfortable margin because none of Hyderabad’s top-order batsmen could stay at the crease for long. With the bat, Aiden Markram and Washington Sundar shone for Hyderabad, scoring 57 and 40 runs, respectively.
- Great knock from Samson
Sanju Samson, the skipper of the Royals, has a fantastic record in the first three games of every IPL season since 2017, but his run-scoring has dwindled far too often for him as the season progressed. It certainly improved last season, when he collected 484 runs in 14 games at an average of 40.33 in his first year as RR’s captain.
Given a spot in India’s T20I squad up for grabs, Samson is full of confidence, and with the start he got, blasting both pace and spin with total disdain in his 55-run knock, everyone in the Royals camp, including him, will be hoping this is the year for him.
- New Ambition
The Rajasthan Royals have been persistent underachievers in recent IPL seasons, failing to advance to the next round in each of the last three seasons. Something has damaged the Royals, whether it was a change in leadership, inconsistent performances, or injuries to key players, but the mega auction gave the initial champions a chance to rejig their squad, and they constructed possibly the strongest all-round squad out of the ten teams in the league.
From young Indian batsmen like Jaiswal and Padikkal to explosive overseas options like Buttler and Shimron Hetmyer, the bowling attack features two of India’s most experienced T20 bowlers in R Ashwin and Chahal, as well as developing Prasidh Krishna and the Nathan Coulter-Nile tandem from Mumbai.
- What about Sunrisers?
Washington Sundar is a capable T20 player who, when not bowling, can produce with the bat, as he demonstrated on Tuesday evening. The same can be said for Abhishek Sharma of Punjab, who is a talented all-rounder who will contribute a few overs and runs at the top. However, both of them must fill some extremely large shoes left by the format’s heavyweights, Rashid Khan and David Warner.
The Sunrisers’ bowling has big holes this year, thanks to an all-Indian pace attack, and Kane Williamson will be hoping that they fill them sooner rather than later, or else it could be another long season for the Orange Army.