Rajasthan Royals were surely not looked at as one of the favourties heading into Indian Premier League 2020, but with a squad that featured three of England’s finest white-ball cricketers in Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, they were expected to put up a good fight for a playoffs spot.
Their place in the points table will not reflect how close they came to achieving that. Sadly for the Royals, they went a step further from their seventh-place finish in 2019 to come in last this time around in the United Arab Emirates.
Led by Australia star Steve Smith throughout the season, the men in pink struggled for consistency and were overtaken on the points table by Chennai Super Kings in the final leg of the group stage in a cruel twist of fate.
Despite some moments of extraordinary brilliance, Rajasthan faced issues in both the batting and bowling departments in IPL 2020. The batting order was far from steady for the most part and captain Smith’s lean form only made matter worse.
The two bright spots for them this season were undoubtedly Rahul Tewatia and Jofra Archer.
While Tewatia was a revelation with his big hitting and economical leg-spin bowling, Archer was simply outstanding as the leader of the pack. The right-arm quick had the highest dot-ball percentage for any bowler this season and many a time kept RR in the game single-handedly.
RR's results in every IPL season
|Season||League stage finish||Playoff result|
|IPL 2011||6th out of 10||––|
|IPL 2012||7th out of 9||––|
|IPL 2013||3rd out of 9||Won Eliminator, Lost Qualifier 2|
|IPL 2015||4th||Lost in the Eliminator|
|IPL 2018||4th||Lost in the Eliminator|
Rajasthan Royals started the season with a bang. They first defeated CSK and then rode on Tewatia’s heroics to record the highest-ever chase in the IPL in a truly memorable performance against Kings XI Punjab. But from there on, they went on to lose four matches in a row and could never recover from that slide.
Such was the competitiveness this time around that the 2008 IPL champions had a faint chance of sneaking into the playoffs after winning their 12th and 13th games, but a defeat in the final round ensured they finished at the bottom.
RR's match results in IPL 2020
|RR vs CSK||Sharjah||RR won by 16 runs|
|RR vs KXIP||Sharjah||RR won by 4 wickets|
|RR vs KKR||Dubai||RR lost by 37 runs|
|RCB vs RR||Abu Dhabi||RR lost by 8 wickets|
|MI vs RR||Abu Dhabi||RR lost by 57 runs|
|RR vs DC||Sharjah||RR lost by 46 runs|
|SRH vs RR||Dubai||RR won by 5 wickets|
|DC vs RR||Dubai||RR lost by 13 runs|
|RR vs RCB||Dubai||RR lost by 7 wickets|
|CSK vs RR||Abu Dhabi||RR won by 7 wickets|
|RR vs SRH||Dubai||RR lost by 8 wickets|
|RR vs MI||Abu Dhabi||RR won by 8 wickets|
|KXIP vs RR||Abu Dhabi||RR won by 7 wickets|
|KKR vs RR||Dubai||RR lost by 60 runs|
Not a single Rajasthan batsman performed consistently through the season. Sanju Samson started strong but as is often the case with him, he failed to sustain his form. Ben Stokes missed nearly half the season but showed what he’s capable of with a superb century against Mumbai Indians, showing he can deliver as an opener too. However, consistency eluded him.
A lot was expected of Jos Buttler but he too had an underwhelming season, both at the top of the order and in the middle. Captain Smith struggled to find the right position in the batting order and his average of 25.91 did little to help his team’s cause.
Tewatia was undoubtedly impressive lower down the order and punched well above his weight, finishing the season as the only Indian player with 10+ wickets and 250+ runs.
Most runs for RR in IPL 2020
It really is a shame that Archer was so often forced to fight a lone battle with the ball for Rajasthan. The 25-year-old was lethal throughout, dismissing the best batsmen in the league and giving nothing away in his spells. But his colleagues in the bowling department struggled to even get close to his level.
Tewatia, again, was fairly effective with the ball, but the rest were a disappointment. Shreyas Gopal was far from his best and the likes of Jaydev Unadkat and Ankit Rajpoot were taken to cleaners by batsmen at will. Young Kartik Tyagi showed sparks but he too finished with an economy-rate of 9.61.
It was this lack of firepower in the bowling that cost Rajasthan a number of matches, leaving Smith huffing and puffing on the field. Had their bowlers done a little better, they could well have grabbed a place in the top four.
Most wickets for RR in IPL 2020
Video highlights of all RR matches in IPL 2020
Highlights videos courtesy: iplt20.com