‘Neither Here, not there’. This line describes the RR season best. They qualified for the playoffs, but failed to make an impact on the tournament. Individual performances can win you matches, but to win tournaments, you need a team effort. Apart from 4 to 5 individuals, no player drew attention to themselves through his play. Captaincy was an issue. For those of you who are thinking that next year, Steve Smith will be back at RR, you are wrong. Smith and Warner were released by their respective teams after the ball-tampering act so now they don’t belong to any team. They will be bid on in the auction, and there is a good chance that RR won’t be able to attain Smith’s services.
Ajinkya Rahane – 4.5
The biggest disappointment of this whole IPL for Rajasthan is Rahane for sure. In a study by ESPN Cricinfo, they say that if Rahane hadn’t batted at all this season, RR would have scored 6 runs more in every match! That’s 78 runs he has cost RR. The 370 runs he scored at a ‘smart’ strike rate of 101 demeans everything that T20 Cricket stands for. As I said before, his captaincy was not as good as an Indian captain’s should be, and players were not used properly. Rahane needs to buckle up and I hope he leads India better in the Test Match against Afghanistan.
Jofra Archer – 9.0
The RR setup depended on three players for three aspects of the game. Archer controlled the fast-bowling lineup. He came to the IPL with a reputation of a big-hitter and a raw pace bowler. He sure was a raw pace bowler, but failed to live up to his reputation of a pinch hitter. Anyway, his bowling was accurate and tailenders were blinded by his pace and top order batsmen had no choice but to block the balls defensively.
Shreyas Gopal – 7.5
11 matches and 11 wickets is not really bad. But what actually deserves points is that he delivered when the team needed him to. I won’t be wrong when I say that both matches that RR played against RCB were won because of him. He took the wicket of the best batsman in the world, Virat Kohli, and the superman of cricket, AB De Villiers, not once but twice. I’m sure he would’ve done better had he been given more chances.
D’Arcy Short – 4.5
There were big expectations from him when he came as the leading run scorer in the Big Bash League but he failed to impress at the biggest T20 league in the world. He actually got a hat-trick of ducks (getting out at 0) along the way and was then dropped from the team. Short shouldn’t count on playing for Rajasthan next season as he has failed to perform for this team.
Krishnappa Gowtham – 9.5
Questions were asked when he was picked up at a price of 6.2 Crores at the auction. But he proved he was worth every penny. In almost every match, he provided a match-winning performance with either the bat or ball. As I said before, 3 players were handling the reigns for 3 different aspects of the game. Gowtham led the spinning lineup and the all-rounders too. RR needed a pinch hitter to open with Tripathi. They experimented with Jofra Archer, but after that was unsuccessful, they could’ve tried with Gowtham too. But that might be done when he dons the Royal Blue next season.
Jaydev Unadkat – 4.0
Jaydev Unadkat was paid 1 Crore rupees for every wicket he took in this IPL. He has permanently added his name to most disappointing players and might just make it to my list of all-time most overrated players. The team played him in every match, hoping that he would find his groove, but he never did. As a result, RR’s bowling looked weak and they weren’t able to defend scores easily.
Ben Stokes – 4.0
Ben Stokes definitely makes my list of all time disappointing players. He was given 6,37,551 rupees for every run that he scored and 1,56,25,000 rupees for every wicket he took. Contestants who go to ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ might as well save all that stress of learning those facts by simply going on a cricket ground, bowling a loose ball, taking a fluke wicket and earning more than 1.5 Crores. Anyway, Stokes is a quality player and I’m sure he will come back strong next year.
Jos Buttler – 10.0
The story of Jos Buttler has been an interesting one. Finisher for the longest time. Opener to hit freely. For RR, he did both the roles in such a way that he managed to single-handedly change RR’s whole season and get them to qualify. This season has been a breakthrough season for Buttler the opener. IPL 2018 has also helped Buttler get called back to the England Test Team. How wonderful is it, that good performances in a T20 League halfway across the globe, got a player a chance to represent his own country in a different format of the game altogether.