Rajasthan Royals IPL 2014 review May 26, 2014

Too much tinkering topples Royals

Rajasthan Royals were in a pretty much unassailable position to reach the playoffs with five matches to go, but their season collapsed dramatically amid a raft of odd tactical decisions
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Where they finished

Fifth, with seven wins from 14 matches.

What went right

As they so often do, Rajasthan Royals squeezed the most out of their uncapped Indian players. Pravin Tambe, Rajat Bhatia, Ankit Sharma, Rahul Tewatia were mostly economical with the ball, and Karun Nair was a revelation with the bat.

Royals' Australian finishers - Steven Smith, Brad Hodge and James Faulkner - all performed well when called upon, with Smith and Faulkner pulling off a spectacular heist against Royal Challengers Bangalore. All three finished with 30-plus averages and 130-plus strike rates, but it was not an unqualified success; Royals could have made much better use of them. It tells you something that all three players ended with highest scores in the 40s, and that two of them were not-outs.

What went wrong

Tactics, tactics, tactics. It started early in the season, with Royals choosing to open with Abhishek Nayar and persisting with a clearly out-of-form Stuart Binny at No. 5, ahead of Steven Smith and James Faulkner. These decisions did not attract too much opprobrium, however, since Royals were putting the results on the table.

In fact, after they beat Royal Challengers Bangalore on May 11, the table suggested they were in a pretty unassailable position as far as qualification was concerned. They were third, with a four-point cushion separating them from Kolkata Knight Riders in fourth, and had a healthy, positive net run rate of +0.250. They had five matches left, and two wins would seal the deal for them. Even one win might have been enough.

At that precise point, they chose to hand the responsibility of drawing up their tactics to the nine-year-old nephew of a member of their match-day catering staff. Or so their team management made it look, with every bizarre decision they made.

Against Chennai Super Kings, right after Karun Nair and Ajinkya Rahane had put on a brisk half-century stand against Royal Challengers, they chose to open with Ankit Sharma and Shane Watson. Against Mumbai Indians, chasing 179, they sent in Kevon Cooper, Stuart Binny and Ankit ahead of Brad Hodge (who had replaced Steven Smith out of the blue) and James Faulkner.

Against Kings XI Punjab, at a time when they knew the race for fourth was getting tight, they brought in Vikramjeet Malik for his first game of the season. And then, chasing 180, they sent in Binny and Rahul Tewatia ahead of Hodge and Faulkner.

They lost all three games, all fairly narrowly, but a win over the hapless Delhi Daredevils meant they were still favourites to go through ahead of their final game against Mumbai Indians. They did as well as they could with the bat in that game, but their bowlers went through a collective brain-freeze. It might not have come to this had they been consistent with their selections and played their best eleven, with everyone in their best position in the crunch games, leading up to the final day of the league phase.

Key stat

Royals won five out of six games against the teams that finished below them. They also beat Kolkata Knight Riders twice, in two freakish matches - they won one of them on boundary count following a tied Super Over, and the other by 10 runs, after Knight Riders collapsed to lose six wickets for two runs - and these were Royals' only wins against teams that finished above them. They failed to win a single game against Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings or Kings XI Punjab.

Best player

In a productive tournament for quickish, accurate legspinners - Royal Challengers' Yuzvendra Chahal and Sunrisers' Karn Sharma enjoyed similar levels of success - Pravin Tambe was Royals' go-to bowler and a regular source of wickets in the middle overs. All his 15 wickets came in the 10-over period between the end of the Powerplay and the start of the 17th over - he was, in fact, the tournament's highest wicket-taker in that phase.

Tambe wasn't really expected to repeat his success from last year's Champions League, but he remained just as hard to hit, and just as capable of surprising batsmen and on occasion, even ran through teams. He finished with figures of 4 for 20 as Royals rolled Royal Challengers over for 70 in Abu Dhabi. And then, most memorably, he took a hat-trick against Knight Riders in Ahmedabad to stop what looked an odds-on chase of 171 in its tracks.

Worst player

Stuart Binny can lay claim to this title, having been retained by Royals, having batted mostly at No. 5, usually ahead of Steven Smith, and for ending the tournament with an average of 12.30 and a strike rate of 101.65. But because more was expected from him, the honour will instead go to Royals' captain, Shane Watson.

Watson flickered only sporadically with the bat, and ended the season with an average of 20 and a strike rate of 122.44. He did not bowl all that often, and did not bowl particularly well when he had a go. It is probably unfair to pin the blame on him for Royals' tactical messes, considering their backroom staff probably played a bigger role in selection and batting-order decisions, but he often looked a confused leader on the field as well.

Watson's worst performance came in Royals' final game, when he opened the batting and scored 8 off 18 balls, gave away 33 runs in two overs - bowling short and wide with third man in the circle - and wore a blank look on his face as Brad Hodge took charge of the field placements.

Surprise package

Karun Nair had enjoyed a spectacular debut season in first-class cricket, in which he had scored three consecutive centuries to help Karnataka win the Ranji Trophy. Spectacular first-class seasons, however, do not always translate into IPL opportunities, and IPL opportunities often don't translate into instant success.

Nair, though, looked a natural right from the start, composed at the crease and full of scoring options. He did not have to deviate too much from orthodox cricket shots to score quickly, and used the square cut to particularly good effect against the spinners. He scored three half-centuries, including an ice-cool 27-ball 50 in the fourth-place decider against Mumbai Indians, and a 39-ball 56 that set up Royals' spectacular chase against Royal Challengers.

Memorable moment

For 16 overs, Royal Challengers had dominated proceedings at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. Yuvraj Singh had returned to form in spectacular fashion to propel them to 190, and he had demolished Royals' middle order, taking four wickets with his left-arm spin. And then, with 65 to get from the last four overs, Smith and Faulkner exploded to life. Faulkner smashed two fours and a six as Mitchell Starc went for 21 in the 17th over, and Smith took 14 off the first three balls of the next over, from Ashok Dinda. Royals were suddenly within sight. In the end, they didn't even need a 20th over, as Faulkner finished it off with a clinical assault on a helpless Varun Aaron, taking Royals home with seven balls to spare.

Unused players

Amit Mishra, Ankush Bains, and Deepak Hooda.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on May 29, 2014, 16:38 GMT

    Its good that they did not qualify for if they had anyone to blame its only themselves. And it all comes down to just 2 reasons viz. bizarre tactics and horrendous death bowling. The latter does not need elaboration, the former too does not... but just to quote a few examples - Watson not fit to be captain had to be Smith instead, Smith dropped for the last few matches absolutely inexplicable, Tambe bowling just 2 overs in the last match when everyone knows that Anderson is not great against spin, Abhishek Nayar opening in the initial games and Watson not opening, Stuart Binny continuing to be persisted when everyone else played musical chairs, Faulkner bowling leg side full tosses in the last over when situation cried for bowling wide off stump with a third man, Chand playing in the first game against Mumbai .... the list is endless... The two shining lights though were Karun Nair and Sanju Samson - hope they have great careers ahead.

  • on May 28, 2014, 0:29 GMT

    They assumed,quite prematurely, that they are already in the play-offs. That one assumption snowballed into into subsequent disasters and disorientation. A classic case of a team of good guys and support staff defeating themselves.

  • on May 27, 2014, 18:59 GMT

    Continuing where I left RR in quest of strengthening the batting went one bowler short in form of Bhatia they dropped Binny I was happy but replacement choice Abhishek Nayar was a bad one they needed Bhatia he is a better bowler and batsman than Nayar if i am not wrong Ankit Sharma the offie was in team and never bowled a over tactics cost them but some good batting talent has been unearthened I salute Royals for that

  • on May 27, 2014, 18:56 GMT

    Being a Royals fan I agree with most of the things the author has said Hodge for Smith was fine as Hodge has performed in the matches he got the chance.My only concern was the love for Binny this guy plays all 13 games hardly scores nor bowls and aint a great fielder.Since you have retained you wanna play fine no issue if Binny was to be in playing I would have ideally played him ahead of Tambe as every other player was better than him.RR made one big tactical mistake they branded Faulkner Hodge Smith as finishers and excepted them to win all games after all was lost.Hodge Faulkner batting at 8 &9 and who bats ahead of them Rahul Tewatia Ankit Sharma Stuart Binny.Even in scenarios where RR were to loose by big margin Faulkner and Hodge hit hard and reduced the margins.Dravid probably took IPL as platform to promote indian talent a bit too seriously and kept sending Indians ahead of proven match winners.In final game I was happy that they sent sanju karun faulkner hodge against rahane

  • indianzen on May 27, 2014, 16:24 GMT

    I respect RR the most because, they have their brought a lot of Uncapped Indian players out and exposed all the talents... I am sure that these guys are going to shine in the domestic cricket and will soon play for India... It ain't over until the fat lady sings...

  • on May 27, 2014, 13:51 GMT

    Stop it you guys. For the team that spent the least amount of money and had the least heralded team, RR still did better than some other heavy weight teams. At the end they just missed out by a whisker whereas the other big teams were never in the contention. And all the experts called RR the favorites for the wooden spoon. They were far from it. Also remember that RR didnt have a home ground - last year they were unbeaten in Jaipur. So be fair in your assessment.

  • CricketMaan on May 27, 2014, 13:19 GMT

    Dravid,Upton, Watto needs to share the blame. Steven Smith should be the captian and Brad Hodge if does not play another IPL should be the coach. On the otherhand, Royals missed home advantage and Mumbai qualified purely on home advantage. Bhatia over Binny was baffling. Faulkner in death has not worked in the past to, so to ask him to bowl that over was disater. Royals messed up with too much tinkering, quite opposite to what CSK does with hardly any changes to thier core group. SRH and RR have got thier combo wrong in most games, while CSK did that a few times. MI are the luckiest to be in finals. I see KKR vs Punjab finals, but I wont count out MI coz they might get to play two games in Mumbai and have a upper hand over any team with an maximum support.

  • on May 27, 2014, 12:31 GMT

    Fantastic... the better four team progressed into playoffs. if you see Rajasthan was not very consistent.... just winning a match or two out of the blue like beating RCB would not change the result of the tournament. Rajasthan Team thinkering was the worst ever in the IPL

  • srinideva on May 27, 2014, 12:00 GMT

    It ain't over till the fat lady sings. true

  • on May 27, 2014, 11:00 GMT

    Rajasthan Royals did not qualify as overall in 14 games each team played, the other 4 which qualified faired better... I do not believe that changing players and chopping and changing matters much in the whole scheme of things as if it worked... people would have said - wow!! good bench strength, giving all players chances for the qualifiers etc etc. Against Banglore - Faulknar and Smith were good on the day and it paid of, against Mumbai, the team bowled poorly and its that simple.. can not blame the captain or the coach.. every player has to take responsibility and if that happens collectively it makes it appear like a good team performance! STOP criticising team selection and enjoy the game. Its yours one day and someone else's on a different day... God Bless

  • on May 29, 2014, 16:38 GMT

    Its good that they did not qualify for if they had anyone to blame its only themselves. And it all comes down to just 2 reasons viz. bizarre tactics and horrendous death bowling. The latter does not need elaboration, the former too does not... but just to quote a few examples - Watson not fit to be captain had to be Smith instead, Smith dropped for the last few matches absolutely inexplicable, Tambe bowling just 2 overs in the last match when everyone knows that Anderson is not great against spin, Abhishek Nayar opening in the initial games and Watson not opening, Stuart Binny continuing to be persisted when everyone else played musical chairs, Faulkner bowling leg side full tosses in the last over when situation cried for bowling wide off stump with a third man, Chand playing in the first game against Mumbai .... the list is endless... The two shining lights though were Karun Nair and Sanju Samson - hope they have great careers ahead.

  • on May 28, 2014, 0:29 GMT

    They assumed,quite prematurely, that they are already in the play-offs. That one assumption snowballed into into subsequent disasters and disorientation. A classic case of a team of good guys and support staff defeating themselves.

  • on May 27, 2014, 18:59 GMT

    Continuing where I left RR in quest of strengthening the batting went one bowler short in form of Bhatia they dropped Binny I was happy but replacement choice Abhishek Nayar was a bad one they needed Bhatia he is a better bowler and batsman than Nayar if i am not wrong Ankit Sharma the offie was in team and never bowled a over tactics cost them but some good batting talent has been unearthened I salute Royals for that

  • on May 27, 2014, 18:56 GMT

    Being a Royals fan I agree with most of the things the author has said Hodge for Smith was fine as Hodge has performed in the matches he got the chance.My only concern was the love for Binny this guy plays all 13 games hardly scores nor bowls and aint a great fielder.Since you have retained you wanna play fine no issue if Binny was to be in playing I would have ideally played him ahead of Tambe as every other player was better than him.RR made one big tactical mistake they branded Faulkner Hodge Smith as finishers and excepted them to win all games after all was lost.Hodge Faulkner batting at 8 &9 and who bats ahead of them Rahul Tewatia Ankit Sharma Stuart Binny.Even in scenarios where RR were to loose by big margin Faulkner and Hodge hit hard and reduced the margins.Dravid probably took IPL as platform to promote indian talent a bit too seriously and kept sending Indians ahead of proven match winners.In final game I was happy that they sent sanju karun faulkner hodge against rahane

  • indianzen on May 27, 2014, 16:24 GMT

    I respect RR the most because, they have their brought a lot of Uncapped Indian players out and exposed all the talents... I am sure that these guys are going to shine in the domestic cricket and will soon play for India... It ain't over until the fat lady sings...

  • on May 27, 2014, 13:51 GMT

    Stop it you guys. For the team that spent the least amount of money and had the least heralded team, RR still did better than some other heavy weight teams. At the end they just missed out by a whisker whereas the other big teams were never in the contention. And all the experts called RR the favorites for the wooden spoon. They were far from it. Also remember that RR didnt have a home ground - last year they were unbeaten in Jaipur. So be fair in your assessment.

  • CricketMaan on May 27, 2014, 13:19 GMT

    Dravid,Upton, Watto needs to share the blame. Steven Smith should be the captian and Brad Hodge if does not play another IPL should be the coach. On the otherhand, Royals missed home advantage and Mumbai qualified purely on home advantage. Bhatia over Binny was baffling. Faulkner in death has not worked in the past to, so to ask him to bowl that over was disater. Royals messed up with too much tinkering, quite opposite to what CSK does with hardly any changes to thier core group. SRH and RR have got thier combo wrong in most games, while CSK did that a few times. MI are the luckiest to be in finals. I see KKR vs Punjab finals, but I wont count out MI coz they might get to play two games in Mumbai and have a upper hand over any team with an maximum support.

  • on May 27, 2014, 12:31 GMT

    Fantastic... the better four team progressed into playoffs. if you see Rajasthan was not very consistent.... just winning a match or two out of the blue like beating RCB would not change the result of the tournament. Rajasthan Team thinkering was the worst ever in the IPL

  • srinideva on May 27, 2014, 12:00 GMT

    It ain't over till the fat lady sings. true

  • on May 27, 2014, 11:00 GMT

    Rajasthan Royals did not qualify as overall in 14 games each team played, the other 4 which qualified faired better... I do not believe that changing players and chopping and changing matters much in the whole scheme of things as if it worked... people would have said - wow!! good bench strength, giving all players chances for the qualifiers etc etc. Against Banglore - Faulknar and Smith were good on the day and it paid of, against Mumbai, the team bowled poorly and its that simple.. can not blame the captain or the coach.. every player has to take responsibility and if that happens collectively it makes it appear like a good team performance! STOP criticising team selection and enjoy the game. Its yours one day and someone else's on a different day... God Bless

  • on May 27, 2014, 10:02 GMT

    Team management was to blame and not players or Watson. Thats what management is about.

  • on May 27, 2014, 8:42 GMT

    RR did not qualify because of the failure of their captain " Shane Watson " hardly he scored runs in this season for RR ofcourse he is better player then that but total failure in this season cost them hugely and as everyone said too many changes in the top order and when they got 14 points in the table they were thinking that they may qualify easily and they started to play lightly for me Shane watson has to come up with good performance with the bat as RR required his batting also not only bowling !!!

  • on May 27, 2014, 8:41 GMT

    Thats the problem with Indian Cricket, RR needs to understand and make note for next year "Not every Indian player is World Class" Maybe set up the Batting order That the Inexperience players play with World class Player. Biggest Mistake Hodge should of opened the Batting, Faulkner never lower than 6 this way 3 and 5 can be used for less experience

  • BlueTiger11 on May 27, 2014, 6:49 GMT

    i beleive too many chages at the top n making rahane sit out for a match when he scored a MOM 50 in last match made it worse for RR. This is RR. they keep experimenting. sometime it works sometimes it doesnt

  • on May 27, 2014, 6:41 GMT

    Even though he lost them the playoff spot .Watson still remains one of their valuable players with 2000 + runs and 50+ wickets .This season was just not his season . Maybe he will come back better next season.

  • on May 27, 2014, 6:39 GMT

    Now everyone blames RR management .First when MI were losing 5 in a row everyone was blaming the mighty think tank ( wonder where those guys are now). The management is only effective off the field .Players are completely responsible for performance on field .MI batsmen did not score 150 + in their first four matches and lost .There was a marked improvement in batting in india whereas MI bowling has rarely failed this season except last game .So stop blaming Dravid and RR management as the fault was faulkner 's and watson 's.

  • on May 27, 2014, 6:34 GMT

    Enough reading abt RR ! Am pissed off ! I am a hardcore fan of RR but Watson s not a tactical Leader ! Smith wud ve been a better choice. Its common sense while defending 190 dat too in a must win match, Dont they have common sense to bowl yorkers and Gud Balls ! If they couldn save den they don deserve to go to Play offs ! They have not beaten CSK MI or Kings, So dey truly deserved to Loose !!!

  • RDLikesCricket on May 27, 2014, 6:25 GMT

    Team composition tinkering and sending people like Tewatia etc above Hodge and Faulkner are the real reasons why RR lost their way in 2-3 matches. Too much of experimentation and this has been true last year as well. Its IPL and not a charity match to give chances to unheralded youngsters. However in the last match, with 189 to defend in 14.3 overs why would the bowlers be bowling full tosses and short pitched deliveries? Im not sure that one fine day Anderson woke up and came to form. He has been dancing to spinners and RR had only one of them. Its something more than good batting that made RR lose this match... Something more sinister... Faulkner can't be bowling low full tosses at critical times...

  • on May 27, 2014, 6:13 GMT

    @kinathi vaikath rani : I already provided you with d same.Critisize n give a better playing eleven n I'll counter that n would defend my eleven in a More better n logical way

  • imtiazjaleel on May 27, 2014, 5:56 GMT

    RR did not qualified or they don't want to qualify? because in which the manner they won and lost the matches raises lot of doubts. Watson who took a hat trick against KKR cannot bowl a yorker in this match. i believe there is something wrong in the matches that RR played.

  • GamessOn on May 27, 2014, 5:26 GMT

    If the 4th ball was a wide or no-ball, MI would get a run but the ball wouldn't be counted so MI would have achieved their target of 190 in 14.3 overs and thus qualified.

    RR could have lost the match but qualified if 14.4 th ball was dot and then they concede 1 run on the next ball (either extras or run)

  • Maxkaran on May 27, 2014, 5:15 GMT

    Most heartbreaking for Rajasthan especially in view of their splendid season for most part but they have only themselves to blame for not utilizing their resources optimally.

  • on May 27, 2014, 5:09 GMT

    Rahul Dravid attributed some players' absence due to sickness; but NOT fielding an all-rounder like RAJAT BHATIA, for whatever the reason(s), the team has paid its price !! Apart from Binny, WATSOM TOO ARE THE LIABILITIES FOR THE ROYALS .. Much of the brain-work & midnight oil were wasted on the fielding of the Team that did a flop-show against the Mumbaikars ..

  • on May 27, 2014, 4:39 GMT

    still one question in all mind about that if fawkner bowled forth ball wide or noball then what would be result?

  • on May 27, 2014, 4:30 GMT

    binny should be dropped for next year. karun deserves more money. RR should buy one quality international bowler.

  • on May 27, 2014, 4:28 GMT

    I agree RR made some mistake

  • on May 27, 2014, 4:27 GMT

    Initially RR fans were like we are the best in promoting young Indian players but now they are crying out against Dravid for not promoting foreign players.

  • on May 27, 2014, 4:26 GMT

    keep in mind IPL is the platform for show the Indian talent. RR and Punjab only two teams gave the opportunities for Indian youngsters lik karanveer axar karun Samson vohra shivam sandeep sharma saha taambe. hats off dravid and Bangar. dhoni should not deserved captaincy he did not gave a chance to baba. gg too he has not gave a chance to kuldeep. rcb deserves the bottom of table. mi finally gave a chance to gopal.

  • Gautham_Karthik on May 27, 2014, 3:38 GMT

    The biggest mistake RR made was to appoint Watson as captain. To expect a high impact player with both bat and ball take up the leadership is too much of a burden. We've seen similar struggles when he was appointed the captain of Aus a few times. The way forward for the Royals now is to appoint a young, dynamic and innovative Steve Smith (who's been in charge of a winning BBL and Shield team) or a more level-headed and experienced Brad Hodge as skipper. Let Watto go full throttle with his hitting and economical bowling; give the traffic control to someone else!

  • Marcel_Ci on May 27, 2014, 3:33 GMT

    RR needs new mentor. dravid failed to motivate team this year & in yesteryear too.... they need someone who can be little bold..... fall of RR is bcz of dravid only... he never had any say in whole of his career & this time for RR too..

  • Nadeem1976 on May 26, 2014, 23:49 GMT

    when RR played under magician Shane Warne they went on to win IPL. Then RR put command under test mentality player Dravid (who is test cricket legend but not a regular T2020 player). One can easily see that like Misbah , Dravid also like his slow batsmen to play out whole batting innings and then if luck works he big hitters will try to put a good score. RR first 10 over score was i think 49 in last match. In a crucial match you cannot score that low. I think the kind of batting Mumbai had at home RR should atleast go for 200 but their first 10 overs cost them the match and playoff position.

    Test like tactics do not work in T2020 format and it's a fact.

  • niazbhi on May 26, 2014, 23:04 GMT

    IPL uncovered some myths 1] Finisher( send your top bats early, let them settle and they are your best chance to score high). 2] Indian swing bowlers are weak. As far as limited over games go, india has some very good bowlers in BK, Bumrah, Mohit, IC, Dhawan, Balazi, Praveen 3] Indian batsmen are the best. when it comes to score at high SR, some other nations have few equally good or even better bats. 4] Indian spinners are the best. Indian spinners are great. Sakib and Narine almost out-bowled them. Srilanka, Pakistan have better spinners. 5] You need someone like Rahul Dravid for tactics. Great players may not be the best cricketing brain. You need someone applying scientific things like heuristics, statistics and someone who are avidly interested in every level of game. 6] Spinners are not good at death bowling 7] fastbowling allrounders are your best assets.

  • SamWintson92 on May 26, 2014, 21:01 GMT

    Another thing to add: In the Chennai game, Watson opening is OK for me. But A Sharma as a pinch hitter opening is a no brainer for me in a crunch match. Seriously too much experiment for RR ! If RR wanted to accelerate the run rate, then pinch hitter at 3 in the form of Faulkner or K Cooper would have been an ideal choice.

  • inswing on May 26, 2014, 20:41 GMT

    Most people are missing a major reason: poor form of Watson. Being captain, he cannot be dropped, but he takes up one important international spot. Steve Smith, Hodge, and Faulkner have to taken, and the fourth spot is between Cooper and Watson, if we go based on form. Instead, Watson had to be taken always, so they ended up dropping either Smith or Hodge, both of whom are extremely valuable.

  • SamWintson92 on May 26, 2014, 20:23 GMT

    My take on RR this season: 1. RR has suffered from over tactics. I want to make a thing clear to RR management, RR isn't a weak side. They're a formidable unit as they have produced players like Samson, Tambe, Karun. 2. I can't understand why RR dropped (or rested even before qualifying?) S Smith & Tambe in the Mumbai game ??? 3. In the mumbai game, they sent in Ankit Sharma & out of form Binny ahead of Hodge & Faulkner ??? 4. Again in the Punjab game, they sent in Binny & this time Tewatia ahead of Hodge & Faulkner ??? 5. Hodge & Faulkner were always sent in when the match were out of hand. 6. RR even dropped Rajat Bhatia ??? 7. S Smith was dropped for no reason. He's a dynamite in the field. 8. RR is packed with allrounders (Faulkner, K Cooper, Bhatia). RR could have used them better. 9. Big time RR needs to have a settled line up. My XI should have been: 1 Rahane 2 Karun 3 Watson (C) 4 Samson (WK) 5 S Smith 6 Faulkner 7 K Cooper 8 Bhatia 9 Tambe 10 Tewatia/A Sharama 11 Vikramjeet

  • Nampally on May 26, 2014, 20:19 GMT

    RR Management needs to be entirely blamed for the team not qualifying for the Play off. When there is an outstanding opeing batsan like Nair, why on earth did Watson not keep him at the opening spot? It was always Rahane or Samson opening with Nair. Watson single handedly lost the match with his 8 runs in 18 balls as opening bat. Next why is Hodge not sent #3 & Faulkmer #5? These 2 are the most dominant hitters in the game. The Batting order should be : Nair, Samson, Hodge, Rahane, Faulkner, Watson, Smith + others. RR was one of the best sides- well balanced. In the last 3 matches they changed their team repeatedly instead of sealing the playoff spot. All winnable games were lost due to these crazy team changes. Let the settled team play their usual game & continue winning. Management should never interfere with illogical changes. Binny was easily the worst player in the team but played all but the last match RR is a great team with V. poor bunch of managers who interfered too much!

  • on May 26, 2014, 19:46 GMT

    Stop blaming tactics or players! There is a bigger flaw that that in these games that has now become HK super sixes tournament. What is going to happen when you have boundary length of 55-60 meters as opposed to regular 80 plus! Right exactly this, put a bat in any decent cricketer's hand and give him a licence to play with those flat tracks, so much protection and thick woody bat, I bet I can hit a few out of park and so can anyone, bet it Steyn, Watto or Mitch! It reflected how the game immediately shifted when moved from UAE which had regular boundaries (not bigger, but regular - bigger is when you play in AUS where you can even run 4). This brand of IPL leaves no contest between ball and bat and at some point those 6s and 4s doesn't amuses you anymore, a dot or single becomes a novelty which is not what cricket is about. It has to be told to administrators that cricket also involves bowlers or else you can sing at the top of your voice that "impossible is just another word"!

  • on May 26, 2014, 19:40 GMT

    didnt mentioned Sanju Samson anywhere...he had played a key role in RR.... He is the best in the 11...

  • on May 26, 2014, 19:32 GMT

    No matter what you do. People will always criticize. Whoever criticizing RR should come forward and put the best 11. I promise I will place a counter logic you will fail to defend.

  • Kulaputra on May 26, 2014, 19:05 GMT

    Dravid needed to keep calm regarding his batting order

  • on May 26, 2014, 19:02 GMT

    One more point, Rahane was a culprit of slow starts everytime. Whereas all the other teams went in with a slam-bam-thank you ma'am approach, Royals always started cautiously, which costed them the necessary momentum required at the start of the innings. No doubt, they had the firepower lower down the order, but the story could've been different had their openers (till Karun arrived) shown a bit of urgency.

    Most of their batsmen especially Sanju & Binny were culprit of hitting skyers & holing out when the situation demanded milking the gaps (particularly against CSK in both the matches).

    They also lacked a tearaway fast bowler like they had Shaun Tait in the previous 3 seasons. Southee & Kane Richardson are no where near to instilling fear in the opposition. They missed a trick at the auctions as Tait & even Brett Lee went unsold & they didn't have Merchant de Lange or Pat Cummins or even McCleneghan or Trent Boult in their radar.

  • on May 26, 2014, 18:50 GMT

    Well mostly, you've hit the nail right at its head. However, you've forgotten one important cog in the wheel, which was Rajat Bhatia, who played an important hand with the ball in most of RR's wins. However, he was not picked in the playing 11 of the last 2 matches & it particularly took its toll in the do or die match against MI as his economical lack of pace bowling was badly missed without which Kevon Cooper didn't have anyone to support from the other end.

    Also, playing only 1 spinner at the Ahmedabad track in a day game against MI who played 3 was another very big tactical howler.

    They need to look at Steven Smith as a leader for the next season as Watson was clearly out of sorts in crunch situations & Smith has captaincy experience from BBL as well.

  • on May 26, 2014, 17:46 GMT

    very funny,,, WAtson did not bowl? and when bowled he bowled poorly? Watson has a hatrick vs HYD, a three wicket over against KOLKATA

  • on May 26, 2014, 17:27 GMT

    to win a match, u have to play your best player at the top of the order. see the way mumbai won in last match. foreign players are better quality and they should bat at the top order. CSK starts with mcculum and dwayne smith and its their main formula to win. punjab win depends on maxell and miller. mumbai in last match played lendl simmons, hussey, polard and corey anderson at top of order. RR should have played watson-rahane-hodge-smith-faulkner at top 5 bating order to win this tournament, they were too busy with promoting local talent. smith as a captain, didn't bowl or bat and then get dropped

  • InfiniteWhite on May 26, 2014, 16:32 GMT

    The only good thing that comes out of RR's loss is we are spared another poor tactic that made me swear at the start of the match every time. Thank, God! Hodge, one of the best T20 players of all time; S Smith, the always dependable young player, and they warmed the bench regularly. God help RR.

  • on May 26, 2014, 16:20 GMT

    this should have been the playing eleven and batting order in most of the games: 1.karun nair 2.sanju Samson 3.Shane watson 4.steven Smith/cooper 5.brad Hodge/Cooper 6.James Faulkner 7.Stuart bunny 8.yagnik 9.bhatia 10.tambe 11. v malik

  • on May 26, 2014, 15:59 GMT

    Next year pick Sakib. His current salary at KKR is chicken feed compared to what some non-performers are getting. Next year, make him an offer that he deserves.

  • on May 26, 2014, 15:35 GMT

    Dravid admitted that he is taking batting order decisions in all matches in a recent interview in RR website. He pushed watson down to 4 & faulkner at 9. Rahane who has 115 SR doesn't qualify as a T20 player. Dravid destroyed RR totally by not allowing international players higher in the batting order in all matches.

  • on May 26, 2014, 15:16 GMT

    some very ordinary performances towards the end along with poor team management resulted in their eventual downfall. The batting order made no sense whatsoever a few times.

  • ODI_BestFormOfCricket on May 26, 2014, 14:57 GMT

    @fonseka. Which batsman performed in the list which you mentioned.

  • Zeus7 on May 26, 2014, 14:49 GMT

    They need bowlers, bowlers, and some more bowlers. For everything Faulkner does with bat, he gives away same as a bowler. They are pretty damn lucky to win a few matches, which they 'should' have lost. They ran out of that luck quota, and they got stung. Poor tactics, added with bizarre team selection was just recipe for disaster.

  • on May 26, 2014, 14:39 GMT

    @ODI_Best: Um. They have Faulkner, Smith and Hodge. How many more do you want?

  • katrinaxxx on May 26, 2014, 14:29 GMT

    loved the statement "they chose to hand the responsibility of drawing up their tactics to the nine-year-old nephew of a member of their match-day catering staff".lol.

  • MaruthuDelft on May 26, 2014, 14:28 GMT

    Because they are led by Watson who has been losing in every front in the last few years.

  • niazbhi on May 26, 2014, 14:20 GMT

    Finisher is a wrong concept for 20/20s.. they should be the starters. MI realized it.. all their top order batsmen are high SR international players. A rahane or Pandey is not going help in the top, Have ABD, Duminy, SPD Smith, Hodge bat early. Maxwell showed how a number 3 should play. Pollard was frustrated when he came late in the order (Yusuf Pathan too). Finishers have an impossible job. Play the best bowlers of the opponent team when they are planning to bowl their tightest spell. Sometimes it takes a few balls to read the wicket. Sometimes you cannot much against Narine or Thumbe or Malinga or Bumrah. So a Pollard or Hodge cannot do much. Why give that settling chance to Rahane while Hodge or Smith can have the score ticking early and can also go after the weak 4th or 5th bowler. Faulkner and Doni showed some fireworks at the end on a few matches. My IPL highlights are Uthappa and Maxwell. Its how Mumbai turned around when they changed the top order.

  • CricketChat on May 26, 2014, 14:20 GMT

    Watson and Binny, 2 key players having horrible season along with hot and cold Rahane contributed a great deal to RR's mess up towards business end of league stage. With this year's performance (or lack of), Binny might have lost the chance to represent senior team for good. RR needs to find replacements for these failing stars next season to be in contention again.

  • ODI_BestFormOfCricket on May 26, 2014, 14:11 GMT

    RR need atleast one powerplayer like dhoni, max, warner or uthappa.

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  • ODI_BestFormOfCricket on May 26, 2014, 14:11 GMT

    RR need atleast one powerplayer like dhoni, max, warner or uthappa.

  • CricketChat on May 26, 2014, 14:20 GMT

    Watson and Binny, 2 key players having horrible season along with hot and cold Rahane contributed a great deal to RR's mess up towards business end of league stage. With this year's performance (or lack of), Binny might have lost the chance to represent senior team for good. RR needs to find replacements for these failing stars next season to be in contention again.

  • niazbhi on May 26, 2014, 14:20 GMT

    Finisher is a wrong concept for 20/20s.. they should be the starters. MI realized it.. all their top order batsmen are high SR international players. A rahane or Pandey is not going help in the top, Have ABD, Duminy, SPD Smith, Hodge bat early. Maxwell showed how a number 3 should play. Pollard was frustrated when he came late in the order (Yusuf Pathan too). Finishers have an impossible job. Play the best bowlers of the opponent team when they are planning to bowl their tightest spell. Sometimes it takes a few balls to read the wicket. Sometimes you cannot much against Narine or Thumbe or Malinga or Bumrah. So a Pollard or Hodge cannot do much. Why give that settling chance to Rahane while Hodge or Smith can have the score ticking early and can also go after the weak 4th or 5th bowler. Faulkner and Doni showed some fireworks at the end on a few matches. My IPL highlights are Uthappa and Maxwell. Its how Mumbai turned around when they changed the top order.

  • MaruthuDelft on May 26, 2014, 14:28 GMT

    Because they are led by Watson who has been losing in every front in the last few years.

  • katrinaxxx on May 26, 2014, 14:29 GMT

    loved the statement "they chose to hand the responsibility of drawing up their tactics to the nine-year-old nephew of a member of their match-day catering staff".lol.

  • on May 26, 2014, 14:39 GMT

    @ODI_Best: Um. They have Faulkner, Smith and Hodge. How many more do you want?

  • Zeus7 on May 26, 2014, 14:49 GMT

    They need bowlers, bowlers, and some more bowlers. For everything Faulkner does with bat, he gives away same as a bowler. They are pretty damn lucky to win a few matches, which they 'should' have lost. They ran out of that luck quota, and they got stung. Poor tactics, added with bizarre team selection was just recipe for disaster.

  • ODI_BestFormOfCricket on May 26, 2014, 14:57 GMT

    @fonseka. Which batsman performed in the list which you mentioned.

  • on May 26, 2014, 15:16 GMT

    some very ordinary performances towards the end along with poor team management resulted in their eventual downfall. The batting order made no sense whatsoever a few times.

  • on May 26, 2014, 15:35 GMT

    Dravid admitted that he is taking batting order decisions in all matches in a recent interview in RR website. He pushed watson down to 4 & faulkner at 9. Rahane who has 115 SR doesn't qualify as a T20 player. Dravid destroyed RR totally by not allowing international players higher in the batting order in all matches.