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IPL 2014: Rajasthan Royals’ teamwork behind success; matter of peaking at right time

Rajasthan Royals have been very consistent as a group without having some of the star performers that the other teams have in IPL 7 © IANS
Rajasthan Royals have been very consistent as a group without having some of the star performers that the other teams have in IPL 7 © IANS

Rajasthan Royals haven’t had the star performers in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 like a Glenn Maxwell or a Dwayne Smith. Nishad Pai Vaidya writes that it is team work that has helped Rajasthan surge ahead in IPL 7.

Rajasthan Royals are well placed in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 and are only a victory away from almost assuring themselves a berth in the play-offs. Along with Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and the Kings XI Punjab, Rajasthan dominate at the top of the IPL 2014 Points Table and the other teams would require some miracle to topple them. However, if one looks at Rajasthan’s gameplay and compare it to Punjab or Chennai, one would find that they have had a unique blueprint that has been passed down to them from previous generations.

Rajasthan’s ability to unearth young players is well documented and one doesn’t have to delve too much into it. What works for them is simple and pure teamwork. It is effective and reliable. Unlike Punjab and Chennai, they haven’t had those star performers, but have a group of players who have consistently delivered the goods. For example, Glenn Maxwell has been a huge factor for Punjab, and Dwayne Smith has led the way for Chennai. It is difficult to pick one such player in the Rajasthan setup.

Let us have a look at the statistics to have a clear picture. Here are the statistics of Rajasthan’s leading batsmen in the IPL 2014:

Batsman M R Ave SR 50s HS
Ajinkya Rahane 11 316 28.72 119.24 3 72
Sanju Samson 10 233 23.3 121.35 1 52
Shane Watson 10 227 25.22 132.74 2 51
Karun Nair 8 221 31.57 126.28 2 73*
Steven Smith 10 147 36.75 133.63 0 48*

The only Rajasthan batsman to feature in the leading run-scorers in the tournament is Ajinkya Rahane. He is on the eighth spot in the table with the next best Rajasthan batsman i.e. Sanju Samson coming at No 18. Both Punjab and Chennai have two batsmen each in the top-10.

A close look at the table does show how well these batsmen have shared the responsibility. They do not average too high and only Karun Nair and Steven Smith have recorded numbers over 30. But, they have delivered on key occasions and taken the job at hand whenever the others have failed. Also, someone like a James Faulkner delivered when the top-order collapsed. This is a perfect example of how the unit has worked in tandem and hasn’t been dependent on one or two individuals.

When compared to the batting, the bowling does have certain individuals who have made a bigger mark on the leader board. Pravin Tambe and Rajat Bhatia feature in the top-10 bowlers in the IPL 2014. But, to know their real effect as a unit, we have to look at their stats:

Bowler M W Ave Eco BBI
Pravin Tambe 11 15 19.66 6.86 4 for 20
Rajat Bhatia 11 12 20.33 7.17 3 for 23
James Faulkner 10 10 27.9 8.62 3 for 11
Kane Richardson 7 9 22.88 7.62 2 for 18
Shane Watson 10 7 16.57 6.82 3 for 13

This quartet forms the core for Rajasthan. And these numbers do tell the story on how they have performed in tandem. Faulkner may have been a bit too expensive for the liking but has had a couple of good spells. Tambe and Bhatia mainly break the momentum in the middle by stalling the opposition’s innings. Shane Watson is usually a partnership breaker and although he hasn’t had too many wickets, he has been successful in checking the flow of runs. Kane Richardson is a good addition to this side and is a wicket-taking option upfront. Apart from them, Rajasthan have rotated and brought in the likes of Ankit Sharma, Rahul Tewatia, Tim Southee, Ben Cutting and Dhawal Kulkarni to name a few.

As the tournament nears the business end, it is this aspect that will help Rajasthan. They do need to finish the job at hand so that they can sail through to the play-offs. With a good unit in place, and numerous performers, one can say that they should get through. The other factor is that they are yet to peak as this side can certainly play a lot better. Perhaps, they are waiting for the right time to peak and when it will matter the most.

Click here for IPL 2014 Points Table and Team Standings

Click here for IPL 2014 Schedule: Match time table for IPL 7

Click here for IPL 2014 Schedule & Results

Click here for IPL 2014 complete coverage

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)

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