What is your analysis of the Rajasthan Royals Squad after the 2019 IPL auction?

Rajasthan Royals finished in the 4th position last year under the leadership of Ajinkya Rahane. They released 10 players prior to the mini auction this year but have retained the successful core that they built. With Steve Smith returning to the side, this Rajasthan Royals side looks set to take up the challenge. Here we look at the strongest combinations of Rajasthan Royals in Indian and South African conditions.

1. Batsmen

1.1 Top Order (Number 1, 2 and 3) - RR’s first-choice opening combination will be Jos Buttler and Ajinkya Rahane. Jos Buttler proved himself as one of the best T20 openers hitting 548 runs in 13 matches. Buttler will be a key player for Rajasthan at the top.

Ajinkya Rahane is a very versatile player who can bat anywhere at the top. His role will be to be the sheet anchor and for everyone around him to hit freely. He is expected to continue as the captain.

Jos Buttler will leave IPL midway, Rahul Tripathy comes in his place to replace him. In T20s, he has hit 863 runs in 43matches at a strike rate of 139.

The position of No. 3 -Steve Smith comes in as the first choice No. 3 batsman for Royals. Steve Smith missed last year due to ban but is very crucial to Rajasthan’s lineup. The 29-year-old scored 472 runs in IPL 2017 and averaged almost 40.

Manan Vohra replaces Smith in the Indian leg of the tournament.

2. Middle Order (Number 4, 5 and 6) - Rajasthan Royals’ middle order in South African conditions is Sanju Samson, Rahul Tripathy, and Ben Stokes.

Sanju Samson walks right into the middle order with an impressive display in 2018, hitting 3 half centuries. He comes in at No. 4

Rahul Tripathy is very versatile and he comes in at No. 5 till Buttler is available.

Ben Stokes is one of the best pace allrounders in World cricket at the moment and with IPL in South Africa, his abilities with the bat and the ball make him an automatic selection in the squad at No. 6

In the Indian leg, Tripathy goes to open the batting, spin allrounder Ashton Turner comes in at No. 5. Krishnappa Gowtham moves up the order at No. 6 when Ben Stokes leaves.

3. Lower Order (Number 7, 8 and 9) - Krishnappa Gowtham was a star last season. Picking 11 wickets and finishing matches at a strike rate of 197, he is a definite starter at No. 7.

Shreyas Gopal comes in at No. 8. He has 18 wickets in 17 appearances. The leg-spinner can also bat and provides depth to the RR lineup.

Jofra Archer only played 10 matches in 2018 but returned with 15 wickets. His lethal yorkers are a weapon to trouble some of the best. He comes in at No. 9

Liam Livingstone replaces Krishnappa Gowtham in the Indian leg as Ben Stokes leaves the side and Gowtham moves up at No. 6

Backup for Archer - Windies pacer Oshane Thomas can replace Jofra Archer in case of an injury.

4. Bowlers (No. 10 and No. 11) - For the South African leg, RR have 2 domestic pacers in their attack in Dhawal Kulkarni and Jayadev Unadkat. Undakat was bought again by Rajasthan after an intense bidding war. The left arm pacer will look to repeat his 2017 performance this year.

Dhawal Kulkarni experience brings him at No. 11 ahead of Varun Aaron. He has 79 wickets in 80 matches in all seasons.

Backup Pacers - Varun Aaron had an impressive domestic season and will challenge Dhawal Kulkarni for a spot. He misses out from the first XI for last year’s dismal show.

Rajasthan Royals BEST XI - SOUTH AFRICAN LEG

Jos Buttler ✈️
Ajinkya Rahane
Steve Smith ✈️
Sanju Samson
Rahul Tripathy
Ben Stokes ✈️
Krishnappa Gowtham
Shreyas Gopal
Jofra Archer ✈️
Dhawal Kulkarni
Jaydev Unadkat
Rajasthan Royals

BEST XI - INDIAN LEG

Rahul Tripathy
Ajinkya Rahane
Manan Vohra
Sanju Samson(WK)
Ashton Turner ✈️
Krishnappa Gowtham
Liam Livingstone ✈️
Shreyas Gopal
Jofra Archer ✈️
Dhawal Kulkarni
Jaydev Unadkat