Barring a few changes here and there and some injuries, RR has managed to keep its core team intact.
Here’s a SWOT analysis of the side that will take on Punjab Kings in Mumbai on April 12.
RR’s main strength lies in its batting line-up. The team’s opening pair of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler looks threatening and most potent, and the all other sides in the tournament would be wary of the duo.
While England T20 skipper Buttler has been consistent in the run up to the 2023 season, it is Jaiswal, who is in ominous form.
Jaiswal scored a eye-catching 396 runs with an average of around 80 in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, besides boasting of a terrific strike rate of 141.48 in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, where he piled up 266 runs. The left-hander also struck a hundred for India A against Bangladesh A.
RR’s middle-order will be led by Joe Root and mercurial skipper Sanju Samson with Devdutt Padikkal, Shimron Hetmyer and the talented Riyan Parag for company.
With the experienced Indian duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal and Australian Adam Zampa up their ranks, RR’s spin department looks potent.
The role of an all-rounder is of immense value in limited overs cricket and this one area RR could find itself short. In West Indian Jason Holder, the team has only one quality all-rounder but the likes South African Donovan Ferreira and domestic recruits Abdul Basith and Akash Vashisht are yet to be tested at this level.
But ‘Impact Player’ rule could actually become a saving grace for Royals as it negates the role of an all-rounder in the set-up.
Bowling, especially pace department is another area which could be a cause of concern for the Jaipur-based franchise.
Barring Trent Boult, the pace attack looks ordinary. The absence of Prasidh Krishna, who has been ruled out of the entire IPL due to a back stress fracture, has made things worse for RR. The onus would be on Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Sen and West Indian Obed McCoy to deliver for the side.
If pace is a concern, the spin attack is in safe hands of Ashwin, Chahal and Adam Zampa and is one of the best in the tournament.
With the pace department looking thin, the upcoming season could be a big opportunity for the likes of Saini, Sen, KM Asif and Delhi’s left-arm fast bowler Kuldip Yadav to make a mark and make their presence felt.
Besides, the upcoming season is expected to provide opportunities to Holder and Zampa and the duo will be desperately looking to stamp their authority with impactful performances for their franchise in the tournament.
Going by past records, the tournament has not been a very happy hunting ground for RR as they have a history of failures. After winning the inaugural title way back in 2008 under late Shane Warne’s leadership, it has been a case of disappointment for the Jaipur-based side till last year, where they finished runners-up.
RR entered the play-offs only three times in the history of the tournament, and have also encountered the ignominy of suspension for two years.
But come this edition, the Kumar Sangakkara-coached side would look to pull all their resources together and dish out a consistent performance to end on the right side of things.