Can Samson help keep Rajasthan’s title hunt on track?


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IPL 2021: All eyes on Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson. (IPL)

RR vs DC in IPL 2021: The last two days have been nothing less than horror for Sanju Samson’s Rajasthan Royals. First, they suffered a loss in a thriller against Punjab Kings, followed by losing their star all-rounder Ben Stokes due to injury. Add the absence of their lead pacer Jofra Archer who is still recovering from arm surgery. With setback after setback, can inexperienced captain Samson stop RR’s IPL 2021 campaign from derailing when they face a confident Delhi Capitals on Wednesday?

RR vs DC in IPL 2021: First task – Find a replacement for Stokes in playing XI

Stokes is one of the finest all-rounders of the modern-day game. A destructive batsman and an effective fast-bowler, Stokes has remained at the forefront for Rajasthan since 2018. His ability to take on the bowlers from the word go and skills to test batsmen with his disciplined bowling; he was the X factor for the inaugural champions.

But the England all-rounder will no longer make an appearance this season after he was ruled out. He had injured a finger on his left hand while fielding against Punjab Kings.

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The team management will now have to return to the drawing board and find a replacement for him, which certainly will not be easy.

While there is no news on a possible signing, RR might promote Jos Buttler to the opener’s role. The England wicketkeeper-batsman has played the role before and will be familiar with the responsibilities.

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Promoting Buttler would open doors for someone like David Miller and Liam Livingstone in the middle order.

Another option is to keep Buttler as their No.4 and bring the inexperienced Yashaswi Jaiswal into the scheme of things.

RR vs DC in IPL 2021: Second Task – Keep the team’s morale up

Losing two big names in Archer and Stokes in a campaign that is still young, plus a four-run loss to Punjab, players in the Rajasthan camp would be looking for a motivating factor.

In the absence of Stokes, the pressure would be on the likes of Buttler, Shivam Dube and Riyan Parag to deliver the goods and provide ample support to their young skipper, who was sensational in the first match.

RR vs DC in IPL 2021: Third Task – Find solution to struggling bowling unit

The major worry for RR team management would be the performance of its bowling unit. RR bowling unit looked rusty and completely out of sorts in their opener. Barring young Chetan Sakariya (3/31), who had a fantastic debut, all other RR bowlers went for runs and looked completely clueless against opposition batsmen.

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Mustafizur Rahman, Chris Morris, Stokes, Shreyas Gopal, Rahul Tewatia — all went for big runs and need to pull up their socks quickly.

The contest will also witness a test of wits of two new captains in Rishabh Pant and Samson.

RR Playing XI (Possible): Manan Vohra, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson (c & wk), David Miller/Liam Livingstone, Riyan Parag, Shivam Dube, Rahul Tewatia, Chris Morris, Shreyas Gopal, Chetan Sakariya, Mustafizur Rahman

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