IPL 2024: RR's poor cricket hurts Watson

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | May 16, 2024 IST

Sanju Samson

New Delhi, May 16: Shane Watson was the star performer, when Rajasthan Royals (RR) won the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) title in 2008 under late Shane Warne's able leadership.

But that was the only time RR have lifted the IPL trophy. They have been once more to the final and on a couple of occasions to the play-offs, but have never been consistent.

This season, they once again had a magical run for the first few weeks with 16 points from 9 matches, which means they just lost once. But then they have faced four continues defeats.

Considering the Points Table standings, they would enter the play-offs, but RR losing their momentum, collapsing again in mid-season and not putting up a fight have severely hurt cricket fans, RR supporters and even some former RR players including Watson. 

Following Rajasthan's fourth consecutive defeat, a five-wicket loss to Punjab Kings (PBKS) in IPL 2024, former RR player and Australian icon Shane Watson expressed surprise at the team's late-season slump in momentum ahead of the playoffs, especially after their scintillating start to the campaign.

RR had a glittering start with four consecutive wins and continued their impressive run with eight wins in nine games and remained in the top four throughout the season. But, their performance in the next four games took a nose dive as they registered their fourth loss on the trot on Wednesday.

Rajasthan opted to bat first and failed to overcome their batting struggle as PBKS’ excellent bowling effort restricted them to a score of 144/9. In response, Punjab chased down the target with seven balls to spare, picking up their fifth win of the IPL 2024.

However, despite suffering defeats in the last four consecutive games, RR remain in second place in the points table with 16 points in 13 games and is already qualified for the playoffs alongside Kolkata Knight Riders.

"I have been very surprised with how the Rajasthan Royals have taken off. They were flying high with no weaknesses in their team. They were able to just mix and match when they really needed to. They have certainly lost momentum and tonight, it seemed no one was up for the fight. Sanju Samson is the captain, he's willing everyone to be up for the fight. Avesh Khan, Riyan Parag did a job, but outside of them, everyone looked flat. This is not the time to be flat.

"They need to get a few good performances under them and build their confidence to hit the playoffs flying. They are going in the other direction. For the Rajasthan Royals fans and players, that's not what they want, Watson said on JioCinema.

Meanwhile, former New Zealand men's head coach Mike Hesson remarked on RR's recent performance, noting, "Every year for the last three years, RR have reached this point and suddenly, they have gotten quite funky."

"It has happened every year. Every year when we are seven or eight games through, we are like, 'RR are the team to beat!'. They lose one, have a bit of a confidence drop, lose a couple, then they start to look over their shoulder and overthink things. I think that's the issue at the moment. They just need to go back to the basics and go back to everyone doing their job and standing up," said Hesson.

Skipper Sam Curran was the star of the night for PBKS, excelling in pretty much all three departments on the field. He played a captain's knock of 63 off 41 before picking up bowling figures of 2-24.

Former India wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel reflected on Curran's performance and said, "This was a season to forget, but he batted well today. He played a great innings, took responsibility, and played 41 balls. He took his time at the start and whenever it seemed like he was getting stuck, he pulled out some big shots.

"He's experienced under pressure as an international cricketer, that is what we saw today. When Punjab needed him the most, he won them the match."

Can RR pick up again and play with more brevity and a winning attitude? Considering their slump in form in the last four matches, it however, seems difficult at this juncture. (With IANS support)

    Tags
  • Sanju Samson
  • Indian Premier League (IPL)
  • Rajasthan Royals (RR)
  • Shane Watson
  • Punjab Kings
  • Punjab Kings
  • IPL 2024

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