IPL 5 results of Rajasthan Royals
With four wins in six games at the start of IPL 5, Royals were considered favourites to reach the play-offs but a run of four losses in a row severely dented their chances.
Riding high on Ajinkya Rahane's batting brilliance, the Royals were comfortably placed second during the first half of the season. Rahane stunned rivals Kings XI Punjab in their opening clash with a 98 and help thrash Royal Challengers Bangalore by 59 runs with an unbeaten 103.
But their main strength, top-order batsmen faded away in the next couple of matches. Royals lost two-in-two to both southern giants Chennai Super Kings and RCB but their misery continued to four losses when Delhi Daredevils managed to clinch a thriller by 1 run at home and seal the double in their away leg tie.
With such a good start, the Royals failed to keep up the winning momentum despite their batting strength at the top. Rajasthan proved to be a formidable side even though they lacked big names. The likes of Dravid, Owais Shah and Brad Hodge provided crucial knocks in the middle but it was not enough to guarantee a place at the top-four.
Rajasthan made a dramatic u-turn with the arrival of Australian all-rounder Shane Watson. The No. 1 all-rounder guided Royals to two consecutive victories lifting their chances of qualifying to the play-offs.
But Rajasthan's dream shattered when their batting faltered yet again in two crucial games against CSK and Deccan Chargers.
However, considering the impact made by bowlers, Rajasthan were impressive in restricting opponents but couldn't defend low totals against the big guns. While having the least chance of qualifying in their last league encounter, Royals crashed out after losing Mumbai Indians by 10 wickets.
Though batsmen like Rahane, Dravid, Watson, Shah and Hodge were the highlights for Rajasthan, bowlers also played a significant role when their experienced batting line-up crumbled.
Rajasthan were hit by injury woes when Kevon Cooper was ruled out of the season, the Trinidadian had a wonderful start to his IPL career claiming 10 wickets in six games at an average of 17.40. Pacer Siddarth Trivedi claimed the highest no. of wicket(13) in 14 games.
Australia's veteran spinner Brad Hogg was the most impressive bowler with 10 wickets in nine games at an economy rate of just over 7 per over.
In seven games, Watson scored 255 runs at an average of 42.50 with two fifties including a strike rate 151.78 and also claimed six wickets at an economy rate of 7 per over.
No doubt their most impressive player was opener Rahane with 560 runs at an average of 40 including one century and three fifties. Dravid came second scoring 462 with two fifties in 16 games.
Rajasthan were definitely boosted after the return of Watson. Had he not missed the first nine games, the Royals could have possibly finished at a better position, even the top-four.