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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rajasthan hanging by the thread

After three successive wins, Rajasthan Royals have now two successive losses and their campaign threatens to go off the rails. The champions though can take heart that one of their remaining matches — two in fact if you consider Mumbai Indians as not one of the best sides — is against Kolkata Knight Riders.

They need to win at least one tie to keep their semifinal hopes alive. Seven wins is an ideal situation for a team to aspire for last-four stage but six could keep Royals there-about.

It’s clear their hopes are hanging by the thread.

Poor batting

Royals have been particularly hit by their batting form. It’s only ironic that the season’s highest total of 211 is in their name and so is the best stand of 135 for any wicket. Yet their batting numbers have been miserable.

The best batting average of the side has been 34 and only two batsmen have just about touched 200 runs. There are just four 50 from 11 matches. These are damning numbers.

Such numbers naturally leave a huge mess outside opener Graeme Smith’s door. The South African captain has been a palpable failure. He has a mere total of 193 from 11 matches.

He has had just one half century. Boundary hits tell a tale of its own: one six and 24 fours — an average of less than three boundaries per innings.

Somebody like Naman Ojha has already hit eight sixes. While an assortment of talent have looked up to him, the South African skipper hasn’t quite turned up for his side.

Tough going

The new ball and first six overs have generally been tough going for openers, that is if you discount the likes of Matthew Hayden or Adam Gilchrist.

Smith has been no exception though being a local, he ought to have done better. He has fallen to catches behind the stumps or to leg before dismissals which is common when ball is moving around.

Yet explanations alone aren’t enough to assuage the Royals. The impatience with Smith must have grown.

Yet the thing with big-match players is they generally come good in dire moments. Smith is a champion player and can never be written off.

However, any more failure now would be a great disservice to his side. He could be the difference in his side’s failure or success.

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