Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has opined that the Rajasthan Royals' (RR) batting order in IPL 2020 has defied logic.
He made this observation while reviewing the Steve Smith-led side's defeat against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in a video shared on his YouTube channel.
Aakash Chopra started by pointing out that the Rajasthan Royals have a disorganised batting order, with their best player Jos Buttler plying his trade in the middle order and an out-of-sorts Ben Stokes opening the innings.
"Rajasthan Royals have an issue that their batting order is actually a disorder. Their batting order is beyond my understanding at this point of time because Jos Buttler, who is their best player is being sent at No.4 while they are opening with Ben Stokes, whose bat is not firing."
The reputed commentator even jokingly mentioned that Stokes was batting like Aakash Chopra himself. The Rajasthan Royals all-rounder has not struck a six despite having faced more than a hundred deliveries.
"The extent to which Ben Stokes' bat has not been firing can be understood by the fact that he has played more than 100 deliveries and he is yet to hit a six. They have signed Ben Stokes and not Aakash Chopra that he is scoring with just the fours and singles."
Aakash Chopra observed that Stokes' slow batting is causing the entire Rajasthan Royals innings to lose momentum, with Sanju Samson throwing away his wicket against SRH in an attempt to up the ante.
"Rajasthan Royals had expectations from Ben Stokes but he is not able to deliver there but the entire innings is becoming slow. Because of that Sanju Samson plays a bad shot to get out as the pressure is mounting."
He pointed out that the Rajasthan Royals are failing to make the best use of Jos Buttler by making him bat out of position, and added that the Englishman's wicket was the final nail in the coffin yesterday.
"By the time Steve Smith comes to bat, the match is almost going out of their hands and in such a situation if Jos Buttler gets out, already you have reduced his effectiveness by giving him less overs to bat, then your whole boat sinks."
The former KKR player also criticised the Rajasthan Royals team management for not giving Rahul Tewatia enough deliveries to bat, considering that opposition attacks are now wary of him.
"The other issue which I saw was that they did not show belief in Rahul Tewatia's batting, a player other teams are scared of. You sent him to bat when only 8-9 balls were left in the innings."
Aakash Chopra on the batting order the Rajasthan Royals should follow
While highlighting that their current batting order is baffling, Aakash Chopra suggested that the Rajasthan Royals open with Jos Buttler and make Ben Stokes bat in the middle order.
"I just did not understand, the batting order at the moment is a little baffling. They will have to change this because if they have to derive the most benefit from Buttler, they will have to open with him and will have to send Stokes down the order."
@rajasthanroyals please swap @josbuttler and @benstokes38 position. Ben stokes can control and can finish the game far better at no 4 or 5 rather than opening and Jos butler is one of the best opener in world in T20 format
— Rohan Rangari (@RohanRangari11) October 22, 2020
He added that Sanju Samson and Steve Smith can come into bat at the loss of the first and second wickets respectively, with Stokes batting below them.
"Steve Smith can bat at No.4, Sanju Samson looked alright, he was looking good after a long time but the partnership in the end brought everybody down because Stokes is trying and it is not happening, if it is not happening they should send somebody else is what I feel."
Aakash Chopra signed off by observing that the Rajasthan Royals should be considering current form ahead of past performances while arriving at their batting order.
"They should give more weightage to current form rather than reputation, will be my advice for Rajasthan."
Yesterday's defeat against the Sunrisers Hyderabad was a major setback to the Rajasthan Royals' hopes of making it through to the playoffs of IPL 2020. They would not only have to win their remaining three matches but would also need other results to go in their favour for them to make the grade.
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) October 22, 2020