With over 30 matches played in the 15th edition of the Indian Premier League, we have witnessed some interesting matches, and also the teams that were expected to make the headlines have been making it but for the wrong reasons.
In an interesting turn of events, the two most successful teams in the IPL, MI, and CSK find themselves languishing at the bottom and the new joiners Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Super Giants have made stunning debuts to occupy the top slots in the points table.
Apart from a few teams, the other teams have showcased great resilience and it does suggest that this season will not be one-way traffic. The teams have showcased power-hitting, defensive bowling, great shot-making, and impressive athleticism on the field as well.
However, after watching all the sides play at least 6 matches now, we feel Rajasthan Royals may be just the hot favorites to win the title this time around and the points table too does justice to our prediction.
Let us take a look at the reasons why we feel the Royals hold the edge.
1) The Jos Buttler factor
It's hot. It's a summer evening. Thirsty times. Worth the wait. Guys our favourite ‘Jos the Boss’ is upto some serious on field business at the Wankhede. A magnificent cocktail soon coming. @josbuttler @rajasthanroyals #DCvsRR @IPL #IPL2022 pic.twitter.com/cnDOi4IYOl— Ravi Shastri (@RaviShastriOfc) April 22, 2022
We are just halfway into the tournament and having played 7 matches so far, the current orange cap holder Jos Buttler has been making the headlines every time he has come out to bat. Yes, when you can score three tons in five matches including back-to-back tons, there is no doubt that the onus will be on him. Buttler is definitely in the form of his life and there is no stopping him.
The right-hander has amassed close 491 runs at an average of 81.83 and he is 226 runs clear of the second-placed KL Rahul. We do not think anyone is going to catch him and with 3 tons already to his name, can he break Kohli’s record? He does have another 7 matches and considering RR continue their impressive run, they could be in for another couple of matches as well.
2) The spin duo
RCB would be kicking themselves after letting go of their loyal servant Yuzvendra Chahal, the 31-year-old purple cap holder who has been in spectacular form, picking up 18 wickets in just 7 matches and he is five clear off the second-placed Kuldeep Yadav. It is not just the wickets he has been picked, he has kept the opponents in check and delivered at the crucial moments for the Royals. Who better than the most experienced Indian spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin to partner with him? Although Ashwin has not been among the wickets this season, he, as usual, has been able to maintain a great economy rate and he has been playing the supporting role well with in-form Chahal.
This is definitely the best spin duo in the league this season and their experience will come to great effect in the coming days as we already witnessing the pitches slowing down.
3) Winning matches despite losing the toss
The Royal’s skipper Sanju Samson has just managed to win one toss out of the seven matches, however, the side has just lost 2 matches so far and finds themselves comfortably placed at the top of the table. Rajasthan Royals batting first have managed to breach the 200 mark on three occasions. This is definitely a great achievement by the side as we have been witnessing a pattern where the teams have been winning matches easily by chasing down targets.
In the two matches which they lost, one was while batting first and another one while chasing. This is definitely an advantage for the Royals as they are not dependent on the toss, however, it would be interesting to see how they go about their chasing.
4) The poker face
The 27-year-old Sanju Samson has already impressed everyone with his captaincy in the last season and he is someone who does not show any emotions on the field. Royals were part of a couple of close encounters and we did see how the skipper maintained his composure and trusted his bowlers to deliver. Great quality for any skipper and his bold attitude to face the situations is likely to play a very important role in the business end of the tournament.
5) Experience meets quality
Rajasthan Royals look like a side who do not need a catalyst to perform as they hold an arsenal of players who are self-motivated. The three players who have played over 100 IPL matches and the others have played a minimum of 70 matches barring players like Obed McCoy and Prasidh Krishna.
However, McCoy and Krishna are international players and one more interesting detail is that barring Riyan Parag, there is not a single uncapped player in the right combination of Royals. We know what players like Boult, Ashwin, Devdutt, and Shimron can bring about on the field, and the fact that the team has gelled together well now, we expect them to go the distance this time around.
These are stand-out reasons why we feel Rajasthan Royals are the heavy favorites to lift the IPL 2022 title. Yes, the proceedings may not be as smooth as we expect but with the calmness their skipper brings in along with the tactical moves of Chahal, Ashwin, and Buttler, we expect them to make it to the top two comfortably.
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