Rajasthan Royals team selection and batting order in the last two matches has been bizarre. It seems they went into the game to lose and ensured they lost so that Mumbai Indians can qualify. Will they do the same on 25th night? Is the Match fixed?
Strange things happen in cricket. Stranger things happen in IPL
. Just a week back, Rajasthan
Royals were sitting pretty. They had 14 points from 11 games and needed to win just one game out of the remaining three. But they seem to have decided to allow Mumbai
Indians to qualify in their place.
Beginning of the Losing Spree
It started with their match against Mumbai
Indians on 19th May. For some strange reason (was it to enable Mumbai
to win?), the in form players Ajinke Rahane, Steve Smith and Preveen Tambe are dropped and Unmukt Chand (who had not played a game), Brad Hodge (a veteran who had been sidelined to enable the dynamic Steve Smith to play) and Ankit Sharma (also a new comer playing his first game) in place of Praveen Tambe (One of the most successful bowlers in IPL).
The result was predictable. Unmukt Chand struggled to make 2 runs before he got out in the third over. This brought Watson in early (Watson does better after a good opening stand) and he perished for 5. Sanju Samson was out for 2 and the Royals had lost 3 wickets in the first six overs. The run chase was derailed and they lost by 25 runs.
Losing Spree Continues
The losing spree continued against Kings XI Punjab
on 23 May. Here again the team selection is baffling. Steve Smith was again omitted. Rahul Tewatia and Vikramjit Malik were inducted in place of experienced and performing Rajat Bhatia and Dhawal Kulkarni. Both along with Faulkner went for plenty.
Amazingly out of form Stuart Binney and new comer Rahul Tewatia were sent in to bat ahead of six hitters Brad Hodge, James Faulkner and Kevon Kooper when the required run rate was nearing 10. Royals predictably lost by 16 runs.
The Questions that Beg Answers
Why does Stuart Binny play every game? Out of the 13 matches he has played so far, he has hardly ever reached double figures and 30 only once. Yet he comes to bat ahead of attacking batsmen like Steve Smith, Brad Hodge and James Faulkner.
Why did Ankit Sharma come ahead of Brad Hodge and James Faulkner against Mumbai Indians on 19 May and Kings XI Punjab on 23 May when chasing a large total and with Royals behind the required run rate?
Why did out of form Stuart Binney and Rahul Tewatia come in to bat ahead of big hitters Brad Hodge, James Faulkner and Kevon Kooper in the match against Kings XI Punjab when the required run rate was over 10 an over?
Mukesh Ambai has the money power to get what he wants. The only way his team the Mumbai Indians can reach the knock out stage is if the Rajasthan Royals lose to them and heavily when they meet on 25 May for the last match of the league stage of IPL 2014.
So you can be sure that Rajasthan Royals will pick the worst team they possibly can, play around with the batting order and lose to the Mumbai Indians by as big margin as possible.
The last league match of IPL 2014, just like the last two matches of the Rajasthan Royals has most likely been fixed. Mukesh Ambani has to have his say. His team has to win. He has the money to make it happen.
If you are a betting man, bet on the Mumbai Indians. Rajasthan Royals have demonstrated that they know how to lose when it benefits the Mumbai Indians.
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