Rajasthan Royals (RR) dream of paying a perfect tribute to the late Shane Warne with a memorable triumph in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 remain unfulfilled as they lost to Gujarat Titans (GT) in the final of the tournament on Sunday (May 29). It was a dominant performance from the Hardik Pandya-led Titans in the final as they outclassed by seven wickets to lift their maiden IPL trophy in their debut season.
RR skipper Sanju Samson won the toss and opted to bat first in the summit clash. However, the decision ended up backfiring as RR batters crumbed under pressure on the big stage. Jos Buttler was once again the top-scorer for the team with 39 runs off 35 balls as RR were restricted to a low-key total of 130/9 in 20 overs.
Hardik Pandya & Co. ended up chasing down the target of 131 runs with 11 balls to spare to win the final and clinch their maiden IPL trophy. Former India spinner Harbhajan Singh called RR’s over-dependence on Buttler one of the major reasons behind their loss in the final.
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Harbhajan also felt opting to bat first was not the right decision from Samson and that they should have chased in the final. “They could have done a lot of things differently. Firstly, I felt they should have chased, but they chose to bat first, and then they played some shots, which they will think should not have been played; they should have played according to the situation,” Harbhajan said on Star Sports after the final.
“They should have strung partnerships; 160 runs are enough in a final. They did not bat well. This team’s players were overly dependent on Jos Buttler, and that is what happened; they got exposed when Jos Buttler didn’t fire,” he added.
Buttler enjoyed a phenomenal season with the bat for the Royals as he finished as the highest run-getter of the tournament with a staggering 863 runs from 17 matches at an impressive average of 57.73 and a strike rate of 149.05. He played an instrumental role in taking his team to the final but couldn’t get them over the line in the summit clash.
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While he pointed out how RR were heavily dependent on Buttler for runs, Harbhajan also rightfully called out RR’s over-reliance on Yuzvendra Chahal with the ball. While the other bowlers in the side were not consistent, Chahal was among the wickets throughout the season and finished with 27 scalps to bag the Purple Cap.
“When they look back, Jos Buttler did 80% of the job in the batting, and similarly 70-75% job was done by Yuzi Chahal in the bowling, so the others did 20-25% only in total; that’s not enough,” said Harbhajan, who won three IPL titles with Mumbai Indians and his fourth with Chennai Super Kings in 2018.
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