Kings XI Punjab ended their 2-game losing streak by defeating Rajasthan Royals at Punjab Cricket Association stadium in Mohali, on Tuesday. Ajinkya Rahane won the toss and elected to field first, but things did not go according to plans as KXIP’s top 4 batsmen, led by KL Rahul, gave a steady start to the innings. 

KL Rahul was the leading run scorer for KXIP, and he held one end tight with his knock of 52 runs off 47 balls. David Miller batted aggressively and scored 40 runs at a strike rate of 148.14. Punjab’s captain Ravichandran Ashwin provided a final flourish and took Kings XI Punjab’s total to 182 runs in 20 overs. 

In reply, Rajasthan made a change in their opening combination, and RA Tripathi came out to open the innings with Jos Buttler. They provided a steady start until Buttler played a loose stroke off debutant Arshdeep Singh’s bowling and threw away his wicket. 

In the middle overs, Rajasthan couldn’t score boundaries regularly and allowed the required run rate to climb higher. This resulted in batsmen playing desperate strokes resulting in loss of wickets.

Stuart Binny, who came in to bat at number 7 scored 33 runs off 11 balls, but despite his cracking cameo, Rajasthan lost the match by a margin of 12 runs. 

Let's put on the captain's hat and try to figure out what went wrong for Rajasthan Royals. 

Mistake #1: Too many changes after a morale-boosting win against Mumbai Indians 

There seems to be a huge confusion in the RR camp regarding the selection of their playing XI. Over the years, Rajasthan has come across as a team that knows its best combination but this year they have been making a lot of changes and even after playing eight matches, still, haven’t found the right mix of players. 

After the win over Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan made three changes to their side against KXIP. They replaced Steve Smith with Ashton Turner, Liam Livingstone with Ish Sodhi and K Gowtham with Stuart Binny. 

When a team keeps making too many changes in their playing XI, it becomes very challenging for the skipper to define each player’s role. This is precisely what happened in the match. Ashton Turner was sent in to bat too late and Stuart Binny, who replaced an all-rounder, didn’t bowl a single over in the game. 

Mistake #2: Rajasthan made a big mistake by not promoting Ashton Turner up the order. 

Ashton Turner is a match-winner and can win a game single-handedly with his bat, and score at 12 runs an over. When the required run rate was climbing with every passing over, Rahane should have sent Ashton Turner, to give him those extra 4-5 deliveries to get settled into his first ever IPL match. Rahane batted for 21 balls and scored just 26 runs at a strike rate of 123.80, and his batting pushed the game away from the reach of Royals. 

Rajasthan Royals also overlooked the destructive and big-hitting batsmen like Ashton Turner, Jofra Archer and Stuart Binny and instead, paired Ajinkya Rahane with RA Tripathi. In T20 cricket, it is very important to change the batting order as per the demand of the situation, and Rajasthan failed to do this despite having good options available in the dugout.