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Ahead of eliminator against RCB, a look at issues Rajasthan Royals need to sort out

Ahmedabad (Gujarat): Rajasthan Royals (RR) is heading into their eliminator clash against Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) with four successive defeats in their previous games and has a lot to fix if it wants to secure its second Indian Premier League (IPL) title.

The month of May has witnessed a massive change in fortunes for both the sides. RCB could not buy a win at one point and had just one win in eight games. But they now have six successive wins now that helped them write one of the greatest comeback stories in the history of cricket.

Rajasthan Royals, once sitting pretty at the top of the points table with eight wins and just one loss, succumbed to four momentum-breaking defeats in a row, which has brought them to this do-or-die clash against RCB.

Taking on an in-form RCB will be a risky affair for the inaugural champions and they need to fix some issues if they are to play Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the Qualifier two for a shot at the IPL final against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)

-Batting first woes: Three of four defeats for the Royals have come while batting first. While they put up a competitive total of 196 against Gujarat Titans (GT) which was chased down, they put up poor scores of 141 and 144 runs against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Punjab Kings (PBKS) in their recent losses. Their average first innings score this season is 172, which is the second worst after Punjab Kings.

-Poor run-rate in the second half: The Royals' run rate has fallen to 9.07 per over in the second half of this season, which is the lowest among all the teams.

-Underperforming top-order: While the top-order pair of Jos Buttler and Yashasvi Jaiswal blew hot and cold throughout the season, the success of skipper Sanju Samson and Riyan Parag at number three and four kept them prolific. In the first nine games, they had a collective strike rate of 153 and average of 50. But in their four losses, these statistics have dropped down to 133.42 and 31.66 respectively.

Tom Kohler Cadmore, an experienced player in the T20 league circuit, who has replaced Jos Buttler at the top, made a sluggish 18 in 23 balls against Punjab Kings. Jaiswal is in poor form as well, having made 24, 67, 4, 24, 4 in his last five innings. Samson, who is in excellent form this tournament, has last four knocks of 0, 86, 15 and 18. This leaves only Riyan in some form, who has knocks of 14, 77, 27, 47* and 48 in his last five innings.

-Drop in Yuzvendra Chahal's form: The lead spinner of Rajasthan Royals, who became the first-ever bowler to have 200 wickets in IPL history this season, has experienced a drop in form. In the first half during seven matches, he took 12 wickets at an average of 18.08 and a strike rate of 13.00. In the second half during six matches, he has taken just five wickets at an average of 50.4 and a strike rate of 28.8.

-Lack of in-form finisher: Shimron Hetmyer, the team's designated finisher Shimron Hetmyer is out due to an injury. In his absence, Rajasthan has tried several names to finish the games on a high, such as Rovman Powell, Dhruv Jurel, Shubham Dubey etc. However, none of them have hit their best form. 

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