However, they have turn things around remarkably well in the latter part of the season.
The Ajinkya Rahane-led team have won three games on the trot and are now just two wins away from sealing the playoffs spot. The three wins have catapulted them to the fourth spot in the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) points table.
Royals’ comeback has coincided with Buttler and Archer’s brilliant performances in the second-half of the season.
Buttler was having a poor IPL in the first half of the season while batting late down the order. However, things changed after he was promoted as an opener.
The wicketkeeper-batsman Buttler has not looked back since then and has scored five fifties on the trot. His scores in the last five games read 67, 51, 82, 95* and 94*. The last two knocks came while chasing against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and reigning champions Mumbai Indians (MI).
On the other hand, Archer has impressed with his pace and disciplined bowling. The Barbados-born all-rounder missed the start of the tournament due to an injury but he hit the ground running after making his debut.
So far, exciting talent Archer has picked up 13 wickets in only seven games. Against Indians, he dismissed Suryakumar Yadav and Rohit Sharma on successive deliveries, which played a big role in Mumbai posting 168 for six on the board in 20 allotted overs.
Royals had gone on to chase down the total with two overs remaining thanks to Buttler’s unbeaten 94 at iconic Wankhede Stadium.
Buttler and Archer’s performances have left Srikkanth mighty impressed. Writing a column for TOI, he opined that the duo has been pivotal in reviving Royals’ fortunes.
“The combination of Archer and Butler has been central in reviving Rajasthan’s dwindling fortunes. It will only be right if both are paid equal credit. To bowl four overs for 16 runs in a high scoring game, deserves special mention. The 14 dot balls from Archer were instrumental in keeping Mumbai in check and that, in my opinion, gave Rajasthan a target they could hunt down,” wrote Srikkanth.
“There is no sight more endearing in cricket than a fast bowler rushing in and hurrying the best of batsmen with sheer pace. Unfortunately, bowlers don’t get the same adulation as batsmen and Jofra Archer must be thinking what more should he be doing to gain a piece of the limelight, one that has entirely belonged to Buttler,” he added.
Srikkanth went on to say that Archer was a throwback to Windies fast bowlers of yore with the ability to turn matches in a blink of an eye.
“Archer possess two weapons that will never go out of fashion in the game. An incisive yorker and a well-directed bouncer. Both Surya Yadav and Rohit Sharma had to play those bouncers. Wickets in successive balls set Mumbai back from where they never really recovered. Archer laid the path and Butler complimented the effort brilliantly,” he wrote.
“During my playing days (against West Indies), there will be passages of play where it would look like we were gaining ascendency but one quick and hostile spell from one of their many pacers would turn the match on the head.”
The batting legend Kris Srikkanth also hailed the Royals for promoting Buttler in the batting order.
“Making him return to the top was easily the best call from the team think tank. The Englishman is in the form of his life, but what separates him from the rest is his ability to finish matches. To bat through two successful chases is no mean task and he has achieved that without breaking a sweat,” wrote Srikkanth.
Rajasthan now will take on Kolkata Knight Riders on Tuesday (May 15) at Eden Gardens.
“Tuesday’s clash against Kolkata will be another virtual quarter-final for Rajasthan. On current form both units look good. In my opinion, the only weakness with Rajasthan is the strike power of Ajinkya Rahane. Batting at top and going at a strike rate of 122 is not helping his team’s cause,” maintained Srikkanth.