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IPL 2023: Why did Ashwin open for RR vs PBKS, and what was the impact?

By Rohit - April 6, 2023 - Last updated on Apr 06, 2023 11:01 AM
IPL 2023: Why did Ashwin open for RR vs PBKS, and what was the impact?

Image Source: Twitter/ Ashwin, Buttler

In IPL 2023, Ravichandran Ashwin surprised everyone when he opened the innings for Rajasthan Royals (RR) with Yashasvi Jaiswal against Punjab Kings (PBKS), replacing the demoted Jos Buttler. Unfortunately, Ashwin's inning ended quickly as he perished for a four-ball duck, failing to make any impact. Buttler, who replaced Ashwin, came in at number 3, and Devdutt Padikkal played as a middle-order batter. RR's think tank refused to promote Padikkal, a natural opener, and preferred Ashwin as a makeshift option, leaving everyone wondering why. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind RR's top-order ploy, Samson's injury update on Buttler, and other key highlights of the match.

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The Indian Premier League (IPL) is one of the most-watched and celebrated T20 leagues worldwide. IPL 2023 has been full of surprises and thrilling performances so far, with teams competing fiercely to secure a spot in the playoffs. In a recent match between Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Punjab Kings (PBKS), Ravichandran Ashwin's opening with Yashasvi Jaiswal instead of Jos Buttler left cricket fans and experts perplexed. In this article, we will delve deeper into RR's top-order ploy and other crucial highlights of the match.

RR's top-order ploy: Why did Ashwin open for RR vs PBKS?

RR had a daunting task ahead of them as they chased 198 runs against PBKS. Everyone expected Buttler, who is known for his explosive batting, to open with Jaiswal. However, the RR think tank had different plans, and they decided to demote Buttler and give Ashwin a chance to open the innings. Ashwin is no stranger to experimenting with his batting order, and last year, he became the first batter to be tactically retired out in the IPL.

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Replacing Buttler as RR's makeshift opener against Punjab Kings, Ashwin failed to make an impact and perished for a four-ball duck. Buttler, who exchanged his batting positions with Ashwin, walked out to bat at No.3 while southpaw Devdutt Padikkal featured as a middle-order batter. Even though it was clear that Buttler would not open the innings for the Royals, the RR think tank refused to promote Padikkal, a natural opener, and instead preferred Ashwin as a makeshift option.

So, what was the reason behind RR's top-order ploy? When asked about it after the match, Rajasthan skipper Sanju Samson revealed that Buttler suffered an injury scare while fielding for the 2008 champions. "Jos wasn't fully fit. He had a stitch on his finger," said Samson, who top-scored for the Royals against Punjab. The Englishman injured his finger after taking a diving catch of Shahrukh Khan.

Despite the injury concerns surrounding Buttler, many cricket pundits and fans alike were left scratching their heads when they saw Ashwin opening the batting for RR against PBKS. After all, Ashwin is known more for his off-spin bowling rather than his ability with the bat, and his previous exploits as a makeshift opener in the IPL have been less than stellar.

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