Rajasthan Royals (RR) have announced the replacement of their star player Ben Stokes, who was ruled out of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 after he fractured his left index finger. Stokes’ injury occurred during the Royals’ opening fixture against Punjab Kings (PBKS) when the English all-rounder caught PBKS batsman Chris Gayle in the deep.
The Sanju Samson-led side has roped in South Africa’s Rassie Van Der Dussen as a replacement for Stokes. Van Der Dussen is a remarkable performer in T20 Internationals (T20Is). So far, the right-handed batter has appeared in 20 matches for the Rainbow Nation, amassing 628 runs at an impressive average of 41.87.
In his last five T20I innings, the Pretoria-lad has scored 37,25*,74*,34*, and 52.
The Royals have been hit by pull-outs and injuries, leaving them with just four overseas players, i.e. Jos Buttler, Chris Morris, Mustafizur Rahman and David Miller.
Apart from Stokes, pacer Jofra Archer was also ruled out of the fourteenth season due to his elbow injury. Another Englishman, Liam Livingstone, left the team citing bubble fatigue while the Australian seamer Andrew Tye returned home because of fear of rising COVID-19 cases in India. Considering this, the inclusion of Van Der Dussen will be quite helpful for the 2008 winners.
Meanwhile, the Royals have dragged themselves at the bottom in the points table after losing their fifth game in the competition on Thursday. The ‘Men in Pink’ faced defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) and lost the contest by seven wickets.
Put to bat first, RR posted 171/4 in their allotted 20 overs. Captain Samson scored 42 off 27 balls while opener Jos Buttler smashed 41 from 32 deliveries. Rookie Yashasvi Jaiswal (32) and all-rounder Shivam Dube (35) made valuable contributions to take the side to a competitive total.
In reply, MI chased down the target in 18.3 overs with seven wickets in hand. Opener Quinton de Kock was the main architect behind Mumbai’s epic win as he scored an unbeaten 70 from 50 deliveries at a strike rate of 140 with the help of 6 fours and 2 sixes.