Rajasthan Royals represent the city of Jaipur in the Indian Premier League. The franchise is owned by Manoj Badale.
Known for unearthing unknown talents, the Royals won the inaugural edition of the IPL under the captaincy of Shane Warne. In 2013, they made it to the final of the 2013 Champions League Twenty20 under Rahul Dravid’s captaincy.
In 2015, the Supreme Court suspended Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings for two years over a corruption and match-fixing scandal.
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Rajasthan Royals were considered the weakest team in the league before the start of the inaugural season. The notion only became stronger when they lost their first match against the Delhi Daredevils in a 9-wicket loss.
However, it was not a precursor of things that were to follow. They went on to defy all the odd and create history. Shane Warne’s captaincy was instrumental as the team blew away each team to finish the league stage at the top of the table. The Rajasthan-based outfit won 11 of their 14 group games.
In the semifinal, they thrashed Delhi Daredevils by 105 runs. In the final, they defeated Chennai Super Kings by 3 wickets on the last ball of the game to become the inaugural champions.
Following the unprecedented success in the inaugural season, the Royals could not quite manage to come up with the same kind of performance in the later seasons.
In 2009, they began their title defense in a disastrous manner. Royal Challengers Bangalore bowled them out for a paltry 58 while defending 133. The Shane Warne-led side ended the season at sixth position after winning just 6 matches out of the 14 they played.
The following season also started in a heartbreaking manner for the Royals as they suffered a narrow 4 run defeat to the Mumbai Indians. Yusuf Pathan had scored a historic 37-ball century but Royals failed to chase down 213. Once again, the Royals failed to make it to the playoffs as they finished 7th out of the 8 teams in the competition, winning 6 games out of 14 played.
Just before the 2011 season, the Royals faced an unwanted situation. Along with Kings XI Punjab, they were temporarily ejected from the league due to issues with their unreported ownership changes. But fortunately, both the teams were reinstated with involvement from the High Court. For the third time in a row, the Royals finished the season in the bottom half. They ended the season at the 6th position out of the 10 teams in the tournament, having won 6 out of their 14 matches played, with one being a no result.
Their struggle continued in 2012 too as they finished in seventh place among the point table after winning only seven matches out of sixteen.
Change in fortunes:
The Royals finally had something to laugh about. After three forgettable seasons, they made it to the playoffs in 2013 by finishing third in the group stage. They won against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the eliminator but lost to Mumbai Indians in the second qualifier, which led to their exit from the tournament.
They also grabbed a spot in Champions League T20 and finished runners-up after losing to Mumbai Indians in the final.
In 2014, they did decently but narrowly miss out on a playoff berth. They finished fifth in the league after winning 7 of the 14 games they played.
In 2015, the Royals managed to make it to the playoffs after winning 7 games. However, their campaign ended when they lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Eliminator.
A couple of months after the tournament ended, disaster struck for the Royals. On 14 July 2015, the Supreme Court appointed RM Lodha committee suspended the owners of Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings from the league for a period of two years. The ban is over now and both the teams will return to the league for the eleventh season.
The Royals play their home games at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. The stadium has a capacity of 30,000 seats. In 2014, Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad hosted the Rajasthan Royals home matches.
Indian Premier League
Champions League Twenty20
Indian Premier League
All eyes were firmly set on the returning Royals. The Rajasthan-based outfit along with Chennai Super Kings was returning to the league after serving a two year ban due to corruption charges.
The winners of the inaugural season retained Steve Smith and then were left with a purse worth Rs 67.5 crore. They then spent Rs 65.85 crore to buy 22 players, thus building a 23-man squad. England all-rounder Ben Stokes was the most expensive purchase of the Royals as well as the auction at Rs 12.5 crore.
They also broke the bank for Jaydev Unadkat, securing his services for a whopping Rs 11.50 crore. Unadkat was the most expensive Indian buy at the auction. In addition, they bought some players who give a formidable look to the side. Sanju Samson, Dhawal Kulkarni Stuart Binny, and Ajinkya Rahane were some impressive local buys while the likes of Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer give the team an exciting edge.
D Arcy Short