Rajasthan Royals Cricket Team: IPL's Best Underdog Story

Who doesn’t love an underdog story? The story of a team with no superstars, young unearthed talents, being written off by everyone could go on to lift the trophy. This can only happen in dreams, and doesn’t happen too often in reality. But that is exactly what the Rajasthan Royals Cricket Team achieved in the very first edition of the Indian Premier League. The 2008 Rajasthan Royals team’s triumph in the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is indeed a captivating underdog story. Led by Australian spin wizard Shane Warne, the team defied the odds and exceeded all expectations, by slaying down the tournament favourites, MS Dhoni’s mighty Chennai Super Kings in the tournament finals.

The Rajasthan Royals 2008 IPL Winning Team celebrate with the trophy

Credit: Aaj Tak

In this article by ZAP, let’s explore the story of the Rajasthan Royals Cricket Team, their history and owners, their IPL journey so far and everything else. 

Rajasthan Royals History and Owners:

The Rajasthan Royals Owners and Board at the IPL auction table

Credit: Cricbuzz

RR was one of the earliest teams for the Indian Premier League. The BCCI announced the IPL and the 8 franchises in 2007, of which a team based in Jaipur, Rajasthan was one. The team was bought by Emerging Media Group for a bid of $67 M, making if one of the cheapest ever IPL franchises. Emerging Media IPL Ltd, led by Manoj Badale, owns 65% of the Rajasthan Royals franchise as of 2021. RedBird Capital Partners and Lachlan Murdoch are significant minority stakeholders.

The Royals have faced multiple ups and downs throughout their history. They were under court trials for ownership related issues and were very close escaped being expelled from the 2010 season. Then in 2015, a match fixing scandal took place, and the team along with the Chennai Super Kings were banned from playing in the tournament for the 2016 and 2017 editions. 

Rajasthan Royals IPL Team Journey:

RR’s IPL journey has been marked by highs and lows since the inaugural season in 2008. In their debut year, under the leadership of Shane Warne, they emerged as the underdogs and went on to win the championship, with Shane Watson earning the Man of the Tournament award.

The following seasons saw the lowest of lows for the team. In 2009, they struggled to defend their title, finishing 6th. In 2010, despite a better start, inconsistency led them to a 7th-place finish. In 2011 they finished 6th, and in 2012 finished 7th again.

The 2013 season brought both success on the field, with Shane Watson winning the Man of the Tournament but couldn’t win the title. In 2014, they got knocked out in an unbelievable game of cricket against Mumbai Indians, and couldn’t qualify for the playoff on the last league game. 

In 2018, after a two-year suspension, they made a comeback but faced challenges with Steve Smith stepping down as captain due to the ball-tampering controversy. In 2019, despite a change in captaincy to Steve Smith mid-season, they couldn't reach the playoffs.

The 2020 season saw them finishing at the bottom despite Jofra Archer's standout performances. In 2021, Sanju Samson took over as captain. In 2022, they reached the final but finished as runners-up losing to the debutants Gujarat Titans. Jos Buttler was the season's MVP, and Yuzvendra Chahal won the Purple Cap. The 2023 season was underwhelming too, with the team only reaching 5th in the table. 

Rajasthan Royals IPL Ban:

The year was 2013, and the IPL was slowly becoming one of the most profitable sports tournaments in the world. In light of this, an illegal betting scandal was discovered which changed the face of the tournament. Three Rajasthan players S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila, and Ankeet Chavan caught red-handed in a spot-fixing scheme. Ajit Chandila was arrested and put to court, but due to the lack of evidence for Sreesanth and Chavan, they were released. Investigation revealed that Raj Kundra, the then co owner of the had a major hand behind this scandal. The Rajasthan team management moved quickly to declare that, should the allegations against Kundra prove to be true, he would be suspended and have his team shares reverted. The investigations were carried out until 2015, and the Chennai Super Kings ownership too was found to be involved in a betting scheme, and in 2015, the Supreme Court of India, BCCI and the IPL committee banned the Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings teams for 2 years and they would miss the 2016 and 2017 season.

Rajasthan Royals IPL Season Finishes:


League Standing

Win Rate

Final Standing


1st out of 8




6th out of 8


League stage


7th out of 8


League stage


6th out of 10


League stage


7th out of 9


League stage


3rd out of 9




5th out of 8


League stage


4th out of 8












4th out of 8




7th out of 8


League stage


8th out of 8


League stage


7th out of 8


League stage


2nd out of 10




5th out of 10


League stage

Rajasthan Royals Cricket Team Players and Legends:

Rajasthan cricket team is known for developing young and uncapped players and has given us some cult heroes and also players who have gone onto play for the Indian Cricket Team. You never saw the Royals studded with international superstars until the 2018 season. They gave chances to players like Dishant Yagnik, Stuart Binny, Yusuf Pathan, Shreyas Gopal and many more young talents. Even Ravindra Jadeja, who has gone on to becoming one of the greatest all rounders of all time, was found by the RR scouts and the franchise has played a major role in the plyer he has become today. The 2008 RR Team was a prime example of this, all young and unknown players that led the line and won the tournament for the team. But there have been some players who have gone onto become legends for the franchise. 

Sanju Samson – The Rajasthan Royals Captain:

Sanju Samson hits a ball out of the park batting for the Rajasthan Royals IPL Team

Credit: Hindustan Times

Samson, born in Kerala, India, joined the Rajasthan Royals in 2013 as a fresh-faced youngster brimming with talent. Over the years, he has grown not only as a player but also as a leader, becoming the embodiment of the franchise's spirit. He has been a consistent run-scorer for the Royals, showcasing his ability to adapt to different match situations and bowling attacks. His explosive strokeplay and ability to chase down targets have made him a fan favourite. Samson also led the Royals in 2022 to the IPL final, showcasing how good of a captain he was for the team. 

Shane Warne:

Shane Warne celebrates a wicket for the Rajasthan Royals IPL team

Credit: NDTV Sports

Shane Warne, the charismatic and skillful Australian leg-spinner, was an absolute legend for the Rajasthan Royals Cricket Team. His contributions to the franchise were immense, both on and off the field. He led the Royals' bowling attack taking 57 wickets in 55 matches for them. He was appointed captain and coach of the RR in the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008, and under his astute leadership, the team defied all odds to become the champions. After his retirement, he took up the role of the Mentor for the RR and continued to show his support for the Royals.  

Rajasthan Royals Home Ground: Sawai Mansingh Stadium

The Sawai Mansingh Cricket Stadium in Jaipur hosting an IPL match

Credit: TheSportsRush

Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur is the home ground for the Royals and once was their fortress. RR would rarely lose a match at this ground. With its 30,000 seats capacity, the stadium is among the best in India following renovations in 2006. Ahmedabad's Sardar Patel Stadium also hosted the home matches for the RR Team. After serving a two-year suspension and having the stadium barred from holding games for four years, Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur resumed hosting Royals home games for the 2018 Indian Premier League.

Read about home grounds of some other IPL Teams:

Wankhede Stadium | Chinnaswamy Stadium | Eden Gardens | MCA Stadium, Pune

Rajasthan Royals Merchandise, T-shirt and Jersey and Official Song:

The Royals stated their first seasons in the IPL with a blue jersey adorned with golden designs. In 2018, they chose to wore the colour Pink in support of cancer awareness. This initiative was received very well with the fans and from the next season onwards they changed their jersey to pink, an ode to the name, The Pink City of India, which Jaipur is also commonly called as. RR’s slogan and their anthem too is one of the most iconic ones in the tournament. Their slogan, "Halla Bol," translates to "Raise your voice," perfectly captures the team's passionate energy and encourages their loyal fans to roar with support. 

Rajasthan Royals Iconic Rivalries in the IPL:

A scuffle between Ravinchandran Ashwin from Punjab and Jos Buttler from Rajasthan Royals after Aswin Mankadded Buttler

Credit: Cricket Australia

The rivalry between the Royals and the Punjab Kings (also Kings XI Punjab) is one of the OG and oldest rivalries in the league. Also named the Northen Derby, there have been 25 matches played between the two teams, with RR winning 14 times and Punjab with 11 wins. In the 2019 season, Ravichandran Ashwin who was playing for Punjab then, mankaded Jos Buttler, sparking controversies and debates about the Spirit of the Game, which added fuel to this rivalry. 

Read about Cricket Rules and understand the game better. 

Rajasthan Royals IPL Records:

Highest Innings Total:

226/6 against the Punjab Kings at Sharjah on 27 September 2020.

Lowest Innings Total:

58 against Royal Challengers Bangalore at Cape Town on 18 April 2009.

Most Runs:

3,211 runs by Sanju Samson spanning from 2013 to 2023.

Highest Individual Score:

124 runs by Jos Buttler against Sunrisers Hyderabad at Delhi on 2 May 2021.

Most Career Sixes:

155 sixes by Sanju Samson from 2013 to 2023.

Most Wickets:

65 wickets by Siddharth Trivedi from 2008 to 2013.

Best Figures in an Innings:

6/14 by Sohail Tanvir against Chennai Super Kings at Jaipur on 4 May 2008.

Most Wickets in a Season:

28 wickets by James Faulkner in 2013.


Ajit Chandila, Pravin Tambe, Shane Watson, Shreyas Gopal, and Yuzvendra Chahal have taken hat-tricks for Rajasthan.

Career Wicket-Keeping Dismissals:

67 dismissals by Sanju Samson spanning from 2013 to 2023.

Most Career Catches:

40 catches by Ajinkya Rahane from 2011 to 2019.

Highest Partnerships:

155 runs by Jos Buttler and Devdutt Padikkal against Delhi Capitals at Mumbai on 22 April 2022.

Read about all the cricket records: 

Most Runs in History | Most Wickets in History | Most Centuries in all formats | Most Sixes in History | Fastest Ball Ever Bowled


Rajasthan Royals after the first season have been a very inconsistent team in the league. Despite the initial glory of being crowned champions in the inaugural season, the Rajasthan Royals have endured a rollercoaster ride ever since. Season after season, inconsistency has plagued their performance, leaving their passionate fanbase yearning for the happy days. But there is some optimism because bright young players like Devdutt Padikkal, Riyan Parag, Dhruv Jurel and many have given the team a much-needed boost of energy and enthusiasm. And with the guidance and experience of players like Yuzvendra Chahal, Jos Buttler and their captain Sanju Samson, there’s definitely a recipe for success in the making. But, only time will tell when fans will get to let the trumpets blow and the Halla Bol echo throughout the nation!

Now that you've read about the Rajasthan Royals IPL Team, here are some other articles you shoudl read, about other teams and some other exciting tournaments.

Kolkata Knight Riders | Big Bash League | Ashes

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