The past week in the cricketing world has been a whirlwind ride for the fans all over the world. It saw a good mix of exhilarating test cricket, high-scoring ODIs, and close T20 encounters. It was also a week to remember for many of our Royals boys. One of them, in particular, will have special memories of this week as he pulled off a sensational win for his team with a hat-trick.
India’s tour of England reached its last and most important stage with the five-match test series getting underway. Hosts England narrowly beat India by 31 runs in a close contest. It once again highlighted the aura of test cricket as it was a perfect exhibition of an even contest between the bat and ball. Bowlers like Sam Curran, Ishant Sharma, and Ravichandran Ashwin all bowled excellent spells to aid their teams’ cause. When it comes to the batting, it was an all Virat Kohli show as he looked a class apart from the rest.
Over in Sri Lanka, South Africa salvaged some pride as they took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match ODI series. Debutant Reeza Hendricks’ century in the second ODI and Quinton de Kock’s fluent innings of 87 in the second ODI helped South Africa wrap up the series. Over at the Caribbean Islands, Bangladesh came from behind to win the T20 series against World Champions West Indies at their own den. This will give the Bangladesh fans a lot to cheer about after an embarrassing loss at the test matches.
Among all the drama and nail-biting cricketing action, some of the Royals showed their mettle and performed superbly to win their respective teams the matches. Let us check out some of them:
Ben Bowls England to Victory
The first test between India and England was an extremely close affair. The game was very evenly poised even before the last innings got underway. In fact, many believed that India were the favourites to chase the modest score of 194 in the last innings and win the first match. However, Ben Stokes had other ideas. He produced one of his finest bowling performances of his career to break the back of Indian batting. Although, his figures of 4/40 look impressive, it does not do justice to his contribution. He prized out the wicket of Virat Kohli, who had an air of invincibility until then. He had also dismissed a technically sound K.L Rahul, prior to dismissing the Indian captain. Towards the end of the match, when all Indian hopes rested with the hard-hitting Hardik Pandya, he removed him too, to give England a 1-0 lead in the series. At the end of the day, it was Stokes’ spell that turned out to be the difference between the two sides.
Archer Hits the Bull’s Eye
Jofra Archer has been putting in one impressive performance after the other at the ongoing Vitality Blast T20 tournament in England. He took his performance to the next level this week by getting a hat-trick against Middlesex. He single-handedly won the match for Sussex, when Middlesex looked to be running away with the match on the back of a spectacular batting display by Eoin Morgan. Jofra Archer with one spectacular over turned the match on its head. He first dismissed the dangerous Eoin Morgan, followed by John Simpson and finally completing a hat-trick with the dismissal of James Fuller. Apart from this, Archer also made his mark in the match against Somerset where he got two wickets for 24 runs and in Gloucestershire where he got rid of one batsman and conceded only 28 runs.
Ish Sodhi Downs Derbyshire
Ish Sodhi continued to bamboozle the batsmen with his mystery, and his latest victims were the batsmen from Derbyshire. Sodhi’s spell of 4/17 was his best in the Notts colours. The Derbyshire Falcons were well on track to chase down the target of 167, which was at par for the wicket. However, Ish Sodhi’s spell completely changed the complexion of the match. His most telling contribution was perhaps the dismissal of Wahab Riaz. Riaz had already smashed the ball to different parts of the ground on his way to an innings of 31 ball 53. This meant that if the Pakistani had continued his blitzkrieg even for a few more overs; the game could have slipped out of the Nottinghamshire Notts hands. Thankfully for them, Ish Sodhi dismissed him at a crucial juncture to peg the Falcons back. Apart from Wahab Riaz’s wicket, Ish Sodhi also accounted for opener Godleman, middle-order batsman Madsen and Captain Gary Wilson.
All these Rajasthan Royals players will be hoping to continue their good form. While Ben Stokes and Ajinkya Rahane will once again feature in the test matches along with Jos Buttler at the home of cricket, Lords. On the other hand, Jofra Archer and Ish Sodhi will continue their quest to lead their respective teams to victory in the business end of the Vitality T20 Blast. We hope each one of them performs to the best of their capabilities and keep the Rajasthan Royals flags high. Halla Bol!