We have had yet another exciting week of cricket that included Test matches, One Day Internationals and Twenty-Twenty action. T20 competitions like the Vitality Blast in England, and the Caribbean Premier League over in the West Indies are ready for the Semi-Finals stages, and the action is set to intensify. Domestically, two competitions reached its end with India Blue crowned the Duleep Trophy champions and the Bijapur Bulls capped off a wonderful season to win the 2018 edition of the Karnataka Premier League.
Over at the Gulf, Hong Kong confirmed their entry into the Asia Cup 2018 competition by winning the qualifiers. They beat the hosts United Arab Emirates in the finale. It will be interesting to see how the likes of UAE fare when they meet the big boys like Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan in the tournament.
Talking about the Indian team, they finished the test series against England on a disappointing note by losing the fifth and final test match. For the Royals fans though, we had plenty of opportunities to cheer and applaud our players as many of our boys put up excellent performances for their respective sides. Let us take a quick look at some of the key performances.
The Rise of Jos Buttler
Jos Buttler has built a reputation for himself for mastering the art of batting with the tail. He did his reputation no harm by showing the world what he is capable of at the Oval. After a steady start to the innings, the English batting faced a mini-collapse when they lost the wickets of Joe Root, Johnny Bairstow and Ben Stokes in quick succession. Jos Buttler thus walked into bat when his team was in a spot of bother. It looked even worse when Moeen Ali and Sam Curran departed in consecutive overs, leaving Buttler with only the tail for support.
Jos took up the responsibility then and put up crucial partnerships with Adil Rashid and Stuart Broad. It was his 98 run partnership with Stuart Broad which propelled England to a score of more than 300 when at one point in time even 225 looked doubtful. He rotated the strike cleverly in his innings of 89 off 133 balls, while also playing some beautiful counter-attacking shots from time to time. Such innings gives all the Royals fans hope that should there be a need for someone to bat with the tail in the 2019 edition of the IPL then Jos is our man to do so.
All-round Support from Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes may not have set the world on fire in the wrapped up test series against India, but every now and then Stokes has provided crucial supporting innings or spells to help his team at important junctures. The match at the Oval was no different. In the first innings of the match, Stokes helped keep the pressure on the Indian batsmen by bowling a tight line and length. Moreover, he got the prized scalp of Virat Kohli, apart from accounting for the wicket of the Indian wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant. Kohli’s wicket was a crucial one as he was well set and looked ready for yet another big innings. While Kohli was batting, it looked like India would get a lead, and Stokes’ dismissal of Kohli proved to be a turning point.
With the bat too, Stokes contributed with a quick-fire 37 off 36 in the second innings. When Stokes walked in to bat, the England team wanted some quick runs and Stokes delivered with a fluent innings that comprised of one massive six and five boundaries.
Jofra Archer Downs Leicestershire
In a second division encounter between Sussex and Leicestershire, Jofra Archer bowled his heart out in both the innings to give his team a massive win. In the first innings of the match, Archer got the early wicket of opener Harry Dearden for 16 and increased the pressure on the Leicestershire batting line up. In his second spell, he got rid of middle-order batsman Neil Dexter and tail-ender Ben Mike to help his team dismiss the opposition for a mere 133 as he finished with impressive figures of 3/28. Archer repeated his heroics in the second innings too as he wiped off the tail by getting rid of Neil Dexter and Ben Mike once again and also dismissing Dieter Klein. In the second innings, he got three wickets and gave way only 44 runs.
The coming week promises lots of thrilling cricketing action as the Asia cup is set to commence. In addition to that, the semi-final stages of the Vitality Blast and the Caribbean Premier League will also take place. We will be back with all the news related to those results, as well as the star Royals performers of the coming week to keep you updated. Halla Bol!