The Vivo Indian Premier League (IPL) is less than a month away and fiery performances from the Rajasthan Royals are eagerly expected. It is enthralling to watch some of them unleash their beastly performances with the season so close. Oshane Thomas, David Miller, Steve Smith, and Jaydev Unadkat have cranked it up at the international and domestic levels.
Jaydev Unadkat:10/142 vs Gujarat, Ranji semi-final
We will fall short of adjectives to describe Unadkat’s performances on the domestic front this season. He has been unstoppable for Saurashtra, leading them right from the front. He carriedthe fine form he has been for the last couple of months into the semi-final tie against Gujarat. Leading his team, Unadkat was crucial in the first innings picking up three important wickets helping Saurashtra to a lead of 52 in the first innings.
The second innings was a masterful performance from the left-armer. Unadkat single-handedly broke the back of Gujarat’s batting when they got into a comfortable position in the chase. It was a captain’s performance from the Rajasthan Royals pacer as he picked up wickets at vital moments in the game, moments that swung the tie Saurashtra’s way. His ten-for in the semi-final saw him break a 21-year old record for the most wickets by a fast bowler in a single Ranji Trophy season. Unadkat currently sits on 65 wickets and would look to add more, as he aims to lead this Saurashtra side to Ranji Trophy glory against Bengal in the final.
Oshane Thomas: 5/28 vs Sri Lanka
The first T20 between Sri Lanka and the West Indies saw Oshane Thomas make a destructive return to international cricket. It was a scintillating display of pace and power that saw Thomas run through the Sri Lankan line-up. In what was a three-over spell in the Powerplay, the Rajasthan Royals quick consistently clocked over 140 kph and hassled the Lankan batsmen through his feisty lengths.
A perfect combination of pace and power, Thomas’ spell meant that Sri Lankans could never really get going in their pursuit of 197, stumbling to 56 for 5 after six overs. Late surges had the Sri Lankans going, they, however, fell short, in the end, owing largely to Thomas’ decimating spell first-up. He joins Lasith Malinga in an elite club of bowlers who have claimed a 5-fer in the Powerplay.
David Miller:64(70) & 37(29) vs Australia
South Africa’s ongoing One-Day series against Australia has showcased the skill level that David Miller possesses in the limited-overs format. The first two ODIs of the series have seen Miller play two innings of different dimensions, depicting his robustness against quality opposition. The first game saw him play the waiting game, wherein he batted through the innings and supported Klassen efficiently to take South Africa from a slightly precarious position, to a match-winning total. He showed restraint and application on his way to 64, eventually helping South Africa set up an impressive win.
The second ODI saw Miller join Malan with the game evenly poised and the Proteas still needing 90 to win off 69 balls. Miller scored a swift 37 off 29 to put the pressure on the Aussie bowlers and knock off any hopes the travelling team might have had after Klassen’s wicket. The 90-run partnership between Malan and Miller saw South Africa over the line, helping them take an unassailable 2-0 lead going into the final game in Potchefstroom.
Steve Smith: 76(94) vs South Africa
Australia did not have the best of games during their first ODI against South Africa. The only bright spot for them during the game was a resilient Steve Smith. Coming in during the fifth over after Aaron Finch’s wicket,The Rajasthan Royals skipper looked comfortable during his stay and scored at a decent pace early on in his innings. Smith looked the part in an innings which was struggling to finda partnership of substance, as wickets kept falling at the other end.
Labuschagne’s entry made life a tad bit easier for Smudge, but it did not last long. Steve Smith held the innings together from one end in afaltering chase. Smith showed the determination and skill against an apt South African attack, scoring a well-made 76 before falling in the 35th over. Smith’s impact was evident right after his wicket Australia collapsed and the chase did not materialise.
These were some top displays and we can’t wait for some more from our Rajasthan Royals boys. The cricket action continues as Australia take on South Africa in the final ODI, looking to salvage some pride. South Africa will also soon be visiting India for a three-match One-Day series. West Indies, meanwhile will look to win the T20 series in Sri Lanka. Jaydev Unadkat will aim to captain his side to a Ranji Trophy title as they take on Bengal on 9th March, and last but not least, England look to continue their good form, as they take on Sri Lanka for a two-match Test series.