Many of the Rajasthan Royals boys had a great end to 2019, and they have gone on and started 2020 on a hungry note as well. The first week of this year has already seen a lot of cricket around the globe, and the Royals hogged the spotlight in many of these matches.
Riyan Parag: 123 vs Uttarakhand
A maiden First-Class hundred is always special, and Riyan Parag will remember this day for years to come. Assam were in a spot of bother with their top order back in the pavilion and the score reading 48/3. Riyan, who is known to play attacking strokes, resorted to defence and arrested the collapse. Once he was well settled, Riyan went on to play with freedom and scored his first Ranji Trophy hundred.
Steve Smith: 63 vs New Zealand, Sydney
It’s not very often we watch Steve Smith play second fiddle to someone, but he was the perfect foil for Marnus Labuschagne, who has been in tremendous form throughout the Australian summer. One of the highlights of his innings was the ball he got off the mark - it was the 39th he faced! The SCG applauded in unison, while Kiwi bowler Neil Wagner fist-bumped Smith while he was completing his run. Our skipper went on to score 63 in the innings.
Manan Vohra: 121 vs Nagaland
It is an absolute treat to watch Manan Vohra when he is on song. One such innings was his 121 against Nagaland. The Chandigarh skipper has gone past 50 in three of the four Ranji games this season, with a lowest score of 41 so far. The 26-year-old got into the groove early in his innings, with some audacious shots on display. He smashed 20 fours in all and helped Chandigarh lay the perfect platform for a massive first innings total.
Ben Stokes: 72 off 47 balls, Cape Town
Stokes’ love affair with Cape Town continued as England looked to accelerate in an attempt to set a stiff target for the Proteas. Batting at number 6, Stokesy came in all guns blazing and smacked the ball to all parts of Newlands. One of the shots of his innings was a nonchalant loft straight over the bowler’s head and into the sight-screen. The knock included 7 fours and 3 sixes in all.
Ankit Rajpoot: 4/60, 3/39 vs Tamil Nadu
Against a solid batting unit, Ankit Rajpoot bowled some amazing spells to claim 7 wickets in all against Ranji giants, Tamil Nadu. In the first innings, Rajpoot claimed 4/60, bagging some key middle-order wickets. In the second, he started off by taking a wicket with the new ball and then took a couple more, finishing with 3/39.
Yashasvi Jaiswal: 78 vs Zimbabwe U-19, Durban
Batting first against Zimbabwe U-19, Yashasvi Jaiswal got India to a solid start. He was cautious against the new ball, but gradually accelerated as he approached 50. He was part of a 143-run opening stand, scoring 78 runs with 5 fours and 2 sixes. Jaiswal has been warming up effectively before the U-19 World Cup with both bat and ball on this tour to South Africa, and he will hope to carry this form into the marquee tournament.
Mayank Markande: 3/77 vs Delhi
Mayank Markande has enjoyed consistent success with Punjab so far this season. In a match against Delhi, he came to the party late in their innings and helped wipe out the tail, ensuring Delhi’s lead did not exceed 26 runs. Mayank returned with figures of 3/77 in the match, which ended in a draw.
The rest of January has loads of cricketing action in store – international, domestic and junior level cricket. The Rajasthan Royals brigade has been hungry for runs and wickets, and with the IPL in sight, these performances will be vital for the players to maintain touch and form leading into the tournament.