The World Cup has been the talk of the cricket town. It has been one week since the tournament got underway, and the first two games saw two Rajasthan Royals players win the Man of the Match awards. We couldn’t have asked for a better start. Apart from the World Cup, two more Royals played dashing knocks for their respective teams. Let’s take you through what was a fabulous week for the Royals. Ben Stokes: 89, 2/12 and THAT CATCH vs South Africa Playing his first ODI World Cup for England, Stokesy contributed with bat, ball and on the field in his maiden World Cup appearance. It wasn’t his batting or bowling that got him into the headlines, it was that ridiculously unbelievable catch in the deep that cut through his bowling and batting. The day for Stokes started with the bat when he ensured that England got to a good total on the back of his 89. Stokes started off cautiously, but hit the accelerator towards the end of the innings. Stokes then returned late in South Africa’s innings to inflict a run-out on Dwaine Pretorius with a fine throw from the outfield. And, then he misjudged one off Phehloukwayo, only to back-track and leap ridiculously high off the ground to take one of the finest World Cup catches. The crowd, the batsman and the English players on the field were all stunned by this heroic effort by Stokesy. Stokes then came in to bowl and carried out the finishing act on the Protea tail. He won the Man of the Match award for what was a truly all-round performance. Stokes could be quite the dangerman for most teams facing England as they look to become the 3rd team in succession to claim the World Cup on home soil. Jofra Archer: 3/27 vs South Africa While Stokes was having an amazing day, the other World Cup debutante, Jofra Archer was having his share of fun as well. After having being praised by Indian skipper Virat Kohli as being the X factor in the England team in the lead up to the tournament, the pacer dismantled South Africa’s top and middle-order with a fiery spell. He started off by bowling a vicious bouncer that hit Amla on his grill. The Protea legend was forced to go off the field until he returned much later. Jofta then sent back Faf du Plessis and Aiden Markram in quick succession to give England their first two wickets. In his second spell, Archer got rid of the well-set van der Dussen. He finished with figures of 3/27 off 7 overs that included a maiden over as well to make it a World Cup debut to remember. Oshane Thomas: 4/27 vs Pakistan The last time the World Cup was played in England, Oshane Thomas was just 2 years old. He was the last bowler Jason Holder introduced into the attack against Pakistan, who were already in a spot of bother. Oshane got rid of Pakistan’s in-form no. 3, Babar Azam. Thomas bowled with a lot of zeal during his World Cup debut. He got rid of one more dangerman, the experienced Mohammad Hafeez. Finally, the tall Jamaican cleaned up the tail with his express pace to claim 4 wickets in all. It took Oshane all of 34 balls to end a remarkable spell. Jos Buttler: 103 (76), 9 fours, 2 sixes vs Pakistan England and Pakistan played a lot of limited overs cricket against each other recently. These two oppositions were quite familiar with each other’s games. In the ODI series, Jos Buttler scored England’s second fastest century, and entered the World Cup in fine form. Jos had a quiet outing against South Africa, but made it all up against Pakistan. Coming in at number 6, England were in pursuit of a steep 349. Buttler wasted no time in getting going. He hammered nine fours and two sixes, as he got to a century off just 75 balls. The century was the fastest by an England batsman in World Cup history. Liam Livingstone: 114 (171), 14 fours, 2 sixes vs Leicestershire Liam Livingstone proved to be Lancashire’s saviour with the bat once again. Liam walked in to bat with Lancashire on 55/3. Very soon they were reduced to 128/5. However, Livingstone didn’t refrain from playing his natural game, that triggered Lancashire’s counterattack. The fightback Livingstone started gave the Lancashire lower order the confidence to charge towards a big total. He departed on 114, but the team notched up 449. Liam contributed with the ball as well, claiming two wickets. Dhawal Kulkarni: 68 (37), 5 fours, 3 sixes (T20 Mumbai) Captaining Aakash Tigers MWS, Dhawal Kulkarni and his team had an uphill task trying to chase 218 to make it to the T20 Mumbai final. Dhawal came in to bat at number 6 with the chase seemingly going off track. He batted with the lower order and brought in a mix of big hitting along with some smart batting to nurture the strike. Although his team fell 27 runs short of the target, DK stayed unbeaten on 68 and hit five dashing boundaries and three massive sixes. There’s more cricket to come, in the World Cup as well as County Cricket. All the active Royals appear to be in scintillating form and it will be interesting to watch how they go about their game in the coming week.
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