The clock is ticking faster than ever as the second half of IPL 2021 approaches us swiftly. With just four days to go for our match against Punjab Kings, the Royals had their first intrasquad practice match on Friday. Players who had already completed their quarantine got a run out at the Sevens Stadium, which is where the Royals academy is based as well.

The available members of the squad, apart from the Indian contingent, included South Africans Chris Morris, who has been with the squad since the very start of our camp in Dubai, and Tabraiz Shamsi. The other overseas boys are likely to feature in the 2nd practice match later today.

However, it was the young Indian batters who brought the fireworks in what was an absolute run-fest! In a clash between “Royals Blue” & “Royals Pink”, it was the former who came out on top, chasing down a massive target of 220 in the final over under the lights.

Yashasvi Jaiswal stole the show for Royals Pink after Sanju’s 40-ball 52, with a stunning 84* (39). The 19-year-old left-hander impressed one and all with both textbook and innovative shots, smashing the ball all around the park. The biggest surprise package from the innings was an incredible cameo by Jaydev Unadkat, who hit three sixes in an over enroute to an unbeaten 36 off 18 balls, much to the delight of the rest of his team and the watching support staff.

Royals Blue had a youngster-heavy top order, and after a relatively slower start than their opponents, Anuj Rawat and Mahipal Lomror scored quickfire 60s each to set a strong foundation for the chase. And it was left to Riyan Parag to play the role of a finisher, with a 26-ball 56 against a bowling attack that included JD, Shamsi, and Gopal. While it wasn’t Morris’ day with the bat, he did bowl brilliantly earlier, bagging 1/25 in his four-over spell.

Amongst the overseas players, Liam Livingstone and David Miller are expected to play in today’s practice match, along with Lewis, Phillips and Oshane. As reported earlier, all our overseas players have joined the rest of the camp in Dubai and are expected to be available for Tuesday’s opener. 

What do you think of our team for the second half of the 2021 IPL season? Send in your views on Twitter at @rajasthanroyals or to me @cricketpun_duh