2019 is coming to an end and before all the New Year’s celebrations get underway, our Royals have ensured that they ended the year on a high. We’ve had the addition of a few new Royals post the IPL auction, and they have proven why they are such amazing buys with match-winning performances across the world. Let’s see which of the Rajasthan Royals boys grabbed headlines this month.
Steve Smith: 85 vs New Zealand, Melbourne
Our captain’s love affair with the MCG continued, as he scored a patient 85 against the Kiwis, who were bowling very well. Smith’s knock allowed the middle-order to capitalize on the foundation and put up a strong first innings total.
Sanju Samson: 116 vs Bengal
A century in his first Ranji game of the season? Sanju Samson will take that! Returning from national duty, Samson stroked a fluent 116 for Kerala against Bengal. He played some sublime shots that included 16 fours and a six. In Kerala’s next game, Sanju led a sole fight in the fourth innings, trying to keep his team from losing. He scored 78 valiant runs against Gujarat, but the rest of the line-up folded up right after his dismissal.
Jofra Archer: 5/102 vs South Africa, Centurion
After a quiet tour of New Zealand, Jofra Archer was back at his devastating best on England’s tour to South Africa. During the Boxing Day Test at Centurion, Archer steamed in hard during the Proteas’ second innings and scalped 5 wickets to keep the fourth innings target under 400. His wickets included key South African batsmen, Faf du Plessis and Dean Elgar.
Manan Vohra: 124 vs Arunachal Pradesh
As a newly instated team for this year’s Ranji Trophy, Manan Vohra-led Chandigarh were playing their first game at home against Arunachal Pradesh. After the openers put up 220 runs for the first wicket, Manan cashed in with a quick, 82-ball 124 in an attempt to put up a huge score before declaring the innings. Manan kick-started the tournament on the front foot, and followed it up with a fine 90 against Meghalaya.
Riyan Parag: 66 vs Services, 55 vs Jharkhand
Riyan Parag has top-scored for Assam in a couple of innings early in the Ranji Trophy. Assam has had a few batting woes they will be looking to fix. However, Riyan has emerged as a silver lining for them so far. In their first game this season, Riyan scored a mature 66 taking Assam past Services’ first innings total. He helped his team garner a lead of 38 runs in what was a low-scoring encounter. Against Jharkhand, once again, Riyan’s half-century helped Assam put up a somewhat respectable total.
Shreyas Gopal: 58 vs Uttar Pradesh
Shreyas Gopal is a fine all-rounder to have in your ranks in the long format of the game. Karnataka’s top and middle order failed to live up to its reputation against Uttar Pradesh. Most of the batsmen lost their wickets after good starts. Gopal, batting at no. 6 ensured that the UP bowlers didn’t get easy access to Karnataka’s tail. His 58 also helped them go past UP’s first innings total.
Tom Curran: 43* vs Scorchers, 2/23 & 35* vs Thunder
Tom Curran has been on a spree with Sydney Sixers – with both bat and ball. He came in to bat at no. 6 for the Sixers who had lost their way while batting first against Perth Scorchers. Curran gave the much-needed impetus to the innings with a swashbuckling 21-ball 43 that catapulted the Sixers to a match-winning 174.
His exploits in the following game were even better. He started off with 2/23 and kept Sydney Thunder in check. With the bat, he came out when the Sixers were losing their way in the chase. He got going off the first ball itself and took the game right down to the wire. Curran ensured that the match went into the Super Over with a dismissive 17-ball 35. He came out to bat again, but edged one to the keeper off the first ball. But, Curran wasn’t done. He returned with the ball and successfully defended 16 runs against Usman Khawaja and Alex Hales to help Sixers win their first Super Over.
Mahipal Lomror: 97 vs Vidarbha
Mahipal has been the backbone to Rajasthan’s batting. The team hasn’t been putting up big totals on the board, but Lomror has waged a lone battle against some tough oppositions. His best innings so far has to be his 97 against defending champions, Vidarbha. Batting on their turf in Nagpur, Lomror compiled a solid 97 against the top-quality Vidarbha attack. His exploits took Rajasthan to 290.
Jaydev Unadkat: 6/23 vs Railways, 6/51 vs Himachal Pradesh
Jaydev’s left-arm seamers have proven to be too hot for most of the batsmen he has bowled to during the Ranji Trophy. His two 6-fers have been quite masterful. JD has been instrumental in getting top batsmen out with the new ball and he has been effective in wiping out the tail as well. His spells have helped Saurashtra keep both Railways and HP to paltry scores. Against the former, he claimed a 10-wicket haul in the match. Apart from bowling ridiculously well, Unadkat has done a fine job of marshalling his troops.
Mayank Markande: 5/19 vs Hyderabad
The leggie’s spell in Hyderabad’s second innings blew them away for just 76. Markande had warmed up with a wily 3/65 in the first innings, but he saved his best for the second. He skittled out Hyderabad’s middle and lower order cheaply to seal a 125-run victory for Punjab.
Yashasvi Jaiswal: 4/13 & 89* vs South Africa U-19
The U-19 star who is taking the world by storm never ceases to impress us. On India U-19’s tour to South Africa, Jaiswal tormented the hosts with both bat and ball. In just 3.5 overs, Jaiswal ran through no.s 7, 9, 10 and 11 to keep the Proteas to 119. He then led the chase with a blistering 56-ball 89, seeing India U-19 home in just 16.2 overs. It seemed like he had his T20 game on.
Kartik Tyagi: 2/28 vs South Africa U-19
Another superstar in the making, Kartik Tyagi was reaping benefits from his accurate line and length. He is quite nippy with the new ball and gave India U-19 an early breakthrough. He then returned during the death overs to collect one more wicket. Tyagi finished the innings as the most economical bowler with figures of 9-1-28-2.
Akash Singh: 2/37 vs South Africa U-19
All the three U-19 Royals on the tour to South Africa have risen to the occasion to put in note-worthy performances. Akash Singh bowled a mind blowing opening spell with the new ball. He managed to outwit both the Protea openers, providing the perfect start for India U-19. He has been enjoying bowling on the South African pitches and could claim many more wickets on the tour.
David Miller: 25* off 15 vs Renegades
In what was a clinical chase by Hobart Hurricanes, David Miller came out and sent the ball packing on a couple of occasions to seal the deal for his team. Miller has had a rather quiet start to the Big Bash League, but this innings has given us a glimpse of what to expect if he gets going, something the IPL has seen plenty of times in the past.
December has been quite delightful for the Rajasthan Royals boys and the team overall. The auction went to plan and we got a great set of new players, who have turned heads this month. The new year promises to bring much more laurels to each of the members of the Royals family.