From the Sheffield Shield to the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, the Rajasthan Royals boys have left their mark with some commendable performances. Some of the players stood up for their team when they were needed the most, while the rest ensured that they rode on the advantage to make the most of the situations and help their team finish on the winning side.
Steve Smith: 103 vs Western Australia
There seems to be no stopping Steve Smith, and we would like it to remain that way for a long, long time. Steve Smith quickly adapted his game plan from T20 to the longer format of the game. Batting in the Sheffield Shield game for New South Wales, Smith brought up his 42nd century, also the slowest of his first-class career. With the home Tests against Pakistan slated to begin in a few days, Smith couldn’t have asked for a better way to prepare than go back to domestic cricket and play a first-class match. Safe to say, he is well prepared!
Shreyas Gopal: 5/19 vs Services
Once Shreyas Gopal gets on a roll, all the Rajasthan Royals fans know what turmoil he can cause for the opposition. In what was his second 5-wicket haul in T20 cricket this year, Shreyas bamboozled the Services batsman with a spell that was a leg-spin masterclass. He was only one of two Karnataka bowlers who conceded under six runs an over. He picked up 3 wickets in 4 balls in the 16th over to stall Services’ progress in a steep chase.
Riyan Parag: 58 (31), 4s: 1, 6s: 6 vs Haryana
That is definitely the pose of a man who hits a huge one into the stands. Riyan Parag showed his six hitting capabilities against Haryana. He gave Assam the perfect platform to finish on a high with a 31-ball 58. However, once he fell their innings didn’t quite receive the uplift in the last few overs. Riyan bowled an economical spell in the second innings, conceding just 15 runs off his 4 overs with a wicket. His all-round capabilities could prove to be the key for Assam to get into the next stage of the tournament.
SudesanMidhun: 4/5 vs Manipur
The young leggie picked up his best figures In T20 cricket against Manipur. He was the pick of the bowlers for Kerala as they restricted a hapless Manipur to just 74 runs in their 20 overs. Midhun’s spell read; 4-1-5-4. He seemed impossible to get away for the batsmen and Midhun extracted a massive amount of purchase off the pitch as well. Midhun is slowly developing into Kerala’s chief leggie in the tournament.
Ish Sodhi: 2/37 vs England
New Zealand were 1-0 down in the 5-match T20I series. At one point in the chase, England seemed to be sailing in pursuit of 177. Ish Sodhi took a few hits from the English batsmen, but he got the Kiwis two key wickets; those of Dawid Malan and Sam Billings. These scalps helped the Kiwis bowl England out for 155.
Manan Vohra: 75 (52), 4s: 6, 6s: 3 vs Maharashtra
Chandigarh skipper, Manan Vohra led them from the front during their chase of 163 runs. He opened the innings and stayed unbeaten to see the team right through. Vohra kept a calm head through his knock of 75. He took advantage of the field restrictions in the Powerplay and then relied on a lot of running between the wickets. In shorter words, it was a perfectly paced innings by a captain to ensure victory for his team.
Jaydev Unadkat: 3/32 vs Gujarat
Saurashtra had posted a mammoth 214 runs against Gujarat. The skipper, Jaydev Unadkat would’ve been impressed with his batsmen and the bowlers would have felt like they had a lot of runs to play with. However, it was the start of the chase that Saurashtra had to dominate with the ball, and JD ensured just that. He dismissed Gujarat’s top order very cheaply, reducing them to 27/3. There was no coming back from that early burst by JD.
Rahul Tripathi: 2/12 vs Railways
Rahul Tripathi had to take off that helmet and bring in his bowling skills to the fore for Maharashtra during a low-scoring thriller against Railways. In a rain-hit game, both sides had 15 overs, and Maharashtra set a target of 105. Tripathi brought himself on to bowl after the Powerplay. Towards the end of the innings. He claimed a wicket off consecutive deliveries in his spell; one of the final ball of the 8th and the second off the first ball of the 10th. For a man who plays as a batsman, it was some achievement to bowl an economical spell and take two wickets.
Varun Aaron: 2/21 vs Jammu & Kashmir
In another close low-scoring game, Varun Aaron played his part brilliantly to keep J&K from crawling over the line right at the end. Both the batsmen he got rid off were dismissed on ducks. Aaron conceded under 6 runs an over and kept it very tight throughout his spell.
Stuart Binny: 42 (21), 4s: 1, 6s: 4 vs Sikkim
When it comes to using some muscle, Stuart Binny is a pro at it. Chasing a rather comfortable target of 123, Stuart Binny decided to open his shoulders as soon as he got in to bat. Coming in at number 4, Binny smashed four sixes and a four and ended up with a strike rate of exactly 200. He took Nagaland home by staying unbeaten right till the end.
Shashank Singh: 3/20 vs Railways
Shashank missed out with the bat after he got run out on 14. His short stay had two gigantic sixes in it. He returned strong with the ball though. Coming in as a first-change bowler, he got the ball to move slightly and clamed two wickets right after the Powerplay. Shashank then returned towards the death to help Chhattisgarh clean up the tail. He claimed one more wicket to finish with an applaudable 3/20 in his four overs.
November seems to be a fantastic month already for the Rajasthan Royals lads *touch wood*. A few Test series are lined up in the coming few weeks – India vs Bangladesh, Australia vs Pakistan & New Zealand vs England. The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy will see teams eye for the knockout spots. This only means more performances by the Royals. HallaBol!