2019 has been an excellent year so far for the Royals domestic players as well as the foreign contingent. While players like Sanju Samson, Jaydev Unadkat and Shreyas Gopal seem to be hitting form at the right time, foreign players like Ben Stokes, Ashton Turner, Jofra Archer, and Ish Sodhi have impressed too. Let us check out who among them shone the brightest over the last one week -
Ashton Turner Keeps Hitting them Long
If recent form is anything to go by, then one of the most in-form T20 players at this time is definitely Perth Scorchers' captain and Rajasthan Royals’ newest recruit Ashton Turner. Ashton has been turning on the heat for his side Perth Scorchers all season this year. The last week was no different. He played two sensational innings in back-to-back matches to give his team an outside chance of qualification to the final stages of the tournament.
In the match against Melbourne Stars, Turner ensured that his team chased down a modest score of 146 in a canter with an exhibition of some clean hitting. His unbeaten innings of 43 off 22 balls meant that the Scorchers won comfortably with 14 balls to go. He cashed in on a solid start provided by the openers and hit 3 sixes and 2 fours to close off the match. His innings gave the Scorchers run-rate a lift, which could prove crucial, at the end of the season.
Turner carried his excellent form into the match against the Sydney Sixers at the home of the Scorchers - Perth Stadium. Chasing a formidable score of 178, Scorchers lost a wicket early on and lost another wicket soon after. When Turner walked in, they needed 113 off 77 balls. The captain then hit the ground running to ease the pressure on Bancroft. He took on spinner Steve O’Keefe, hitting sixes almost at will. Besides he also smashed a few boundaries of the opposition captain Moises Henriques to reach 50 off just 22 balls. By the time he was dismissed at 60 off 30 balls, the match was virtually in the bag, as the Scorchers needed only 15 off 15 balls, which was eventually achieved with 7 balls to spare. Royals get your seat belts on and be prepared to rock n’ roll with Turner this season!
Ish Sodhi Mops Up the Sri Lankan Tail
Ish Sodhi’s performances in the T20s have improved tremendously over the last 12 months or so. He continued his good show with a stellar performance against Sri Lanka in the sole T20I at Eden Park. When he came on to bowl, it was evident that the Kiwis were on top. At the same time, it was also essential that Kiwis did not allow any partnership to grow as that could easily take the match away from them. This is when Sodhi put in a professional performance by mopping up the tail in no time and thus ending the game before the completion of the 17th over. His classical spinners were too difficult to read for the likes of Dasun Shanaka, Kasun Rajitha, and Lahiru Kumara as they all perished to him. Ish, therefore, completed yet another impressive display, finishing with figures of 3/30 in 3.5 overs.
This performance came at the back of another clinical performance by Sodhi in the third ODI against the Lankans at Saxton Oval, where he dismissed Dasun Shanaka, Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Pradeep and conceded just 40 runs off his bowling.
Ben Stokes hits the ground running in West Indies
Ben Stokes, along with Royals’ and English teammate Jos Buttler has flown to the Caribbean to take on the West Indies in a series consisting of 3 test matches and 4 One Day Internationals. On the first day of the tour, Ben Stokes looked in good touch in a practice match against the West Indies President’s XI as he scored 56 runs and took England to a total of 317.
The Royals overseas players have been on song all around the globe just like the domestic stars in the Ranji circuit. It looks like a good time to be a Rajasthan Royals fan. Let us hope we continue to roar once the IPL kicks off in March. Halla Bol!