The last week of July saw a lot of exciting cricketing action, both at the international as well as the regional level. South Africa finally ended their losing streak in their tour of Sri Lanka by convincingly winning the first ODI. Another team which turned things around this week was Bangladesh. After a dismal show in the test matches, Bangladesh came back strongly against host West Indies in the ODIs, to win the three-match series 2-1.
However, for all of us, the focus was firmly on in England, where team India was warming up in style against a fighting Essex side. Although, the match ended in a tame draw, there were lots of positives for the Indians. To top it off, we also got our dose of T20 action at the Vitality Blast tournament, which saw some high-scoring and nail-biting encounters. Like always we will be tracking the best Rajasthan Royals performers, while also looking at the action coming up this week.
Ish Spinning a Web
Ish Sodhi continued his fine form with the ball this week as he put two fine performances against Lancashire Lightning and the Durham Jets. His figures of 2 for 17 against the table toppers of the group, Lancashire was one performance that Ish would savour for a very long time. In this match, Sodhi exhibited a high level of discipline as he bowled a very tight line against an in-form Lancashire batting line up. Not only was he able to keep the runs in check, but he also picked up two vital wickets which eventually helped his team win the match. Sodhi removed opener Karl Browning on 49, who was looking in an ominous form. He further added to his tally of wickets when he dismissed middle order batsman, Steven Croft.
Even in the match against Durham Jets, Ish Sodhi got rid of danger man Karl Clark and got his team back into the game. Clark was seemingly taking the match away from the Notts with his innings of 64 off 43 balls when Ish Sodhi struck. This once again showed the rapid improvement thi Kiwi is making this year.
Jos Buttler Warms Up for the Tests
Jos Buttler sent a warning to the Indian bowlers ahead of the upcoming five-match test series with a fine knock of 59 off 69 balls. Buttler was representing his county side, Lancashire, against a Yorkshire team which boasted of several present and ex-England internationals. He once again showed excellent focus and determination as he continued scoring runs freely as wickets tumbled at the other end. It is a pity that he never got enough support, otherwise, a seemingly improbable target of 304 too could have been chased down.
This will act as a warning sign for the Indians, as even if they manage to remove the top order, they will still have to deal with an in-form Jos Buttler who never gives up. It will truly be a lip-smacking encounter.
Rahane Ready to Rumble
Royals captain Ajinkya Rahane got a good work out before the first test match against England at Edgbaston. In the warm-up match, in which India faced the Essex team, Rahane may not have grabbed many runs, but he certainly made good use of the practice match by getting some time in the middle. This could prove to be vital once the Test series gets underway. In the first innings, he was circumspect in approach as he batted for more than an hour, against a potent Essex bowling line-up. In the second innings, Rahane was batting on an unbeaten 19 off 27 balls when the match was called off. More importantly, he had already spent about 37 minutes at the crease. He looked fluent in the second innings as he was able to rotate the strike effortlessly. We hope that this was an ideal warm-up for the Royals captain and he plays a major role in helping India win the opening Test of the series.
Next week, we will be bringing you all the latest updates from the India-England test series and the Vitality Blast in England. We will also be tracking the action in Sri Lanka, where South Africa would be looking to assert their dominance over the Lankan lions. Moving over to the Caribbean islands, reigning T20 world champions West Indies would look to bounce back from their ODI series loss against Bangladesh in the T20 series. While doing so, we would obviously keep an eye on our favourite Royals and hope they deliver on the field. Halla Bol!