Rajasthan Royals Stars Who Shone the Brightest in a Week Full of Action
The cricket world has been buzzing this past week with some absorbing and exciting action. Fans across the globe have been treated to quality contests from all parts of the globe. Over in England, India has finally managed to turn the tide in the third test match of the series. Circumspect batting backed by a splendid bowling performance, led by the spirited Hardik Pandya has put India in a commanding position at Trent Bridge. Indian fans would be hoping that India can pull this one off and stay alive in the five match series.
The constant growth of Afghanistan was once again evident this week as they defeated giant-killers Ireland in the first T20 contest in a convincing fashion. While, Hazratullah Zazai stared with the bat for the visitors, the bowling unit as a whole performed well with Rashid Khan being the pick of the bowlers.
Over in the Caribbean Islands, the Caribbean Premier League is heating up, as teams look to seal their respective semi-finals spots. Apart from the St. Lucia Stars, all the other teams are fighting it among themselves in a battle of supremacy. The Guyana Amazon Warriors and the Trinbago Knight Riders currently sit pretty at the top two places, respectively.
The past week also saw the launch of the seventh edition of the Karnataka Premier League. It saw the defending champions Belgavi Panthers starting off the tournament with a loss at the hands of Bengaluru Blasters. On the other hand, the Vitality Blast T20 competition continued to provide nail-biting action as it moves within one month of its climax. Presently, Somerset has just pipped Kent to the top of the table on the basis of better run-rate in the south group. Whereas, in the North Group, Worcestershire leads the table with 19 points with a better run-rate than Durham, who too has 19 points after playing 14 matches.
Some of the star performers in the past week have been the boys from the Rajasthan Royals team. From Captain Ajinkya Rahane to youngster Jofra Archer, we have had many cases where our boys have proved to be the difference between winning and losing. Let us check out some of the best Royals performers in the last 7 days:
Rahane Rises and Shines
After the batting woes at Lord’s, Indian batsmen needed to take more responsibility and provide an improved performance to stand any chance of staying alive in the series. Our captain along with team India Captain Virat Kohli, did just that in a 159-run partnership. Rahane once again showed how effective he is away from home by scoring a patient 81 runs of 131 balls. His technical acumen was once again on full display as he consistently left balls pitched outside the off-stump. This frustrated the in-form English bowlers, as Rahane kept punishing them, whenever they erred in line. In the second innings too, Ajinkya Rahane showed his class and game awareness by playing a long innings and keeping the English batsmen on the field for longer than they would have liked to.
Ajinkya Rahane later mentioned that in his innings he had found his IPL experience for the Royals useful, as he now understood the psyche of England players like Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler better. We hope our captain continues this run and wins the series for India in England.
The English Duo Who Stood Their Ground at Trent Bridge
While Royals captain Ajinkya Rahane produced a fine knock in the first inning of the third match to put India in a strong position, the English duo of Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes too did their bit for their team. Ben Stokes accounted for two crucial wickets in the second Indian innings. He first removed opener KL Rahul by hitting his stumps. In a bid to hasten the declaration, Rahul was looking for a quick start. He scored 36 of 33 balls to give India the start that they wanted. However, Stokes cut his innings short to provide some respite to the English bowlers. Stokes also dismissed the technically sound Cheteshwar Pujara who looked set for a century. Pujara was not only scoring runs but he was also frustrating the English bowlers and fielders by keeping them on the field with a slow innings of 72 of 208 balls.
During the first innings when England were batting, India could have dismissed them for a much cheaper score than the eventual score of 161 if not for Jos Buttler. Buttler in the recent past has batted with a lot of maturity when batting with the tail, and got England out of danger. This looked like yet another one of those innings. He hit a quick-fire 39 of 32 balls before getting dismissed by Jaspreet Bumrah. He was looking ominous when he at the crease. Unfortunately, he ran out of partners at the other end, otherwise it could have been an innings of massive impact.
The English top order once again crumbled under the pressure in the last innings of the match, when chasing an improbable target of 521 for a win. In this occasion too, the Rajasthan Royals duo of Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes came together to provide a stiff resistance. Barring the two, no other English batsmen looked comfortable at the crease. When Jos Buttler joined Ben Stokes at the crease England were precariously placed at 62/4. The duo then stitched a good partnership by batting cautiously, yet positively. Both Buttler and Stokes dug deep to curb their natural game and play for the team’s cause. While Stokes’ resistance broke when he was dismissed by Hardik Pandya after scoring a patient 62, Buttler completed his maiden century in test cricket.
This innings of Jos Buttler showed how his game has evolved over the last couple of years. His fantastic form in white-ball cricket is surely trickling down to the test matches. With England’s top order looking fragile and Jos Buttler putting up impressive batting performances in both the innings, there is certainly a case for Buttler being promoted up the order in the coming matches.
Stuart Binny’s Bowling Exploits
Defending champions Belgavi Panthers kicked off their campaign with a loss to Bengaluru Blasters. Led by a sublime innings by the stylish Robin Uthhappa (81 of 38 balls), the Blasters piled on 228 runs. The only bright spot for the Panthers was the spell bowled by Royals experienced campaigner, Stuart Binny. He was responsible for dismissing three Bengaluru Blaster’s batsmen including Robin Uthappa. If not for Binny, the Blasters would have ended up with a much bigger score than what they managed. Besides, Uthappa, Binny also dismissed Pawan Deshpande who was looking to up the ante with an innings of 46 of 30 balls. Earlier, Binny also accounted for the wicket of opener KB Pawan, as he finished with figures of 3/37 in his allocated 4 overs.
All-round Performance by Archer
Sussex enjoyed a wonderful time this past week as they won all three of their encounters. Jofra Archer played a key role in all three of the wins, however, his performances against Gloucestershire and Glamorgan, were particularly impressive. In the match against Glamorgan, he first provided some late order blitzkrieg with the bat to provide some much needed impetus at the back end of the innings. He smacked two boundaries and two over boundaries in his 6 ball innings of 22. This helped Sussex to post a bigger total than anticipated. While on the field too, Archer got the key wicket of the opposition Captain Colin Ingram to set his team up for a big win.
Against Gloucestershire, Jofra Archer once again played a pivotal role with the ball, as well as the bat. He displayed some excellent death bowling skills to dismiss Ryan Higgins and Gareth Roderick to end up with 2/32. He also ran out Jacob Lintoff in this innings. With bat Archer wielded his magic once again by smashing 12 runs of just 8 balls.
India Revives test series against England
India produced a wonderful collective performance to outclass England by 203 runs in the third Test match at Trent Bridge, thereby, keeping the five-match series alive. Needing only a wicket, India had completed the formalities in only 2.5 overs as England were all out by 317, well short of the mammoth victory target of 521 runs. India is now trailing England 1-2.
Overall, the past week has been an excellent week for all the Royals fans as many of the top stars showed what the fans would be treated to in the next season of the Indian Premier League at the Sawai Mansingh stadium. With a host of exciting cricket on the menu in the coming week, the fans would be hoping for many moments to rejoice. We will be bring you all the news related to your favourite stars. Here is hoping, we have another cracking cricketing week ahead of us. Halla Bol!