The year 2019 has begun splendidly for cricket fans in India. First, the Indian cricket team created history by registering their maiden test series win in over 70 years, and then it was announced that the Indian Premier League 2019, will be staged as early as March. While the RR fans rejoiced the victory for team India, the build up to the next season of IPL has already started. If the first week of January is anything to go by, then the IPL cannot come sooner for the Royals. Many of our top players have already shown that they are ready to rumble come 23rd March 2019.
Let us check out who among the Royals have been making headlines -
Captain Lomror Leads the Way for Rajasthan
The man from Rajasthan has been in sublime form this Ranji season. He has been clever with his field placements and bowling changes to put his team in a good position. Moreover, with the bat too, he has been leading from the front. He played a crucial role with the bat and as the captain of his team in the mauling of Goa by ten wickets. Batting at number three, Mahipal Lomror’s innings of 89 off 141 balls helped Rajasthan post a mammoth 513/8, giving his team a lead of 269 runs. It was his partnerships with Chetan Bist followed by Robin Bist, which laid the foundation for an emphatic win. Lomror has scored two centuries and two half-centuries in his last five completed innings. We hope he continues his rich vein of form come IPL time.
Jos Buttler Shows Application for Sydney Thunders
Jos Buttler blasted his way to two consecutive half-centuries in the Big Bash League last week. However, this week, he exhibited versatility by scoring an uncharacteristic, yet, supremely effective innings against the Perth Scorchers on a tricky wicket. Buttler assessed the conditions fantastically at the beginning to tone down his shot-making and played a circumspect innings of 55 off 54 balls which included 1 six and 4 fours. Although, he was unfortunate to get out hit-wicket by then he had done his job, as his team snuck out a narrow one run victory. Jos Buttler will no doubt will be our Mister Dependable come March!
Ashton Turner on fire!
In the match where Buttler helped his team to a one run victory, it was heartbreak for our new recruit and Perth Scorchers’ captain Ashton Turner. Turner turned the match on its head with some mind blowing hitting when all seemed lost for the Scorchers. Coming into bat at 50/3, with the required run rate threatening to touch 10, Turner produced a 36 ball 60 to take his team to the brink of an unlikely victory. He hit 5 fours and 1 six on route to his 60, but unfortunately, it was a story of ‘so near yet so far’ for Ashton. The captain followed this innings by playing another lone-hand in their match against the Brisbane Heat, he hit a 30 ball 47 to help his team post a respectable score of 135/6 after they were struggling at 90/4 after 15 overs. This time too, his side fell short.
But in what felt like redemption, Turner came up big in his next match today, as he led his Perth Scorchers side to victory against the Melbourne Stars. Having captained his side on the field and restricting the opposition to 146, Turner played a quickfire knock of 43 runs in 22 balls to lead his team to victory. Having walked in to bat at No.3, he blasted 3 sixes and 2 fours to get the Scorchers an easy win.
Unadkat in Red-Hot Form
After a good momentum changing performance against Mumbai in the previous match for Saurashtra, Jaydev Unadkat was at his best as he ran through Vidarbha’s batting lineup with 6 wickets in their Ranji match today. The Portbandar pacer took his 6 wickets in 27 overs, giving up 56 runs at an economy rate of 2.07. With the IPL approaching in March, Unadkat seems to be in fine form!
Rajasthan Royals Spinners on Song
The Rajasthan Royals have always been known to have good spinners in their ranks. The coming season will be no different. In fact, this time, spin should be one of our strongest suits as we have three quality spinners. The duo of Ish Sodhi and Shreyas Gopal gave us brief glimpses of what we should expect once the Royals take the field.
Shreyas Gopal came to the fore in Karnataka’s match against Chhattisgarh as he took the responsibility and broke the back of the Chhattisgarh chase. Chasing 355, opener Avnish Dhaliwal and number 4 Amandeep Khare was looking in good touch as they seemed to be steadying the ship. This is when Gopal took charge and struck gold by dismissing both the set batsmen in quick succession. This opened the doors for more wickets. Once Gopal dismissed Vishal Kushwah and Ajay Jadav Mandal, he had completed the demolition job. He finished with figures of 4/44.
Meanwhile in Saxton, Gopal’s spin buddy in the RR camp, Ish Sodhi was scripting another tale against the hapless Sri Lankans. Sodhi moped up the Lankan tail with some professional bowling to hand his team a comfortable win. He accounted for the wickets of Dasun Shanaka, Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Pradeep. Ish showed his class by bowling a tight line even when batsmen were going for big hits against him. He came out on top as he got three wickets for just 40 runs off 8.4 overs. Royals fans will be thrilled with the idea of seeing the trio of Gowtham, Gopal and Sodhi spinning webs around the batsmen in IPL 2019, as we once again get ready for the battle cry Halla Bol!