As Rajasthan Royals turned pink, many of our players celebrated with some significant performances around the globe. Ranji Trophy final, the tussle for the knockouts in the Big Bash League, India-New Zealand T20Is and England’s fightback in the third Test against West Indies – the last week was quite fruitful for many of our Rajasthan Royals stars. Let’s take a quick recap of how the boys contributed and stood out.
Unadkat’s all-round skills
Saurashtra were playing their third Ranji Trophy final, against defending champions, Vidarbha. Jaydev Unadkat had recently taken over the team’s captaincy, after Jaydev Shah retired mid-season. With great responsibility, came some stellar performances in the lead-up to the final. Encouraging Saurashtra to play an aggressive brand of cricket this season, Unadkat bowled exceedingly well in the first innings and claimed three wickets in the process; including that of 10-time Ranji Trophy winner, Wasim Jaffer.
When it was Saurashtra’s turn to bat, many of their batsmen faltered and it was left to the lower order to take the total to touching distance with Vidarbha’s 312. Batting at number 10, the skipper put a price to his wicket and scored a gritty 46, helping his team put on 60 runs for the final wicket. Saurashtra fell short of the target set by Vidarbha, but Unadkat was very proud of the way his team fared this season. “The brand of cricket we played and developed this year has been special. The difference between what we lost when we lost the last couple of finals and this final was obviously the fight we put up. This special bunch of players has really done so well and has the capability of winning the title.”
Archer stalls Renegades’ chase
A win against Melbourne Renegades would mean that Hobart Hurricanes would reserve a semi-final at home. After posting 183 on the board, it was Jofra Archer’s turn to have a crack at the Renegades batsmen. He claimed his first wicket in the second over, and returned later in the innings to ensure that a late surge by Renegades’ middle-order didn’t cost dearly for the Hurricanes. Archer claimed another wicket and returned outstanding figures of 2/19 off his 4 overs. He was the only Hurricanes bowler to concede under 6 runs per over in the game.
Royals duo revives England
England’s touring party were at the receiving end of some quality bowling by the West Indian quicks. After being put in to bat, England were in a spot of bother at 107/4. The fourth wicket brought the Rajasthan Royals pairing of Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes together. They put on 125 valuable runs for England and guarded the rest of the batting line-up against a possible collapse. Buttler ended up scoring 67 runs, while Stokes put up a patient 79 on the board. Their contributions may end up being the difference between the two sides, after England bowled West Indies out for just 154 in the first innings, as England push for a consolation victory in the third Test.
Ish Sodhi makes a mark in first T20I
In a steep pursuit of 220, India were struggling with their top order not converting some of their starts. In the 11th over, Ish Sodhi dismissed two of India’s destructive fiishers, Dinesh Karthik and Hardik Pandya. The twin strikes all but sealed the game for the Kiwis, who went on to take a 1-0 lead in the T20I series.
India’s tour of New Zealand and the Ranji Trophy may have come to an end, but there’s more cricket lined up over the next few days. Archer will look to give Hurricanes the perfect start and finish with the ball, while our captain, Ajinkya Rahane and Krishnappa Gowtham will take part in the Irani Trophy for the Rest of India team against newly crowned Ranji Champions, Vidarbha. Many of the young guns in Rajasthan Royals will prepare for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, while some of the overseas players will look forward to the Pakistan Super League, the final T20 tournament before the VIVO Indian Premier League gets underway on March 23rd.