As a country where cricket is an extremely popular sport, India boasts of some incredible and iconic stadiums, some of which are very old, and some, quite new. Many of these stadiums have stood the test of time and given fans and players some outstanding memories. One such stadium is the Rajasthan Royals’ home-ground – Sawai Mansingh Stadium in the heart of Jaipur. The venue gives you the feeling of a wide, open field where winds blow at great speeds constantly. The SMS has a lot of history attached to it even before it became our fortress in 2008.
Named after Sawai Mansingh Ji ii, SMS stadium has a sitting capacity of over 30 thousand super crazy fans, who flock to the stadium every time the Royals play here. The stadium underwent a major renovation in 2006, elevating the ground with state-of-the-art facilities and standards.
The SMS Stadium has hosted 20 international matches – 1 Test and 19 ODIs till date. The solitary Test match held at the ground saw India host Pakistan in February, 1987, and ended as a draw.
The first ODI at this venue, was also played between the two countries, as the 1983 World Cup-winning Indian team comfortably defeated Pakistan by 4 wickets. Shades of T20 cricket which was to come nearly 25 years later, was provided by Sandeep Patil’s 28-ball 51 in that game.
Fast forward to 2008; a new love story began to unfold. The Sawai Mansingh Stadium became home to Rajasthan Royals during the Indian Premier League’s inaugural season. The Royals went on to win the season under Shane Warne’s captaincy, and pushed aside all the opponents who they hosted at the SMS, maintaining a 100 percent win record. The ground then went on to be called RR’s fortress from there on.
Among all the teams in the Vivo IPL, Rajasthan Royals has the best Home win-loss ratio, for which, the credit largely goes to our ‘Loyal & Royal’ fans, who have supported us unconditionally over the years. In 2013, the team went on to record a 100% win record in the Champions League at the SMS, against some of the top T20 sides in the world.
Apart from being our ‘lucky charm’, the SMS has hosted some memorable international & Domestic games as well. Let’s work the clock back to October 31, 2005. Mahi’s friends often used to say “Mahi ko upar bhejo, Mahi maarega”, The long-haired Mahendra Singh Dhoni was sent at 3 for the first time, & the rest is, as they say it - history. An unbeaten 183 by MSD is still the highest score at this ground. The celebration after reaching that hundred is one of the most memorable moments in this stadium.
Not just India’s former captain, the current Indian skipper & vice-captain also has a special memory of playing at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium. Virat’s 100* in just 52 balls chasing a mammoth target of 359 by Australia is still the fastest ODI ton by an Indian. At the other end, Rohit Sharma was unbeaten as well, scoring 141, as the pair saw India win with 6.3 overs, 39 balls to spare.
With all our seven home games slated to be played at the fortress, our boys will give their 100% to ensure that none of the opponents breach the fortress. Preparations for the twelfth season are going on in full steam. Some stands of the fortress have been opened for fans to come in and watch the Royals train. The SMS is ready to host the Royal army, come 25th March. Rajasthan Royals have turned pink this year and we are expecting a sea of pink at the SMS to watch the boys entertain the Royals fans as they always do.
Let’s paint the SMS stadium pink!