Halla continues to spread wider in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Many Rajasthan Royals players were among the runs or wickets in the past week for their domestic teams. Some of the efforts helped their teams to victories while some went in vain, but in the end they were all heroic.
Stuart Binny: 107 vs Uttarakhand
Making his debut for Nagaland, Stuart Binny bailed the team out of all sorts of trouble to take them to a respectable total. After Binny’s 107, the next best score was 15. Coming in at number 5, Binny had to steady the ship first. The second half of his innings was all ballistic. The big-hitter had to take Nagaland to a total their bowlers could work with. He brought out some tremendous shots which included 7 sixes and fours each. Nagaland managed to put up 174 on the board with the help of Binny’s singlehanded effort.
Shreyas Gopal: 4/48 vs Andhra Pradesh
Shreyas Gopal hasn’t gone wicketless in the 5 Vijay Hazare Tropy matches he has played so far. He returned with his best figures so far, against Andhra Pradesh. Gopal first got rid of the opposition captain before he scalped the big fish, Prasanth Kumar for 78.
Gopal then got two more wickets in quick succession, as the lower order batsmen found it difficult to tackle his variations. Gopal now has 11 wickets in 5 games, the most by a Karnataka bowler in the tournament so far.
Prashant Chopra: 82 & 2/20 vs Vidarbha
Prashant Chopra had quite a birthday. He began the day by claiming two quick middle-order wickets against Uttarakhand. PC made the most of the pressure built at the other end. In all, he bowled six overs and gave away just 20 runs.
Prashant top scored for Himachal Pradesh in the chase. He got them off to a sound start, scoring 82 off 94 balls. He smashed 6 fours and 4 sixes before he fell in the 36th over. By then, PC had all but sealed the game for his side.
Riyan Parag: 71 vs Manipur
It was just a matter of time before Riyan’s bat did the talking too. He had put in a couple of handy performances with the ball earlier in the tournament, but in the game against Manipur, he batted lower down the order to play the finisher’s role.
Riyan came in at number 6 and wasted little time as he got on a mission to take Assam to a good total. When he came in to bat, the score was 122/4 and Assam had nearly played out 30 overs. Riyan had to work towards bettering the run rate, and excelled at the task with a blend of smart batting along with calculated risks. He helped Assam cross 250 before losing his wicket in the final over. Riyan’s 71 included 7 fours and 2 sixes.
Shashank Singh: 47 vs Saurashtra
Chhattisgarh’s newest star has been shining brightly in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Shashank Singh provided a good foundation for the team to finish the innings strong, and they managed to put up a fighting total against a strong Saurashtra attack.
Shashank came in with Chhattisgarh in danger of falling away, at 111/4. He mixed his knock with a good mix of calm rotation of strike along with some mighty hitting. He smashed 4 sixes and 1 four before being caught behind 3 runs short of a well-deserved half-century. Shashank fell to fellow Rajasthan Royals teammate, Jaydev Unadkat. Shashank contributed with the ball as well. He got the prized wicket of opener, Sheldon Jackson who was threatening to steer Saurashtra to victory, but lost his wicket to Shashank on 75. The all-rounder ended the game with figures of 1/32 off his seven overs.
Jaydev Unadkat: 3/34 vs Jharkhand
JD seems to be blending in brilliantly with his new role as captain and frontman with the ball. In six games so far, Unadkat has claimed 12 wickets. He has brought himself on at difficult times and managed to bail his team out of trouble on multiple occasions.
Unadkat claimed a three-wicket haul against Jharkhand. All his three wickets came in the second half of the innings, a time when he brings out all of his wily variations.
Varun Aaron: 2/22 vs Saurashtra
In what was a strong bowling performance by Jharkhand, Varun Aaron pulled in his weight with an economical spell of 2/22. Bowling with good pace and vigour, Aaron picked up a wicket in his initial spell with the new ball. After a brief rest, he was brought back on and immediately picked up his second wicket of the game. Aaron is among the wickets, and with his tail up, he will be looking to win more games for Jharkhand.
Rahul Tripathi: 69 vs Odisha
Tripathi hit the straps in his maiden game of the tournament. The opener did a fine job of seeing off the new, swinging ball. After settling in, and once the ball lost its shine, Tripathi played an array of fluent strokes on his way to 69 and hit 8 fours and a six. He helped lay a formidable foundation for Maharashtra’s middle order.
Mahipal Lomror: 79 vs Bengal, 71 vs Tripura
Rajasthan’s skipper, Mahipal Lomror, has been among the runs in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Against Bengal, Lomror had to negotiate with a slow-ish wicket, but played a gritty knock. He ended up scoring 79 with 7 fours.
In yet another game in his home town, Lomror gave Rajasthan a glimmer of hope in their pursuit of 286. However, he kept losing partners at the other end. In what ended up being a sole effort, Lomror added 71 runs to his Vijay Hazare Trophy tally.
Karnataka’s Krishnappa Gowtham has made a good start to the Vijay Hazare Trophy after an impactful KPL in which he was named Man of the Tournament.
Carrying on his brilliant form, KG starred with the bat and bowl for Karnataka as he scored a quick fire 34 off 16 balls to finish the innings on a strong note to take his team to 278/7 in 50 overs. His batting included 4 massive sixes. He followed his big hitting with some economical bowling, picking up 1 wicket and conceding 42 runs in his full quota of 10 overs.
The Royals are putting their best feet forward in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. The tournament is about to enter the business end and these hungry players will look to up the ante further after setting such high standards so far.