The Vijay Hazare Trophy is in full swing, and teams are trying to collect as many wins as they can to ensure a quarter-final berth. The Rajasthan Royals men have been firing on all cylinders and their performances speak volumes of their skill & talent.
Manan Vohra: 108* vs Arunachal Pradesh In a game that was reduced to 20 overs a side, Manan Vohra brought out his T20 capabilities and cracked a scintillating century for Chandigarh. The skipper took the Arunachal attack by storm, going after them early in the innings. He smashed 8 sixes and fours each and played through the innings, staying unbeaten on a 64-ball 107.
Shubham Ranjane: 45* vs Saurashtra
In a tricky run-chase of 246 runs, Mumbai were in a spot of bother. They lost their top order for not much. A partnership steadied the ship for Mumbai, but Saurashtra got right back into the game with two quick wickets. In walked Shubham Ranjanae to give company to the well-set Suryakumar Yadav.
Coming in at number 7, Mumbai needed someone with a calm head and some smart presence of mind. He resorted to risk-free strokeplay as his senior pro took the attack to the bowlers at the other end. Shubham rotated the strike with ease and hit 4 fours and a six to take Mumbai home. His innings showed immense maturity, as he kept Saurashtra from getting their foot into the tail.
Jaydev Unadkat: 2/46 vs Hyderabad, 3/18 vs Andhra Pradesh
The Saurashtra captain has been leading form the front in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Against Hyderabad, JD kept a check on their scoring right at the death. He got rid of two set batsmen and stalled their surge towards 300.
JD bettered his own performance a few days later. Playing against Andhra Pradesh, he bowled just 5.3 overs and gave away just 18 runs. He claimed 3 wickets in what was a strong bowling performance by Saurashtra, who bowled the opponents out for just 145.
Sanju Samson: 67 vs Karnataka, 48 vs Jharkhand
Sanju Samson transferred his India A form into the Vijay Hazare Trophy for Kerala. He stroked his way to a fluent 67 against Karnataka. He faced fellow Rajasthan Royals players, Krishnappa Gowtham & Shreyas Gopal and tackled their threat with solidarity. However, it was Shreyas who ran him out.
Sanju made the most of Kerala’s flying start. He got his innings underway with an aggressive mindset. He scored 48 runs off 40 balls, smashing 6 fours and 2 sixes. The stylish batsman will be looking to convert his starts and score a few centuries.
Shashank Singh: 3 games - 7 wickets & 104 runs
Shashank Singh has proved to be quite the all-rounder for his new team, Chhattisgarh. His exploits against Mumbai proved to be instrumental for his team as they chased down 318. Shashank claimed a couple of wickets and scored a vital 40 as Chhattisgarh clinched a thrilling win against Mumbai.
On the following day, Shashank scored a quick-fire 44 off just 25 balls, as he catapulted Chhattisgarh over 250. He then brought his bowling skills to the fore. He halted Andhra’s progress in the chase by dismissing both their openers and returned to claim one more wicket in his returning spell. Shashank ended with 3/37 in 9 overs.
Riyan Parag: 2/33 vs Nagaland
In what was a rather low-scoring game between two teams from the north-east part of India, Riyan Parag bowled tight line and lengths and returned with figures of 2/33 in 8 overs. Riyan didn’t need the support of his fielders as one of his victims was bowled and the other was trapped right in front.
This is Riyan’s maiden stint for Assam in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. The youngest member of the Rajasthan Royal team portrayed his abilities with his bat too during the last season of the Vivo IPL. It’s just a matter of time before he puts in a match-winning performance with the bat for Assam.
Shreyas Gopal: 3/53 vs Chhattisgarh
The Karnataka leggie bamboozled some of the Chhattisgarh batsmen with some guile. One of his scalps was fellow Royal, Shashank Singh who was caught in front of the stumps on 20, just when he looked threatening. He helped Karnataka bowl Chhattisgarh out for 206, thus winning the game by 79 runs.
Mahipal Lomror: 79 vs Bengal
Rajasthan got off to a slow-ish start against Bengal. They lost two wickets with the score on 68 after 20 overs. Lomror took up the job to steady the ship and gradually build the run-rate as well. After he got his eye in and found a trusted partner in Arjit Gupta, he brought out his usual range of strokes. His 79 helped Rajasthan post a competitive total of 265 on a tricky surface.
With one eye on the quarter-final, the Rajasthan Royals boys will be giving their all in the remaining matches. It has been a treat to watch these boys perform over the last few days. If we are to go by their current performances, the near future could be very exciting for the Royals in domestic cricket.