October has been a rewarding month for the Rajasthan Royals boys. They have risen to the occasion and performed for their respective teams at the International stage and domestic level as well.
Ajinkya Rahane: 115 vs South Africa
Ajinkya Rahane has been in a rich vein of form in Test cricket off late. He has risen to number 5 on the list of ICC’s top Test batsmen rankings. In the third Test against South Africa, Rahane joined Rohit Sharma with India struggling on 39/3. The duo took the attack to the Proteas, and Rahane ended up scoring his fastest Test fifty and century. It was one of Jinks’ most fluent knocks as he scored his 11th Test century.
Steve Smith: 53 vs Sri Lanka
It had been a while since Smith batted in a T20I for Australia; over 3 and a half years to be precise. During his 36-ball 53 in the second T20I, Smith brought out some of his audacious stroke play to the fore. He smashed Malinga for a disdainful straight drive and took toll on the rest of the Lankan bowlers as well. Smith smashed 6 fours and saw Australia home, chasing 118.
Dhawal Kulkarni: 5/37 vs Jharkhand
Mumbai lead pacer Dhawal Kulkarni has taken 16 wickets in 8 games in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. The highlight of his tremendous purple patch was the five-wicket haul against Jharkhand. Kulkarni picked up wickets at the start and end of the innings. With the new ball, he sent both the Jharkhand openers back to the pavilion.
He dismissed centurion Virat Singh, who was threatening to take Jharkhand closer to the steep target of 359. Dhawal then skittled through the tail and ended up with an impressive 5/37 off 8.4 overs.
Sudhesan Midhun: 2/15 vs Andhra
Midhun couldn’t play all the Vijay Hazare games for Kerala this year, but he made the most of whatever opportunity he received. Against Andhra, Midhun displayed a masterclass of leg spin bowling. He was the most economical of all bowlers, by a mile. In his 10 overs, Midhun gave away just 15 runs and picked up 2 wickets as well. His spell included 3 maiden overs as well.
Riyan Parag: 4/27 vs Arunachal Pradesh
A Riyan Parag day was waiting to happen in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. While he had contributed convincingly with the ball in previous games, it was in this game that Parag was absolutely unplayable. Coming in as the sixth bowler for Assam in Arunachal’s innings, Riyan got rid of one of the openers and rattled through the middle-order. His 4-fer helped Assam bowl Arunachal out for a meek 112. Known for his mettle with the bat, the 17 year old youngster is proving to be more than handy with the ball as well.
Stuart Binny: 61 & 2/47 vs Manipur
Stuart Binny’s move to Nagaland has proven to be quite fruitful. In their last game, he put forward his all-round prowess against fellow north-east state, Manipur.
Batting first, Nagaland were struggling to get past 200. Stuart Binny waged a lone battle as he belted 61 runs off 48 balls to help his team to a respectable total of 240. In the second innings, Manipur were closing in on the game, but Binny got rid of their set opener and got one more wicket off successive overs. He finished with 2/47 that included 2 maiden overs.
Krishnappa Gowtham: 2/30 vs Chhattisgarh
Gowtham has been instrumental in Karnataka’s successful Vijay Hazare Trophy campaign. From contributions with the ball to some meaty blows with the bat, KG has contributed in multiple ways towards Karnataka’s success. In the first semi-final against Chhattisgarh, Gowtham was at his miserly best. He conceded just 30 runs in his 10 overs and claimed 2 wickets. In the final, he claimed the prized scalp of Tamil Nadu’s skipper, Dinesh Karthik as he helped Karnataka become champions this season with 15 wickets in the tournament.
Jaydev Unadkat: 3/28 vs Goa
Although Saurashtra couldn’t make it to the knockout stages of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, Jaydev Unadkat was among the wickets on a regular basis for his team. The skipper bowed out with a bang as he had Goa in all sorts of trouble during the 28 overs-a-side game. In his final over of the innings, JD struck twice to keep Goa from pulling off a late surge and take their run rate over 6 an over. He finished with 3/28 off his 6 overs.
The next fortnight or so has some more international cricket, and we could see Sanju Samson making a return to T20Is as well. The domestic circuit moves into the Deodhar Trophy, which will be followed by the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Most of the Rajasthan Royals boys will be in action in November, which means tonnes of runs and wickets.