We’ve seen some great cricket over the past few days. The Rajasthan Royals boys have continued their stupendous rise and were active protagonists in their teams’ positive fortunes. Here’s a look at some of the stand-out performers from the last week:
Jaydev Unadkat 12/106 vs Baroda
Another day, another outstanding display from Jaydev Unadkat. The Saurashtra skipper was on fire in the battle against Baroda. The Rajasthan Royals pacer has been a perpetual threat to batsmen this season and his performance against Baroda proved just that. In what was a stellar exhibition of bowling, the left-arm quick broke the back of Baroda’s batting - twice. Picking-up a six-for in each innings. Unadkat was the wrecker in chief as he hassled Baroda's top order, paving the way for a successful chase by Saurashtra in the fourth innings. This was another captivating performance in a line of stunning performances from Unadkat; who has in a lot of ways been the epitome of fast bowling on the domestic circuit of late.
Mahipal Lomror 71 vs Hyderabad
Mahipal Lomror’s contribution against Hyderabad was as important as they come; a solid no.3 showing chasing a tricky 193 to win. The young Rajasthan batsman was confident and free-flowing in his outing, hitting eight boundaries and one maximum, eventually helping Rajasthan achieve the target in under 50-overs. Lomror depicted immense confidence and played the perfect foil in a fantastic 176-run stand. The win gave Rajasthan the entire quota of 6-points from the tie.
Steve Smith 66*(40) vs Melbourne Renegades
Sydney Sixers’ fixture against the Renegades saw the return of Steve Smith in the BBL after a gap of six years. The return for Smith, however, was more about continuing the terrific white ball form he’d shown in India. And so, he did. Smith was able to lead the charge for the Sixers, and striking at 165, the Rajasthan Royals skipper grabbed the game by the neck. He ensured that the Renegades were never really in the race. A quick 50-run stand with Phillipe was followed by a 73-run partnership with Hughes, with Smith taking the challenge head-on and finishing the game on his own. The innings propelled the Sixers into the top two of the Big Bash League, confirming qualification for the next round.
Ankit Rajpoot 6/122
It was a captain’s act from Ankit Rajpoot as he guided UP to a fine win over MP in a good exhibition of red-ball cricket. Rajpoot was consistent with his lengths throughout his spell, claiming six wickets in the match. His wickets included some key figures in the MP batting line-up and more importantly he was able to pick up wickets at the right moments. His captaincy and bowling worked well for UP; who in the end were comfortable enough in their fourth-innings chase of 178.
Ben Stokes: Man of the Series vs South Africa:
It might not have been the dominant Ben Stokes performance that we’ve come to see in the earlier Tests against the Proteas, but it was still quite impactful. Ben Stokes claimed just 4 wickets in the 4th Test, but they were effective in nature. He got Dean Elgar out twice in the game, followed by a set Du Plessis in the second innings. Stokes’ stirring displays were decisive in handing England the wins in this hard-fought series. A man of the series award was absolutely deserved for what was another brilliant South Africa series for Ben Stokes.
The action continues for the Rajasthan Royals lads, as they continue to push their teams over the line, while trying to better their bests along the way. The Big Bash will see skipper Steve Smith in action while the next round of Ranji fixtures continue to come our way. On the International front, England will continue their battle against South Africa in the limited overs series and India will continue their surge against the Kiwis. Here’s hoping to more of the same from the Royals!