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The Royals are preparing nicely for the IPL with many of our players reaching the quarter-finals of the Ranji Trophy

The Ranji Trophy 2018-19 season is bigger than ever before. For the very first time in its 85-year history, the tournament witnessed as many as 37 teams gunning for the coveted title, 9 of them making their First Class debut. Our Royals players rose to the occasion with their different State teams and were on song during the group stage of the tournament. As the focus shifts to the quarter-finals, which begin on January 15th, let’s take a look at some of the Royal performers who helped their teams qualify for the knock-out phase.

Jaydev Unadkat: 7/86 vs Chhattisgarh, 6/56 vs Vidarbha

The Porbandar Pacer announced himself in Saurashtra’s very first game of the season. He derailed Chhattisgarh’s top order after their openers got off to a sound start. Unadkat finished the innings with a 7-fer, helping his team to a 120-run lead. The new Saurashtra captain produced another marvel in the last group game against defending champions Vidarbha, claiming a six-wicket haul. Unadkat won the player-of-the-match award in both the games.

Mahipal Lomror: 133 vs Assam, 85 vs Odisha

Having scored 616 runs in 9 matches, at a towering average of 68.4, the 19-year old Rajasthan skipper led from the front indeed. After a rather slow start to the tournament, Lomror caught up towards the latter half of the group stage. He top-scored with a sublime 133 against Assam in Jaipur, but his 105-ball 85 out of the team total of 135, in the following match against Odisha takes the cake. He enters the quarter-final clash against Karnataka in top form.

Sanju Samson: 61* vs Himachal Pradesh

Kerala’s mainstay, Sanju Samson had a challenging start to the season. Runs were hard to come by, but he stood up for the team when it mattered the most. In the final group game against Himachal Pradesh, Samson scored 50 in the first innings and a match-winning, unbeaten 53-ball 61 in the second that helped Kerala chase down a stiff target of 297. The Royals star will look to take this form into the quarter-final clash against Gujarat.

Krishnappa Gowtham: 6/30 vs Railways

After a successful tour of New Zealand with India A, Gowtham returned to play for Karnataka in mid-December. In his second game, he rattled the Railways batting line-up in the fourth innings with magnificent figures of 6/30 in 24 overs, along with 11 maidens. His 6-fer helped his team win by a huge margin of 176 runs.

Shreyas Gopal: 4/64 vs Maharashtra, 93 vs Gujarat

In his two player-of-the-match performances this season, Shreyas Gopal showed his utility as an all-rounder. A 4-wicket haul against Maharashtra helped Karnataka restrict the target down to a friendly 184 runs. Two games later, his brisk 93 in the first innings kept Karnataka from collapsing, and took them into the lead. Gopal will be a key all-rounder for Karnataka, as they look to make it to the semis.

The Royals players will be looking to continue their current fantastic form, with the VIVO Indian Premier League (IPL) beginning on 23rd March, and the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy preceding it. They have performed well in the latter half of the group phase and have the potential to play pivotal roles in the knock-outs. With the VIVO IPL to be played in India, the Ranji Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy is perfect preparation for our Royals who will be ready to start the season on top form!

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