Riyan Parag scored 552 runs from 9 innings at an average of 69.00 and took 10 wickets in Vijay Hazare Trophy 2022-23 season for Assam. Riyan Parag's heroic lead Assam to Vijay Hazare Trophy semi-final.
Assam have had a successful Vijay Hazare Trophy (VHT) 2022-23, topping the Elite Group B tables with 24 points, losing 1 game out of 7 in the group stage. They then chased down a huge target of 351 against Jammu & Kashmir in the quarter final but ended second-best in the semis against Maharashtra by 12 runs. Even though they lost in the semis, Assam can walk with their head held high as they played good cricket to reach the semis only to go down fighting in the final analysis.
Their success this season could be largely attributed to their number 4 batter Riyan Parag, who has been in the Indian Premier League (IPL) circuit for a few seasons (part of Rajasthan Royals since 2019) but has not yet set the premier T20 tournament of the world on fire. But his form in this Vijay Hazare season has proved there is a lot more to cricketer Parag than what the world has seen of him on the big stage.
Parag ends as fifth-highest run-scorer in VHT 2022-23
This Vijay Hazare season has seen Parag ending as the fifth-highest run-getter across sides, with 552 runs at an average of 69 with three tons and one fifty in 8 games. He is also Assam’s leading run-getter this Vijay Hazare season.
Parag’s performance with the bat has been one of the reasons behind Assam’s success this season. His scores this season read 117, 14, 32, 128, 17, 55*, 0, 174, 15. He has also taken 10 wickets this season with his leg-break bowling.
Let’s understand how Parag’s knocks have helped Assam win crucial moments in the Vijay Hazare trophy and eventually win matches as a result of that.
Brilliant all-round hand (128 & 2/15) against Sikkim
In their Elite Group B match against Sikkim, Assam were struggling at 107/4 in the 22nd over, before Parag rallied with the lower-order batters to help his side post a match-winning total of 307/8. Parag scored 128 off 93 balls with 5 fours and 7 sixes to take the attack to the opposition’s camp. He was bowled in the last over, looking to score a few quick runs for his team. In the same match, he took 2/15 to round off a brilliant all-round display, and win the match for his team.
Single-handedly wins game for Assam against Rajasthan
Against Rajasthan in a winning cause, Parag played a lone hand, cracking an 84-ball 117 with 10 fours and 6 sixes to lead Assam to a winning total of 271. The next best score was 39 by number 9 batter Mukhtar Hussain. If not for Parag’s knock, Assam would have ended at a below-par score. But boosted by Parag’s knock, Assam defended a total of 271, bowling out Rajasthan for 128.
Superlative performance (174 off 116) against Jammu & Kashmir in QF
Riyan Parag, however, reserved his best for the quarter final against Jammu & Kashmir. Undaunted by a huge target of 351, Parag combined with Rishav Das (114*) to put up a stand of 277 runs in 36 overs. Parag showed his batting class and his range of strokes, slamming 12 fours and 12 sixes to crack 174 off 116 balls and help Assam chase down the target in 46 overs.
But Parag had a rare failure in the semis against Maharashtra, managing just 15 as Assam went down fighting, losing by 12 runs chasing 351 for a place in the final.
How do these knocks define Riyan Parag?
Parag’s three tons and a fifty against Vidarbha came in different circumstances, where he exhibited great cricketing temperament, sense and skills to score runs when the chips were down. At times, he had to grind for runs to take the team to a safe total. He also showed that he can hit top gear if needed or the team demands of him to score briskly as evidenced by his knock of 174 against J&K.
Parag and Assam’s performances in Vijay Hazare Trophy 2022-23 bode well for both him and his team. It shows Assam is no pushover and can give a tough fight to top-ranked domestic teams. And Parag has proved that he is not just a one-match or few-cameos wonder in IPL. He has the game to play long innings or quick counter-attacking innings for the benefit of the team.
This performance will also make his IPL franchise – Rajasthan Royals – give him a longer run in the top-order for Parag to play his natural game that will benefit the team in the premier T20 tournament. Now, it’s for Parag to continue the good work he has done so far. Ditto for Assam.