Ranji highlights: Avesh steers MP to command; Shahrukh revives TN


RANJI TROPHY 2018-19

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Avesh Khan bagged 7 wickets on the opening day in Indore © BCCI

Bowling celebs of the day

Avesh Khan’s seven-wicket haul validated Madhya Pradesh’s decision to bowl first in Indore, razing through Hyderabad’s batting to bundle them out for only 124 in 35.3 overs. That Avesh’s first wicket came off a searing yorker bowled with only his third delivery of the match should sum up the savagery of his performance. With figures of 7/24, Avesh continues his good form in the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy season, in which he has picked 23 wickets so far.

J Suchith’s showstopping season for Karnataka continues. The left-arm spinner picked five wickets against Saurashtra, saving his team some blushes after Karnataka went for just four front-line bowling options on a flat Rajkot pitch.

Aniket Chaudhary’s five-wicket haul nudged Assam to 108 all out in 28.1 overs against Rajasthan in Jaipur. The visitors were perilously placed at 47/8 but Arup Das’s 36 not out and Ranjit Mali’s 28 helped add 61 runs for the last two wickets.

Basant Mohanty’s five wickets romped Jharkhand to 172 all out – a poor batting effort that witnessed only Ishank Jaggi cross 30. All that after a 57-run opening stand between Kumar Deobrat and Nazim Siddiqui makes it eligible for a proper rout.

Batsmen who made an impact

Piyush Chawla’s unbeaten 109 for Gujarat against Railways came at the rate of knots. In the 137 balls Chawla faced, he hit 12 fours and 3 sixes in a stunning lower-order rearguard at No.8 to back up Priyank Panchal’s fighting 69 against ACP Mishra (4/78) and Anureet Singh (2/90) at the top.

Irfan Pathan’s whirlwind 91 off 76 stunned Uttar Pradesh, who allowed the home side to get to 290 despite regular wickets; Parvez Rasool also chipped in with 87 that was scored at a fairly quick rate. What the innings did was take the thunder off the six-wicket haul by Saurabh Kumar, who dismissed both Pathan and Rasool short of their hundreds.

Rahul Dagar’s 114 for Haryana came in the face of his team struggling at 45/4 against Tripura in Agartala. With Chaitanya Bishnoi’s 82 for company, the duo put on 172 runs for the fifth wicket, and made sure Haryana didn’t blow what they had gained at the toss: an opportunity to bat first.

The firsts and the lasts

Saurashtra captain Jaydev Shah might be retiring after the ongoing Ranji Trophy game against Karnataka but he’s not bowing out without a last hurrah. Shah hit 9 fours and 3 sixes in an enthralling innings but agonizingly fell three runs short of what would have been a fantastic hundred in his farewell game.

There’s a new Khan in town. On his first-class debut, Shahrukh Khan scored an unbeaten 82 and helped revive Tamil Nadu’s innings in partnership with Baba Indrajith’s 87. At the receiving end of Sandeep Warrier’s new-ball burst, Tamil Nadu were reduced to 31/4 and then 81/5 until a 103-run stand for the sixth wicket between Khan and captain Indrajith came to the rescue. 259/6 at the end of first day’s play looks much better on paper.

Misfiring tosses

With all their top three frontline pacers nursing injuries, Mumbai opted to bowl on a greenish Pune pitch, only to end the day scraping for wickets. Swapnil Gugale’s 101 headlined the lop-sided first day’s play, and chaperoned Maharashtra’s mammoth 146-run opening stand; his co-opener Chirag Khurana made 71. The fact that Shubham Ranjane, Mumbai’s sixth bowling option, picked two wickets should sum up the visitors’ day for you.

Swapnil Singh picked five wickets for Baroda against Chhattisgarh, who crumbled to 129 all out from 88/3 after opting to bat. Singh triggered the collapse with opener Avnish Dhaliwal’s wicket and in partnership with Soaeb Tai wreaked havoc.

Punjab opted to bowl in Mohali against Himachal Pradesh, but half-centuries from Nikhil Gangta, Ankit Kalsi and Rishi Dhawan bolstered the middle-order resistance and allowed the visitors to end the day at 244/5. New-ball bowler Shubek Gill going wicketless hurt Punjab, even as Sandeep Sharma and Sanvir Singh picked two apiece.

Lone wolves

Hyderabad’s Himalay Agarwal hit an unbeaten 69 at No.7, scoring 56% of his team’s total runs. He came to the crease when Hyderabad were reeling at 29/4 under Avesh Khan’s onslaught, and added 33 runs for the eighth wicket with Mehdi Hasan and 38 runs for the last wicket with Mohammad Muddassir.

Ricky Bhui’s 150 not out was the standout in Andhra’s 266/7 at the end of first day’s play. It wasn’t all easy for Andhra, who were put in to bat and made to endure Suboth Bhati’s five-wicket haul. But Bhui, who’s hit 19 fours and a six so far in his innings, kept chipping in with small partnerships and helped his side recover from 48/4, three of those four wickets going to Bhati.

Ravi Chauhan made 75 in Services’ 184 all out against Goa in Porvorim. No other batsman could stand up to the Vijesh Prabhudessai’s five-wicket haul from the bowling end, with the next highest score being 23 by opener Navneet Singh.

Plate in a nutshell

Paras Dogra’s 253 for Puducherry came at over run-a-ball in Wayanad, where Sikkim put them in to bat. His 244-ball stay, where he hit 30 fours and 7 sixes, came to a tiring end when he was bowled by Bipul Sharma late in the day.

Meghalaya’s Puneet Bisht hit 154 against Uttarakhand in Dehradun, combining with Yogesh Nagar’s 91 to help the visitors end the day at 294/5 after they were put in to bat. They were once imploding at 27/3 but the 194-run stand for the fourth wicket saw them sail through the day.

Arunachal Pradesh were bowled out for 84 against Bihar in Patna. Only two of their batsmen, Techi Doria and Neelam Obi, could get into double digits as Ashutosh Aman’s four-wicket haul swept through the tail. Indrajit Kumar’s 127 in reply helped Bihar take a 166-run lead already by stumps on the first day.

Mayank Raghav’s 109 off 133 balls stood out in Manipur’s batting against Nagaland in Dimapur, where only 46 overs could be bowled due to the inclement weather.

Looking forward to…

Baroda’s Yusuf Pathan was batting on run-a-ball 36 before slowing down to 46 off 63 against Chhattisgarh. He hit 4 fours and 2 sixes and will be crucial in how bad Chhattisgarh’s 129 all out in the first innings can be made to look.

Rajasthan’s Mahipal Lomror was unbeaten on 77 in Jaipur against a raw Assam bowling attack. Keep an eye on the home side’s possible march to an intimidating lead, which currently sits at 45 with eight wickets in hand.

© Cricbuzz

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