Ranji Trophy: Cheteshwar Pujara Flops As 17 Wickets Fall In Saurashtra-Maharashtra Game

Ranji Trophy: Cheteshwar Pujara Flops As 17 Wickets Fall In Saurashtra-Maharashtra Game

India skipper Rohit Sharma might have refused to shut the doors on Cheteshwar Pujara last month but the Saurashtra veteran did not help his cause by getting out cheaply in a Group A Ranji Trophy match against Maharashtra in Solapur, Maharashtra on Friday. Maharashtra were tottering at 116/7, squandering the advantage of bowling out Saurashtra for 202, as 17 wickets fell on an extremely productive first day for bowlers. Saurashtra skipper Jaydev Unadkat won the toss and opted to bat first but his decision backfired as the team slipped to 23/3 in no time.

Pujara, the 36-year-old seasoned campaigner with 103 Tests and 261 First-Class matches under his belt, walked in at the fall of Vishvaraj Jadeja, but all he could manage was three runs in 16 balls.

Left-arm spinner Hitesh Walunj, who was the day’s most successful bowler with excellent figures of 6/93 in 26 overs, got rid of the game’s most high-profile player when he trapped Pujara in front of the wicket, leaving Saurashtra in a precarious position pretty early into the match.

The out-of-favour Pujara was not considered for the ongoing five-match Test series against England at home, with the national selectors preferring new faces instead.

During an interaction with scribes ahead of the series against England, India captain Rohit, however, refused to believe that Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane’s days were over in the team’s Test setup.

Arpit Vasavada (14) fell after getting a start and opener Harvik Desai, having reached 25 in 49 balls, followed his other colleagues to the dressing room to continue Saurashtra’s woes.

Joining forces at 54/5, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja (72 off 107 balls) and Prerak Mankad (56 off 80) added 118 invaluable runs for the sixth wicket to give Saurashtra’s total a semblance of respectability.

Considering the state of the match, their partnership could prove to be vital to the final outcome.

Besides Walunj, off-spinner Taranjitsingh Dhillon was among wickets for Maharashtra and ended with impressive figures of 4/54 in 17.1 overs.

After bailing his team with the bat, Jadeja returned to torment Maharasthra with his left-arm spin, snaring four wickets for 47 runs to put his team ahead in the game.

For Maharashtra, opener Kaushal Tambe made 37 and Ankit Bawne 34.

Maharashtra are trailing by 86 runs at stumps, and will require a special effort from their remaining batters to secure a first-innings lead.

In another Group A match in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand were well-placed at 96/1 after bundling out Manipur for 170, to trail by just 74 runs.

In Jaipur, Rajasthan, choosing to bat first after winning the toss, were 275/5 at stumps in their first innings.

Sent into bat, Services were reeling at 72/7 against Haryana in Rohtak as only 36 overs were bowled due to bad weather.

Jyotsnil scores ton as Baroda make Delhi toil

Right-handed opener Jyotsnil Singh hit a patient hundred on a placid track and guided Baroda to 202 for one against hosts Delhi on a truncated opening day of a Group D Ranji Trophy match.

The first session witnessed a solitary over being bowled but Singh (124 batting, 207 balls) and Shaswat Rawat (71 batting, 168 balls) added 199 runs for an unbroken second wicket at the Airforce Stadium in Palam where the ball hardly went the above knee roll for the better part of 64 overs.

Delhi skipper Himmat Singh’s apprehensions about batting first after winning the toss was because of the overcast conditions and a slight bit of dampness. The track has historically been a batting paradise.

Once Ishant Sharma (1/30 in 12 overs) got rid of opener Kinit Patel (2), Delhi bowlers hardly made any impact on a benign surface where a batter needed to make a mistake in order to get out.

Singh struck 18 fours and two sixes — the second bringing up his hundred as he smashed off spinner Hrithik Shokeen over deep mid wicket.

It was a frustrating day for Delhi pacers and the normally nippy Himansu Chauhan (1/26 in 12 overs) bowled an effort ball, digging it in short but it became a slow bouncer as he gestured to the skipper that there is no pace off the surface.

Around six years ago, Ishant, who was trying to make a comeback to the Indian team, had breathed fire on this same belter against Maharashtra. Now in his mid 30s, he pitched the ball in right areas, but the pace off the surface has reduced considerably and a slow and low deck made matters worse.

Delhi’s seam bowling all-rounder Pranshu Vijayaran (0/33 in 10 overs) and left-arm spinner Shivank Vashist (0/40 in 10 overs) were below par and the two Baroda batters milked the duo with ease.

Shivank either bowled overpitched deliveries or half trackers, allowing Singh and Rawat to make merry.

It will be a match of one innings and Delhi’s batters might find it difficult to get three points if the chase is more than 375.

Odisha score 230/4 vs Puducherry

In another Group D game, Odisha scored 230 for four against Puducherry. Govinda Poddar remained unbeaten on 80 while Gourav Yadav got a couple of wickets.

MP score 68/4 after HP reached 169

In Dharamsala, hosts Himachal Pradesh were bowled out for 169 in 54.3 overs against Madhya Pradesh, who ended the day precariously placed at 68 for four.

Vivrant scores 78 in J&K’s 168/2 vs Uttarakhand

Vivrant Sharma remained unbeaten on 78 while Shubham Khajuria chipped in 58 as Jammu and Kashmir scored 168 for two against Uttarakhand in another group league game in Jammu.

Dube fires as Mumbai seize control against sloppy Bengal

India’s T20 specialist Shivam Dube continued his recent streak of form with a counter-attacking fifty that proved to be the cornerstone of Mumbai’s excellent 330 for six against Bengal on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy Group B clash at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Friday.

Fresh from his T20I exploits against Afghanistan and a century in Mumbai’s last match against Uttar Pradesh, Dube carried forward his form to smash 12 fours and one six in his 73-ball 72.

Leading the side in absence of an injured Ajinkya Rahane, who is sidelined with a hamstring strain, the left-hander dealt in boundaries early on.

Dube also brought out the best from Suryansh Shedge, who was dropped by Ishan Porel early in his innings, but went on to post 71 (76b; 12×4).

Their 144-run counter-punching stand for the fifth wicket put the pressure back on the home side as the likes of Porel and Mohammed Kaif looked clueless.

After the duo’s departure, Tanush Kotian (55 batting off 73) and Atharva Ankolekar (41 batting off 78) continued the assault, adding to the misery of the Manoj Tiwary-led side.

They duo’s unbroken seventh-wicket partnership was worth 99 runs that came off just 147 deliveries.

Earlier, returning to action after recovering from a knee ligament injury, opener Prithvi Shaw scored a brisk 35 off 42 balls after Tiwary opted to bowl under overcast conditions.

But he could not convert his start and got out soon after his opening partner Bhupen Lalwani departed for 18 (56b).

Suraj Jaiswal was the most impressive of the lot returning with 3/95 as the home side will look to strike early and break Mumbai’s batting rhythm.

“We will give our best to come back stronger and bowl them out on the second day,” Bengal coach Laxmi Ratan Shukla said after the day’s play.

“Our bowlers tried their best, but it wasn’t our day today. I hope our bowlers will dismiss them early tomorrow and put the pressure back on them.” Brief Scores At Kolkata: Mumbai 330/6 in 75 overs (Shivam Dube 72, Suryansh Shedge 71, Tanush Kotian 55 batting, Atharva Ankolekar 41 batting; Suraj Sindhu Jaiswal 3/95) vs Bengal.

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