Ranji Trophy: Delhi’s Manan Sharma on cloud 8

Manan Sharma takes 8 of 19 Odisha wickets to fall on Day 3; Delhi win by innings & 150 runs.

Written by Siddhartha Sharma | New Delhi | Updated: January 16, 2015 12:16 pm
Ranji Trophy, Ranji Trophy 2014, 2014 Ranji Trophy, Ranji Trophy Delhi, Delhi Manan Sharma, Manan Sharma Delhi, Manan Sharma, Cricket News, Cricket Gautam Gambhir congratulates Manan Sharma, who was the star of the day. (Source: Express Photo by Amit Mehra)

A below par batting was on display from Odisha at the Ferozshah Kotla on Day Three as they lost nineteen wickets in just three sessions and lost to Delhi by an innings and 150 runs.

Odisha started the day at 25/1 and it was left to Manan Sharma to inflict pain. He picked up a match haul of eight wickets and his maiden five-wicket haul (2/9 & 6/24) on a wicket that had started to show signs of wear and tear. This was Delhi’s fourth win and they now remain on top of Group B with 30 points.

It was Navdeep Saini, replacing Vikas Tokas from the pavilion end, who triggered the Odisha collapse. In a space of 10 overs he picked up three wickets to reduce the visitors to 72/5. Had Saini not gotten injured soon after, skipper Gautam Gambhir would have stuck with his pacer and Manan could have been just a fielder. But one’s misfortune is the other’s opportunity and in Saini’s absence, it fell to Manan to give company to Varun Sood, who by then had settled nicely into the job that Saini had been doing, picking the sixth Odisha wicket on 76.

With the Kotla track breaking up, there was plenty of turn on offer and Manan soon got into the act of making life difficult for Odisha’s tailenders.

Two different versions of left-arm spin were on display on Thursday. While Sood kept it straight and bowled a bit quicker through the air, Manan, with his high-arm action, chose to flight the ball and invited the batsmen to go for the expansive loft. It was pure delight to watch every time he would beat the bat or induce an edge.

It was against Orissa in 2012-13 that Manan made his first class debut. Being a batting all-rounder, he was sent in at No.5 and had made only 15. The disappointment of getting out for a low score had almost dimmed his chances for the next game but his four wicket haul then had ensured him another opportunity.

It has been two years since and Manan was once again up against the same opponents, only this time he was making a comeback to the side. He again got out on 14. But his belief in bowling once again bailed him out of trouble as he helped restrict Odisha’s first innings for a paltry 118. Gambhir invited the visitors to follow on and did not hesitate to introduce Manan in the second over itself.

Despite bowling with the new SG ball, Manan delivered. In his second over he deceived Govind Poddar with a beautifully flighted delivery that pitched and turned square to induce an edge. Along with the wicket watching the new ball breaking square from the rough must have boosted his confidence.

He knew the trick as he kept varying his speed. After having set the batsmen with some slow deliveries, he would then move a bit on the crease to land a lethal armer. Out of his six wickets in the second innings, four were a result of perfect arm balls. With Vikas Tokas and Shivam Sharma picking two wickets each, Odisha’s second innings folded for 85. With Delhi scheduled to play three away games against Vidarbha, Maharashtra and Punjab, the combination of Manan, Sood and Shivam could be an advantage.

As the wickets on all three venues is likely to assist spin, Manan and Delhi will hope for an encore.

Brief scores: Delhi 353 beat Odisha 118 in 62.1 overs (G Rout 24, N Behera 19, L Samal 19; N Saini 3/22, V Sood 3/16, M Sharma 2/9) & 85 in 39.1 overs (A Mallick 30, A Sarangi 32; M Sharma 6/24, V Tokas 2/8, S Sharma 2/36) by an innings and 150 runs.

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