On Chandigarh’s first day as a Ranji Trophy team, 28-year-old pacer Shreshth Nirmohi etched his name in the record books with a five-wicket haul against Arunachal Pradesh before 20-year-old Mohammed Arslan Khan and Shivam Bhambri scored the first two centuries for the union territory.
In the first Ranji Trophy game at the Sector 16 Stadium since 2013, Chandigarh ended the day with an 89-run lead. Arunachal Pradesh were bundled out for 147 runs before the hosts reached 236 for one.
Chandigarh skipper Manan Vohra won the toss and elected to field. Former Indian pacer Yograj Singh was in the crowd as Nirmohi, who previously played for Himachal Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy, rattled the visitors. He struck off his very first ball, removing Rechi Doria, followed soon by the scalp of Samarth Seth.
Bipul Sharma’s disciplined bowling and Jaskarandeep Singh’s pace accounted for four more wickets to make it 68 for six. Arunachal Pradesh skipper Song Tacho and Techi Neri tried to rebuild the innings with a 42-run seventh-wicket stand but Nirmohi returned to remove Tacho (20), which prompted Yograj shouting ‘five wickets, son.” Nirmohi removed Yab Nia and Neri to become the first Chandigarh bowler to claim five wickets in the Ranji Trophy.
As the sun came out, Khan and Bhambri took to the Arunachal bowlers. The duo would add 52 runs in 8.2 overs before completing the 100-run stand in 18 overs. Khan changed gears to become the first Ranji centurion for Chandigarh. Bhambri reached his maiden ton off 89 balls before falling to Akhilesh Sahani for 105 runs ending the 220-run partnership.
The opening day saw Yograj sitting in the dugout of the Chandigarh team. With match referee Chinmaya Sharma objecting, it took some persuasion by the local anti-corruption officer to pursue the former India player to move to the stands.
During the recent Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy, former Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh too stood in the team dug-out before being moved.
Brief scores: Arunachal Pradesh 147 all out in 44.2 overs (Techi Neri 45;Shreshth Nirmohi 5/26) vs Chandigarh 236/1 in 38 overs (Mohammed Arslan Khan 119 not out, Shivam Bhambri 105).