Jharkhand’s Ishank Jaggi lost his cool when his young teammate Virat Singh tried a slog. It wasn’t a risk worth taking as they had just lost their captain Saurabh Tiwary a few minutes ago and were already reduced to a 10-man team after Ashish Kumar suffered a hip fracture. Jaggi screamed in anger.
For a boy who has scored 4,191 First-Class runs at an average of 44.58, Jaggi knows what it feels to return home empty-handed from the knockout stages. They exited last year in the quarter-finals and this year, the feeling in the dressing room is that this is their best chance yet.
It has been a long journey for Jharkhand. Even the trip to Vadodara was a day-long affair. It took 2,381 kilometres of arduous travelling to reach their destination. A bus drive from Thiruvananthapuram to Kochi, a flight to Mumbai, another air-dash to Ahmedabad and finally, yet another bus ride to get to Vadodara.
It’s seems worth all that trouble as Jharkand ended the second day on a high. They are just 30 runs short of Haryana’s first innings score but the battle isn’t over, of course. Jaggi and Virat did what the situation demanded of them. Especially after their top three – Anand Singh, Sumit Kumar and Tiwary – were back with just 82 on the board. The ball was turning and with legspinners Amit Mishra and Yuzvendra Chahal bowling, they decided not to get on to the front foot to prevent getting edges off defensive prods.
Mishra and Chahal tried hard but Jaggi and Virat didn’t give them any chances. It was a partnership that would have tested the patience of T20 fans but the labour was worth it for Jharkhand. Virat remained unbeaten on 81 off 240 balls while Jaggi took 149 balls for his 77. They have added 146 runs for the fourth wicket in 53.5 overs.
Jaggi knows that killing time at the crease will be the key. “Job is half done, we need more runs because batting fourth is always tough. Key will be to score more runs on the third day so that we need to chase less. The first session will be key. This is the best chance and we are hoping not to throw it away,” Jaggi says.
Jharkhand did not have a good start as Chahal prised out Anand early and Mishra induced Sumit to edge to wicketkeeper Nitin Saini. Tiwary looked in good nick but was caught at first slip by Rajat Paliwal off Harshal Patel.
Jharkhand were revived by the batting pair of Jaggi and Virat, but they couldn’t have found themselves in this strong position without the efforts of Shahbaz Nadeem. The left-arm spinner had grabbed a five-for on Day One and added two more to his tally on the second day to bowl out Haryana for 258. An early batting wobble caused a flutter but the recovery has helped Jharkhand dream of bigger things.
Brief scores: Haryana 258 (Nadeem 7/79) vs Jharkhand 228/3 (Virat Singh 81 batting, Ishank Jaggi 77 batting)