Anmolpreet Singh cracked an unbeaten century as Punjab grabbed a firm grip over Bengal, taking a 170-run first innings lead, in their must-win Ranji Trophy Elite Group B clash on Tuesday.
Anmolpreet was unbeaten on 124 from 288 balls (13×4, 1×6) in his first century of the season as he guided Punjab to 357/7 on the second day, in reply to Bengal’s first innings total of 187.
Talented 19-year-old Shubman Gill (91) seized the initiative earlier in the day, hitting at brisk pace all around the ground with Anmolpreet playing second fiddle.
But the youngster missed his century by nine runs when he tried to step down to Bengal seamer Mukesh Kumar only to mishit to midoff in the first session.
Gill and Anmolpreet put together 89 runs in quick time to set the tone for Punjab before the latter anchored Punjab’s innings and stitched two more fifty-plus stands with Mandeep Singh (44) and Gitansh Khera (42).
The winners of the match are set to make the quarterfinals.
The Jadavpur University Saltlake Campus ground wicket, which was believed to be a rank turner, looked perfect for batting as Punjab batsmen made full use of the conditions to send Bengal bowlers on a leather hunt.
Seamer Mukesh (4/89) was the pick of Bengal bowlers, while left-arm spinner Pradipta Pramanik (3/100) took the key wicket of Yuvraj Singh in his first ball.
The player of the tournament in the 2011 World Cup, Yuvraj, looked out of sorts and failed to get into the line of the ball and departed for one in his four-ball stay at the crease.
But the morning session belonged to supremely talented young Punjab opener Gill who scored all around the ground in his elegant half-century.
Overnight 36, Gill took just 13 balls to complete his seventh first-class fifty and looked set for a big one before mistiming Mukesh.
“Obviously, I’m really disappointed to miss a hundred. If I batted, the team would have been on a better position. I was set for a big one. But it’s part of the game,” Gill told reporters.
“It’s not that I was beaten by the ball, it was a loose delivery and I stepped out only to take an inside edge.”
Having come into the crease after the departure of nightwatchman Mayank Markande in the fag end of day one, the Punjab No 3, Anmolpreet, then shouldered the responsibility taking the team past Bengal’s 187 after the lunch break.
“I think there was a bit of moisture early on when they batted and it helped our spinners. When we came to bat, the wicket eased out and there was not much help for the spinners. That’s one factor,” Gill said.
“We will try to extend the lead to 200-250. We seem to be in command at this moment.”
Curiously, Bengal frontline pacer Ashok Dinda bowled just three overs in the first session and looked under bowled.
“Pacers were not getting much help in that session. There was nothing much off the wicket, maybe that’s the reason.
“But obviously it’s their home turf. Their team and captain knows better about the conditions, what can I say,” Gill said.
Brief Scores: Bengal 187 all out.
Punjab 357/7 in 110 overs (Anmolpreet Singh 124 batting, Shubman Gill 91; Mukesh Kumar 4/89, Pradipta Pramanik 3/100).
Baroda prevail over Karnataka to keep quarterfinal hopes alive
Deepak Hooda and Bhargav Bhatt cliamed five wickets each to help Baroda register a nail-biting win against Karnataka in a Group A Ranji Trophy match and keep their quarterfinals hopes alive on Tuesday.
On a day when as many as 16 wickets fell, Baroda almost lost the match, but ultimately won by two wickets, chasing down a 110-run target in their second innings.
After this win, Baroda are now placed third with 26 points from eight matches. They had won three matches, lost one and drew the remaining matches.
On the other hand, Karnataka retained their second place with 27 points from eight matches. They have won three matches and lost two.
Yet, both Baroda and Karnataka’s fortunes of qualifying for the quarterfinal depend on other match results.
RANJI-GROUP A: Mumbai on brink of maiden win of season against Chhattisgarh
Hosts Mumbai, who are already out of contention for a quarter-final berth, are on the cusp of registering their first win of the season against Chhattisgarh in their Elite Group A Ranji Trophy game.
At the end of day two of the four-day game at the Wankhede Stadium, the 41-time champions needed 14 runs more to notch a consolation victory.
Mumbai ended the second day at 77 for 0 in their second innings, chasing a target of 91, with their openers Jay Bista (36 not out) and Vikrant Auti (32 not out) at the crease.
First innings wreckers-in-chief, pacers Shardul Thakur (4-47) and Tushar Deshpande (4-53) were again the main destroyers in the visitors second innings. Only Vishal Singh (47) showed some spine but that did not help his side.
In the morning, Mumbai lost seven wickets while adding 60 runs with recalled not out batsman Surya Kumar Yadav out for 43. All-rounder Shivam Dubey chipped in with a valuable knock of 28.
RANJI-GROUP B: Late strikes help TN seize advantage against Delhi
Two late strikes helped Tamil Nadu seize the advantage against Delhi at stumps on the second day of the Ranji Trophy Elite Group ‘B’ match at the M A Chidambaram stadium on Tuesday.
Delhi ended the day at 35 for 2 in reply to Tamil Nadu’s massive first innings score of 422 built on Abhinav Mukund’s superb 134 (319 balls, 13X4) and half-centuries by captain Baba Indrajith (86) and debutant Pradosh Ranjan Paul (78, 129 balls, 12X4, 1X6) and M Shahrukh Khan 55 (139 balls, 4X4, 1X6).
For Delhi, Vikas Mishra was the best bowler, picking up 5 for 142 from 45.4 overs while Shivam Sharma took 4 for 105 from 44 overs.
The Delhi bowlers-Navdeep Saini, Subodh Bhati and the spinners Shivam Sharma and Vikas Mishra maintained a good line and length to deny the host batsmen any chances to go on the offensive.
Vijay Shankar survived when he fended off a Saini delivery only to see it fall in front of the slip fielder. However, he didn’t stay too long, falling LBW to Bhati in the subsequent over.
Youngsters Paul and Shahrukh Khan, also in his debut season, joined forces and put on 82 runs for the sixth wicket. The two played some eye-catching shots and were not afraid to go ariel, hitting a six each. Paul fell leg-before wicket to Vikas Mishra for 78 when he looked on track for a ton.
Delhi left to face a little over 10 overs saw Chandela and Sharma see off the new ball attack of T Natarajan and M Mohammed.
RANJI-GROUP C: Rajasthan rout Tripura to enter Ranji quarters; Deepak Chahar shines
Rajasthan trounced Tripura by an innings and 77 runs to book a berth in the Ranji Trophy quarter-finals from Elite Group C here Tuesday.
Led by pace spearhead Deepak Chahar, the Rajasthan bowlers bundled out Tripura for 106 in the second innings to guide their team to a massive victory and enable it to storm into the last eight of the national championship.
With this empathic win, Rajasthan became the first team from the group to qualify for the knockout rounds by topping the pool with 51 points, having won 7 of their 9 matches.
After bowling out Tripura for a paltry 35 in their first innings, Rajasthan took a dominant 183-run lead by scoring 218 in their first essay.
Tripura resumed the second day on 4 for no loss at the MBB stadium in Agartala, but Rajasthan pacer Chahar wreaked havoc as he returned with figures of 5-17 in just eight overs.
RANJI-PLATE: Uttarakhand on top against Mizoram, inch closer to the quarterfinal
Uttarakhand enforced a follow-on against Mizoram after bowling out the visitors for 198 to inch closer to grabbing the solitary quarterfinal berth from Plate Group in Ranji Trophy on Tuesday.
Taruwar Kohli remained unbeaten on 96 on day two after Mizoram were bowled out for 198 in their first innings in reply to Uttarakhand’s first innings total of 377 at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium here.
Asked to bat again, Mizoram were 32/1 at stumps, still needing 147 runs to avoid an innings defeat.
Earlier the visitors were 31 for no loss but they slipped to 67/4 with Sunny Rana (2/46) striking twice.
Dhanraj Sharma was the pick of the bowlers, claiming 3/49.
Taruwar found some support at the other end from Lalhruai Ralte (30) as the duo added 57 runs to repair the damage.
But Mayank Mishra dismissed Ralte to break the partnership before they folded in 75.2 overs.