Ranji Trophy 2023-24: Delhi debacle, Bihar fiasco, Pujara double and Kaushik’s seven

Pujara smashed an unbeaten double ton against Jharkhand. (Source: X.com)

A Puducherry coup against Delhi, some sensational news surrounding the team/s from Bihar, Riyan Parag’s hurricane hundred in a losing cause for Assam and business as usual for Cheteshwar Pujara were among the highlights of the first round of Ranji Trophy fixtures played from January 5-8.

There were other talking points as well, like the topsy-turvy match between Gujarat and Tamil Nadu won by the former, Karnataka’s commanding win over Punjab and Andhra Pradesh securing the first-innings lead against Bengal, last season’s runner-up. 

Here, we present the highlights.

Also Read: Delhi Sack Yash Dhull as Captain after Shock Defeat to Puducherry

Delhi disaster against Puducherry

One had heard of the mismanagement and chaotic tendencies which have characterised Delhi cricket for some time. Who had heard of Gaurav Yadav and Abin Mathew? The right-arm medium-pacers representing Pondicherry shared 17 wickets between them to skittle Delhi out for 148 and 145 at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, of all places. The visitors started playing at this level in 2018. For them to inflict a defeat on the seven-time champions and 15-time finalists has to rank among the biggest Ranji Trophy upsets in some time, after Mumbai’s defeat against Jammu and Kashmir in 2014.

Bihar and bizarre! Happy New Year

Playing against a marquee team like Mumbai at their home venue in Patna, Bihar said Happy New Year first by having two teams at the ground who both claimed they were the bona fide one. This happening in the premier event of the richest cricket board did not create as much ripples as an incident like this could have. The team given the go-ahead fielded Vaibhav Suryavanshi, who at 12-plus became one of the youngest first-class debutants in history. It then emerged that he was possibly 14! The bizarre twists notwithstanding, Bihar lost a chance to corner Mumbai despite holding the upper hand at one stage and succumbed to an innings defeat.

Pujara double, Bhui special in contrasting starts for finalists

Of the 19 centuries scored in Elite division games, Pujara’s 243 not out against Jharkhand was the only double. It came in a draw for Saurashtra. The defending champions got contributions from other batters and bowlers as well, but could not force an outright win. Batted till too late, not declaring until they took a lead of 430-plus. They underestimated Jharkhand, who ground out the draw. Bengal made 409, but couldn’t protect the lead against Andhra. Ricky Bhui made 175 to fetch his team the lead and three points. Hanuma Vihari made 51.

Padikkal special, Rinku and a Riyan blitz

Of the batters in India consideration or those who were there in the recent past, Devdutt Padikkal smashed 193 off 216 balls against Punjab. Manish Pandey also made a hundred in Karnataka’s seven-wicket win. Rinku Singh contributed a crucial 92 as Uttar Pradesh settled for the first-innings lead against Kerala. Riyan hit the second-fastest first-class century in India. After making eight in the first innings against Chhattisgarh, the Assam captain blitzed 12 sixes and 11 fours in an 87-ball 155 in a match his team lost by 10 wickets.

Also Read: Will Team Chef Give England Stomach for a Fight in India Tests?

Kaushik’s seven and a few four-fors

There were a few notable performances from the quicker bowlers. Other than Gaurav of Puducherry against Delhi, Karnataka’s V Kaushik flattened Punjab on the first day with a haul of 7-41. M Mohammad of Tamil Nadu and Bihar’s Veer Pratap Singh bagged spirited four-wicket hauls, although their teams lost. Arzan Nagaswalla came up with a crucial four-wicket burst in the fourth innings to ensure Gujarat beat Tamil Nadu after conceding a first-innings lead under dramatic circumstances.

For more sports related updates: Click here 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *