Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Sikkim in control vs M’laya on Day 1


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Shillong, Feb 2: Akash Kumar Choudhary took four wickets on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy plate group match between Meghalaya and Sikkim at the latter’s home ground of Rangpo.
The match started Meghalaya’s way but a middle order fight back from the hosts saw them finish the first day on a respectable 238/7 in 78 overs.
Sikkim won the toss and chose to bat first but were reduced to 63/5 at one point before Palzor (79) and Saurav Kumar Prasad (36) made 77 for the sixth wicket. Ankur then took Prasad’s place when the latter was dismissed and he was on 58 not out at stumps, having made 65 for the seventh wicket with Palzor.
Among the Meghalaya bowlers, Akash removed two of the top order batters and also claimed the coveted wickets of Palzor and Prasad to finish with figures of 4/46 in 23 overs. His fellow opening bowler Swarajeet Das bagged 2/38 in 13 overs while left-arm spinner Aryan Borah, drafted from the U-23 men’s team for this game, took 1/82 in 21 overs.
Meghalaya will aim to take the remaining three wickets as quickly as possible tomorrow morning and not let Sikkim add much to their overnight score.
Elsewhere, India skipper Rohit Sharma might have refused to shut the doors on Cheteshwar Pujara last month but the Saurashtra veteran did not help his cause by getting out cheaply in a Group A Ranji Trophy match against Maharashtra here on Friday.
Maharashtra were tottering at 116/7, squandering the advantage of bowling out Saurashtra for 202, as 17 wickets fell on an extremely productive first day for bowlers.
Saurashtra skipper Jaydev Unadkat won the toss and opted to bat first but his decision backfired as the team slipped to 23/3 in no time.
Pujara, the 36-year-old seasoned campaigner with 103 Tests and 261 First-Class matches under his belt, walked in at the fall of Vishvaraj Jadeja, but all he could manage was three runs in 16 balls.
Left-arm spinner Hitesh Walunj, who was the day’s most successful bowler with excellent figures of 6/93 in 26 overs, got rid of the game’s most high-profile player when he trapped Pujara in front of the wicket, leaving Saurashtra in a precarious position pretty early into the match.
The out-of-favour Pujara was not considered for the ongoing five-match Test series against England at home, with the national selectors preferring new faces instead.During an interaction with scribes ahead of the series against England, India captain Rohit, however, refused to believe that Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane’s days were over in the team’s Test setup.
Arpit Vasavada (14) fell after getting a start and opener Harvik Desai, having reached 25 in 49 balls, followed his other colleagues to the dressing room to continue Saurashtra’s woes.
Joining forces at 54/5, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja (72 off 107 balls) and Prerak Mankad (56 off 80) added 118 invaluable runs for the sixth wicket to give Saurashtra’s total a semblance of respectability.
Considering the state of the match, their partnership could prove to be vital to the final outcome.
Besides Walunj, off-spinner Taranjitsingh Dhillon was among wickets for Maharashtra and ended with impressive figures of 4/54 in 17.1 overs.After bailing his team with the bat, Jadeja returned to torment Maharasthra with his left-arm spin, snaring four wickets for 47 runs to put his team ahead in the game.
For Maharashtra, opener Kaushal Tambe made 37 and Ankit Bawne 34.Maharashtra are trailing by 86 runs at stumps, and will require a special effort from their remaining batters to secure a first-innings lead.In another Group A match in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand were well-placed at 96/1 after bundling out Manipur for 170, to trail by just 74 runs. (Agencies)


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