Ranji Trophy 2017-18, Quarterfinals: Day 1 Review

Vinay Kumar owned the first day with a six-wicket haul against Mumbai, first three of them being a sensational hat-trick.

Vinay Kumar
Vinay Kumar. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The knockout phase of the ongoing Ranji Trophy season began on Thursday as eight teams battle it out for the four spots in semifinals. While the defending champions Gujarat locked horns with Bengal in Jaipur, Delhi faced Madhya Pradesh in Vijayawada in the first couple of quarterfinals. In the other two matches, Kerala and Karnataka stepped onto the field against Vidarbha and Mumbai respectively. All the matches are expected to be closely fought with the teams being evenly matched.

Vinay Kumar, the skipper of Karnataka, scalped a sensational hat-trick against the much-fancied Mumbai side in the helpful and skittled them early. The day saw the only talking point as the other games went steadily as the game between Kerala and Vidarbha only starting in the final session thanks to persistent rain and wet outfield. Though there is a lot of time left and the players will give their best shot to see their sides progress through to the last 4.

Karnataka hold advantage over Mumbai

The Karnataka hold a decisive first innings over Mumbai after inserting them to bat first on a helpful deck. Vinay Kumar reaped rewards from the pitch with some exceptional bowling in the third over when he completed a hat-trick. He scalped key wickets of Prithvi Shaw, Jay Gokul Bista, Akash Parkar. The procession continued as SIddhesh Lad, their saviour this season, was also snaffled with a beautiful delivery by the same bowler.

Mumbai managed to post 173 runs on the board only because of Dhawal Kulkarni who played a heroic knock of 75 and stitched a partnership of 70 runs for the last wicket with Shivam Malhotra. Vinay finished with the figures of 6/34 who ran through their line-up even after the hat-trick. In reply, Karnataka lost only Ravikumar Samarth as his partner Mayank Agarwal is solid as ever unbeaten on 62. They scored runs at almost 4 runs per over and were only 58 runs adrift of the total posted by their opponents with nine wickets in hand.

Kerala seize advantage in 24 overs

The first day’s play between Kerala and Vidarbha was marred by rain as the most part was hampered due to wet outfield. However, the latter team won the toss and chose to bat first only to give away the advantage. The in-form skipper Faiz Fazal was scalped by MD Nidheesh only for 2 after which KC Akshay sent back Sanjay Ramaswamy and Wasim Jaffer to reduce Vidarbha to 37/3. The duo of Ganesh Satish and Karn Sharma then played carefully and made sure there were no further hiccups. They finished the day on 45/3 after only 24 overs of play was possible.

Delhi happier of the two sides as MP waste starts

Delhi bowler Vikas Mishra enjoyed the day against Madhya Pradesh batsmen who didn’t pick him throughout and ruled the day with three wickets. MP could only score 223 runs for the loss of six wickets as most of their batters threw away their starts. Ankit Dane (59) and Naman Ojha (49) were guilty of not carrying on to get a big score in the most important game for their side. For Delhi, the bowlers bowled tight lines as Navdeep Saini, Vikas Tokas and Manan Sharma were the other wicket-takers.

They would love to bowl out their opposition under 250 and then bat big in their first innings. On the other hand, MP would love to get past 300 which will be a psychological advantage as Harpreet Singh is still going strong 47.

Easwaran and Majumdar lead Bengal fightback

Gujarat got off to a dream start as their new ball bowlers ran through the top order of Bengal n the first hour to reduce them to 59/4. But the duo of Abhimanyu Easwaran and Anustup Majumdar added 175 runs for the fifth and brought them back into the game. While the former slammed a timely century, the latter was dismissed on 94 only six runs short of a well-deserved ton. Just when the day was going the way of Bengal, the defending champions hit back picking both of them before stumps as they ended the day on 261/6. Especially Easwaran would be gutted as he was scalped at the stroke of stumps which tilted the day in favour of Gujarat led by Parthiv Patel.

Brief Scores:

1st Quarterfinal: Gujarat v Bengal

Bengal 261/6 (A Easwaran 129, A Majumdar 94; I Chaudhary 3/49)

2nd Quarterfinal: Delhi v Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh 223/6 (A Dane 59, N Ojha 49, H Singh 47*; V Mishra 3/40)

3rd Quarterfinal: Kerala v Vidarbha

Vidarbha 45/3 (S Ramaswamy 17; KC Akshay 2/14)

4th Quarterfinal: Kerala v Mumbai

Mumbai 173 (D Kulkarni 75; V Kumar 6/34, S Aravind 2/45

Karnataka 115/1 (M Agarwal 62*, R Samarth 40; S Dubey 1/11)