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Ranji round-up – Dube rescues Mumbai; Karnataka stumble on 16-wicket day; Sai Kishore drives TN

The fifth round of the Ranji Trophy produced a number of compelling performances on Friday. Here are the key takeaways.

Dube celebrates elevation in style

Shivam Dube is enjoying a memorable 2024. A month after being named Player of the Series during his return to the national team against Afghanistan, he has now earned the privilege of captaining Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy.
It’s an opportunity that arose after designated captain Ajinkya Rahane missed the fifth round game against Bengal due to a hamstring injury and designated vice-captain Shams Mulani travelled with India A for the third unofficial Test against England Lions.

On his part, Dube celebrated his elevation with a backs-to-the-wall 72 on a greenish deck at Eden Gardens in a Group B fixture against Bengal. Last week against Uttar Pradesh, Dube struck his third first-class hundred, while he opened the season with 51 against Kerala.

Dube came in to bat at 87 for 4, and hauled Mumbai out of trouble with 144-run stand with Suryansh Shedge, who made 71. Shedge was handed a debut only because Rahane, who was slated to play the game, complained of pain in his right hamstring prior to the start of the match.

This is the second game Rahane has had to miss this season. He’d earlier missed the opening game against Bihar in Patna due to a stiff neck.

Mumbai’s lower order then drove home the advantage further to end the opening day on 330 for 6, with Tanush Kotian (55) and Atharva Ankolekar (41) at the crease.

Meanwhile, in his first competitive outing in close to six months, Prithvi Shaw was dismissed for a breezy 35 before falling to allrounder Suraj Jaiswal. Paying in only his third first-class match, Jaiswal was Bengal’s most prolific bowler with figures of 3 for 95.

Inexperienced Karnataka stumble on 16-wicket day

In Surat, as many as 16 wickets fell on a pulsating opening day with Karnataka ceding the advantage against Railways. After skilling them for 155 in under two sessions, they were on the mat at 90 for 6.

Without Mayank Agarwal, who is recuperating from a brief hospitalisation, and Devdutt Padikkal, who is away with India A, Karnataka’s inexperienced top order wasted strong starts. Nikin Jose, the new captain, had a tough initiation as he was out first ball. Jose has managed to get into double figures only twice in eight innings so far this season. This includes a score of 107 against Goa in a drawn fixture.

Juyal, Karan power Uttar Pradesh

After toppling Mumbai last week, UP made a strong start to their Group B fixture against Assam, with Aryan Juyal and Karan Sharma hitting centuries in an unbroken 240-run third wicket stand. UP ended the day in 319 for 2.

Juyal, UP’s first-choice wicketkeeper in Dhruv Jurel’s absence, has been in excellent form lately. Both his first-class hundreds have come this season. He also has a half-century alongside those. Karan, meanwhile, has carried forward his stellar form from the previous game, where he battled injury to put it past Mumbai in a tense chase.

Anmolpreet, Prabhsimran flatten Chandigarh

Imagine playing an away game at home and then making the home team toil? Well, that’s what first cousins Anmolpreet Singh and Prabhsimran Singh did for Punjab against Chandigarh at the Sector-16 Stadium in the city. The pair shared an unbroken 137-run stand as Punjab ended the opening day strongly on 307 for 2. Anmolpreet was on 136, while Prabhsimran was 76 not out. Opener Naman Dhir led the strong start to make 86.

Sai Kishore leads by example for resurgent TN

Riding a massive wave of confidence following two wins that puts them in knockouts contention, Tamil Nadu skittled Goa for 241 with R Sai Kishore, the captain, leading the way with four wickets. Suyash Prabhudesai led Goa’s fight with 104, his third hundred of the season, while KV Siddharth, the former Karnataka batter contributed 69. Tamil Nadu ended the day at 20 without loss.
Venkatesh Iyer‘s three-for helped skittle Himachal for 169, but MP were in trouble at 69 for 4 in cold Dharamsala.
Cheteshwar Pujara managed just 3 as defending champions Saurashtra made a terrific fightback after veiling bowled out for 202. They had Maharashtra tottering at 116 for 7. Dharmendra Jadeja, who led the fightback by top scoring with 72 picked up four wickets with the ball.

In the plate group, Agni Chopra couldn’t quite replicate the kind of form he’s shown in the first half of the season. That a score of 43 is being spoken about as a regulation performance is only because he came into the game on the back of five hundreds for Mizoram in his first four first-class matches.

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