The fifth round of the Ranji Trophy produced only the second-ever one-run win in the tournament’s history. It also produced a few thrillers, along with a rare instance of a match being played in snowy conditions in Dharamsala. Here are the key takeaways.
Seven Maharashtra batters got off to starts, but none managed more than Taranjitsingh Dhillon’s 28 at No. 7. The defeat sees Maharashtra languishing in the second half of the Group A table, while Saurashtra are closing in on the top three.
This was only the second time in Ranji history that a team had managed to secure victory by one run. Andhra was the only other team to pull off this feat, when they beat Tamil Nadu by this margin, at Salem in 1974-75.
Haryana made a good fist of the target, with openers Ankit Kumar and Harshal Patel adding 51. Then from 81 for 1, they sensationally collapsed; losing 6 for 11 as Narang ran through the batting line-up to pick up 5 for 55 as Services clinched a famous win.
Chasing 226, the inexperienced top order, sans Mayank Agarwal and Devdutt Padikkal, caved in and were at 99 for 6. Stand-in captain Nikin Jose registered a pair. But the lower order rallied with Pandey remaining unbeaten on 67.
Pandey aside, there was a crucial contribution from pacer Vijayakumar Vyshak, who made 38. But when he was dismissed, Karnataka still needed 29 runs with just two wickets in hand.
Pandey found support from Vidwath Kaverappa and Vasuki Koushik to clinch an unlikely win. Vyshak had also picked up a five-for with the ball in Railways’ second innings to help limit Railways’ lead, which proved to be crucial.
The win helped Karnataka jump to second in Group C, level on points with Tamil Nadu. However, TN are toppers by virtue of a better quotient and two bonus points to Karnataka’s zero.
Gujarat, the early pace-setters of the season, have stumbled big time. After winning their first two games, they’ve now lost two on the bounce, in addition to a drawn game due to the elements. This leaves them precariously placed, and outside the top three, in Group C going into the second half of the league phase.
Gujarat weren’t really in the chase of 318, slumping to 64 for 5 from where there was no turnaround. Parvez Sultan, the left-arm spinner, ended with a match haul of 10 for 116.
The victory march
Bengal were bundled out for 199 and 209, with only Anustup Majumdar (first innings) and Abishek Porel (second innings) standing tall with the bat. Fast bowler Mohit Awasthi recorded figures of 7 for 52 as Bengal were skittled in under 60 overs in the second innings.