A round-up of Ranji matches played on Friday
New Delhi: Rishabh Pant showed his natural flair for stroke-play with an attractive 99 in company of a reliable Nitish Rana (110 batting) as Delhi were comfortably placed 260 for 4 against Maharashtra on truncated first day of the fifth round encounter of Ranji Trophy.
In all only 62 overs of play was possible after light deteriorated in the final session.
Pant, who has not had any significant contribution during the current season did not get bogged down by the fall of wickets as his 99 off 110 balls had eight boundaries and six huge sixes.
Pant was finally snapped at slips by rival captain Ankit Bawne off Chirag Khurana but not before he played an entertaining knock at the Airforce ground with his exhilarating stroke-play. He was especially severe on off-break bowler Khurana, whom he hit for four sixes -- all down the ground.
Pant has had some issues against slow bowlers but he cleared the cobwebs in his mind as he used his feet to good effect against the spinners.
Pacers Nikit Dhumal and Praveen Dadhe tried to feed him with short balls but he kept his balance while hitting those pull-shots.
"I was never under any kind of pressure contrary to what people believe. There are times when you don't get runs. It wasn't as if I was trying to score quickly. I played 110 balls and all were not hit for boundaries and sixes. It means I defended well. Also I share a comfort level with Rana which reflects whenever, we bat together," Pant said after the day's play.
Pant-Rana duo came together in the 16th over with Delhi in a spot at 55 for 3 with Gautam Gambhir (1), Anuj Rawat (20) and Dhruv Shorey (7) and added 168 runs for the fourth wicket.
Mumbai Indians left-hander Rana hit 11 boundaries and three sixes, with most of his drives through the off-side.
Mumbai Indians talent scout John Wright along with national selector Devang Gandhi must have been happy watching the young turks in full flow.
Rana is having a good Ranji season with scores of 110 (vs Assam), 89 (vs Railways), 67 (vs UP) in previous matches apart from his fourth first-class ton in the current game.
Pant was lucky to have been dropped twice at 44 and 73 -- especially the second one off Khurana in the long-off region.
He was unlucky when he tried to play a defensive stroke but the edge was taken just a run shirt of his fifth first-class hundred.
At Palam:Delhi 260 for 4 (Nitish Rana 110 batting, Rishabh Pant 99, Chirag Khurana 2/71) vs Maharashtra.
At Guwahati:Hyderabad 289/8 (BP Sandeep 84, AT Rayudu 83, Arup Das 3/90, Rahul Singh 3/54)
At Kanpur: Karnataka 327/3 (Mayank Agarwal 90, Dega Nischal 90, Manish Pandey 63 batting, Karun Nair 62) vs Uttar Pradesh.
Jadeja takes six-wicket haul to bundle out Kerala for 225
Thiruvananthapuram: Dharmendrasinh Jadeja took a six-wicket haul to enable Saurashtra bundle out Kerala for a meagre 225 on the first day of their Ranji Trophy Group B match.
At stumps, Saurashtra were 37 without loss with Robin Uthappa unbeaten on 20 and Snell Patel on 16.
Opting to bat upon winning the toss, Kerala lost their openers early but Rohan Prem (29) and Sanju Samson (68) managed to steady the boat.
The duo put on an 82-run-stand to take the team past the 100-run mark.
However, Prem's dismissal triggered a collapse and Kerala kept losing wickets at regular intervals and even Samson failed to put up a resistance, falling for 68 off 104 balls, which included six boundaries and three sixes.
Salman Nizar (28) chipped in with some runs down the order but Kerala's innings folded in 78 overs.
Jadeja finished with impressive figures of six for 112.
Kerala 1st innings: 225 all out (Sanju Samson 68; Dharmendrasinh Jadeja 6/112).
Saurashtra 1st innings: 37 for no loss.
Brief scores of other Group B matches:
At Surat: Rajasthan 1st innings: 153 (Chintan Gaja 8/40) vs Gujarat 1st innings: 90 for one (Samit Gohil 46, Priyank Panchal 34 batting).
Haryana 1st innings: 119 for 7 (Himanshu Rana 35; Mohammed Mudhasir 4/34, Ram Dayal 3/35) vs J&K.
MP recovers from 67/5 to make 224/7 vs TN on day one
Indore: Tamil Nadu let Madhya Pradesh off the hook allowing them to reach 224 for 7 after having them at 67 for 5 at one stage at close on the first day of the Ranji Trophy Group C match.
Ankit Sharma (75 batting) and Ankit Dane (63) came together with the team in trouble after being sent into bat by Tamil Nadu.
They defied K Vignesh (3 for 27) and M Mohammed (2 for 46) and steadied the innings.
Tamil Nadu, which needs to win its two remaining matches outright to stand a chance of advancing to the knockouts, started in right earnest as Rajat Patidar was caught by skipper Abhinav Mukund off Mohammed for 11.
Mohammed struck again to remove Aditya Shrivastava (13) to leave Madhya Pradesh at 40 for 2.
Fast-medium bowler Vignesh, one of the finds of the previous season for Tamil Nadu, scalped three batsmen in the space of 27 runs in a superb spell. First, he had the talented young Shubham Sharma caught behind for 8, before sending back Hapreet Singh Bhatia (4).
In the 27th over, he struck a big blow by dismissing the experienced Devendra Bundela, the captain for 20, putting Tamil Nadu in control.
However, the two Ankits -- Sharma and Dane -- counterattacked and added runs quickly.
While Ankit Sharma had 12 hits to the boundary, Dane hit eight fours and a six before M S Washington Sundar sent back Dane to a catch by B Indrajith.Sundar struck again in his next over, getting Puneet Datey (0).
Ankit Sharma and Mihir Hirwani, son of former India leg-spinner Narendra Hirwani, saw the team through to stumps without any further loss.
Brief scores: Madhya Pradesh 224 for 7 in 80 overs (Ankit Sharma 75 batting, Ankit Dane 63, K Vignesh 3 for 27) vs Tamil Nadu.
At Ongole: Mumbai 248 for 6 in 90 overs (Prithvi Shaw 114, Siddhesh Lad 86, Abhishek Nayar 21 batting, B Ayyappa 3 for 87) vs Andhra Pradesh.
At Vadodara:Baroda 281 for 3 in 90 overs (Kedar Devdhar 104, Deepak Hooda 51, Vishnu Solanki 46 batting) vs Odisha.
Bengal bowl out Punjab for 147 on Harbhajan's FC comeback
Amritsar: Bengal bowlers showed enormous discipline to skittle out Punjab for a paltry 147 before reaching 76 for no loss as they completely dominated the proceedings during a Ranji Trophy group D encounter.
Harbhajan Singh playing his first four-day game in over 21 months, will hardly be pleased with the performance of his batsmen as they could only play 46 overs during the day.
Opener Shubhman Gill scored 63 off 102 balls with nine boundaries but none of the Punjab batsmen could cross individual score of 20.
Medium pacer B Amit (3/31 in 9 overs) and left-arm spinner Pradipta Pramanik (3/41 in 17 overs) were the wreckers in-chief.
Once Jiwanjot Singh (13) was trapped leg-before by an arm ball from Pramanik, Punjab never had any worthwhile partnerships.
Shubhman and keeper Abhishek Gupta (15) did add 33 runs for the fifth wicket but that was certainly not enough as wickets fell at regular intervals.
When Bengal batted, their young openers -- left-handed Abhishek Raman (42 batting) and Abhimanyu Easwaran (33 batting) safely negotiated the Punjab attack. Bengal need another 72 runs to take first innings lead.
Skipper Harbhajan bowled six overs on the day and went for 27 runs.
At Amritsar: Punjab 1st Innings 147 (Shubhman Gill 63, Pradipta Pramanik 3/41, B Amit 3/31) vs Bengal 1st Innings 76/0 (Abhishek Raman 42 batting, Abhimanyu Easwaran 33 batting).
At Raipur: Services 1st Innings 130 (Diwesh Pathania 4/45). Services 1st Innings 39/0.
At Porvorim:Goa 1st Innings 239 (Keenan Vaz 72, Akshay Wakhare 4/50) vs Vidarbha.