A spirited bowling performance saw Hyderabad take a 36-run first innings lead over Rajasthan in the seventh round clash at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad. Gujarat and Andhra seized a first-innings lead over Vidarbha and Kerala, while Delhi still trail Bengal by 126 runs.
Ravi Kiran leads Hyderabad fightback
Having been bowled out for a meagre 171 at home on day one, the Hyderabadi bowlers dished out payback in style across the first two sessions on day two. Medium-pacer Ravi Kiran, who finished with figures of four for 46, removed both the openers before the middle order put up a resistance. Despite their starts, none — including top-scorer Ashok Menaria with 42 — kicked on as Rajasthan lost wickets at regular intervals. Chama Milind and Saaketh Sairam picked up two wickets each to bowl the visitors out for 135. Rajasthan’s bowlers, led by Aniket Choudhary and Tanveer Ul-Haq, brought their team back strongly in the second bout, reducing the hosts to 101 for six. Opener Akshath Reddy remained unbeaten on 43 at stumps — his team with a lead of 137 runs.
Vidarbha holding on despite early blows
Despite the best efforts of their bowlers, defending champions Vidarbha failed to recover from their horrendous first-innings display and conceded a 69-run lead to Gujarat. Resuming play at 88 for one — only 54 behind the visitors’ total — Gujarat were reduced to 123 for six — as their captain Parthiv Patel fell for 58. But some rearguard action from Chirag Gandhi (49 not out) and Roosh Kalaria (25 off 21 balls) thwarted the efforts of Aditya Thakare (five for 43) and Umesh Yadav (three for 82). Gujarat, bowled out for 211, then had their visitors reeling at 25 for four, before skipper Faiz Fazal (45 not out) and wicket-keeper Akshay Wadkar (35 not out) steadied the ship with an unbeaten 64-run stand. Vidarbha reached 89 for four at stumps, with a lead of 20 runs over the hosts.
Andhra take 93-run lead over Kerala
After 111 overs and one ball, the Kerala bowlers managed to bowl Andhra out for 255, but it was not before the hosts had taken a substantial first-innings lead. Resuming at 57 for one, Andhra lost Jyothi Sai Krishna early, before opener Prasanth Kumar stepped up and played the anchor role with 79. Around him, wicket-keeper Uppara Girinath, Karan Shinde, and Nitish Reddy played cameos to help the total, while Basil Thampi (three for 43) and skipper Jalaj Saxena (three for 56) impressed with the ball for Kerala. With two full days of play left at Ongole, Kerala will need to put up a strong second innings performance to stand any chance of recovering this match.
Dhruv Shorey hits fifty, but Delhi in trouble
After running out Anustup Majumdar on 99, Delhi’s bowlers — led by Simarjeet Singh’s four-fer and Vikas Mishra’s three-fer— cleaned up the Bengal tail cheaply. However, the hosts’ total of 318 looked formidable against Delhi, who were reduced to 192 for six by the end of play. Opener Hiten Dalal and skipper Dhruv Shorey steadied the situation after the early loss of a wicket with a 78-run stand. Once Dalal fell for 40, Nitish Rana joined Shorey and added another sixty runs on the board as Delhi looked steady at 147 for two. However, both fell — Rana for 24 and Shorey for 65 — to Mukesh Kumar in the space of four runs before Shahbaz Ahmed picked up two wickets off what proved the last two balls off the day to seize the initiative back in Bengal’s favour.
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