The Ranji Trophy 2019-20 finally initiated with two heavyweights Saurashtra and Bengal locking horns to lift the coveted trophy. While Saurashtra slotted Cheteshwar Pujara back in their squad, Bengal paved way for Wriddhiman Saha ahead of the much-awaited clash. After winning the toss and opting to bat first, Saurashtra got off too a steady and composed start as the opening duo of Harvik Desai and Avi Barot stitched an 82-run opening stand.
Desai scored a gritty 38-run knock and weaved his innings around 4 fours. He was well assisted by wicketkeeper Avi Barot, who amassed his half-century before getting dismissed off Akash Deep’s delivery. Barot gathered a resilient 54-run knock to ensure that his side get a steady start on a flat wicket.
Shahbaz Ahmed rose to the occasion and scalped the wicket of Harvik Desai to finally break the 82-run opening stand. Following the departure of both the openers, it was Vishvaraj Jadeja who also scored a half-century to add crucial runs in his team’s total.
Akash Deep starred with the ball by scalping three wickets
Meanwhile, Ishan Porel, who dazzled with the ball in his previous match, scalped the priced wicket of Sheldon Jackson to send him back to the pavilion on a meagre score of 14. However, the bowler who hogged the limelight was Akash Deep as he scalped a three-wicket haul including the wickets of Avi Barot, Vishvaraj Jadeja and Chetan Sakariya.
Saurashtra’s stalwart Cheteshwar Pujara– to the surprise of many fans– was pushed down the order in the match. The right-hander, following his dismal form on the New Zealand soil, struggled to leave a mark with his willow as he had to walk off the field after 24 deliveries due to dehydration.
Arpit Vasavada, on the other hand, ensured that he stayed glued to the crease at the culmination of the first day. After the Bengal bowling force toiled to scalp wickets, Saurashtra was able to amass 206 runs at the stumps of Day 1 at the loss of five wickets.
Despite bowling poorly in the first session, the Bengal side ended the first day with five wickets in under their belt. Arpit Vasavada will aim to bat on the second day to propel Saurashtra to a challenging total. Meanwhile, Abhimanyu Easwaran and his troops will be hoping to decimate and sweep Saurashtra’s batting tail at the earliest.
Saurashtra 1st innings: 206/5 in 80.5 overs (Avi Barot 54, Vishvaraj Jadeja 54; Akash Deep 3/41)
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