Chhattisgarh opened their points table in the Ranji Trophy 2019-20 with an innings win against Uttarakhand at home during the 2nd round. They restricted the visiting side to 120 on what seemed to be a pitch with help for the pacers. In response, Chhattisgarh reached 121 to take lead by lost six wickets in the process. At this point, Amandeep Khare was joined by Ajay Mandal only four overs into the 2nd day’s play. Khare has been a fine young batsman from Chhattisgarh and is known for big hundred.
Amandeep kept his reputation alive reaching his fifty in 85 balls. Mandal, who has been a handy lower-order batsman, took charge against the Uttarakhand bowlers. The duo ensured the home team did not lose any more wickets on the 2nd day. They had shared a 341-run stand by stumps and Mandal alone scored 209 of them. Khare was holding the things from one end as he moved to 166 after resuming the day on 33*. However, Amandeep got out eight runs short of a double hundred.
His wicket also brought an end to a 399-run partnership between Khare and Mandal for the 7th wicket. They declared their innings on 520/7 with a lead of 400 runs. Ajay Mandal finished unbeaten on 241 from 301 balls with 35 fours and 2 sixes.
He came to bat at No.8 and recorded the highest ever Ranji Trophy score while batting at No.8 or a lower position. The previous highest was Gulabrai Ramchand’s 230* for Bombay in the 1950/51 season against Maharashtra.
Highest individual scores in first-class cricket while batting at No.8 or a lower position:
Overall, Mandal’s 241* is the 3rd highest individual score at No.8 position in first-class cricket and the 4th highest score while batting at No.8 or lower in this format. Victor Trumper scored 293 at No.9 position against Canterbury in the 1913/14 season. Cecil Maxwell recorded 268 at No.8 position in 1935 against Leicestershire while Wasim Akram smashed an unbeaten 257 at this batting position during the 1996 Test against Zimbabwe.
Ajay Mandal went to bag a 5-wicket haul in the 2nd essay to restrict Uttarakhand to only 335. Thus, Mandal became only the 10th player in Ranji Trophy history to take a 5-fer and also score a double ton in the same match.
Khare-Mandal’s 399-run partnership is also the 2nd highest in first-class cricket for the 7th wicket and the 3rd highest for the 7th or lower wicket in FC cricket. The highest is recorded in Ranji Trophy only as Punjab’s Bhupinder Singh and Pankaj Dharmani shared 460 in 1994/95 against Delhi.
Highest partnerships for 7th or a lower wicket in first-class cricket:
(Stats as on December 21, 2019)
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