Ranji Trophy QF: Jittery start for Vidarbha

The day's play was restricted to just 24 overs due to damp conditions. Vidarbha, opting to bat first, finished Day 1 at 45 for three.

Kerala's K.C. Akshay had a good spell against Vidarbha on Thursday.   -  Special Arrangement

Kerala, making its first knockout appearance, did give Vidarbha the jitters in whatever little time play was possible on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal at the Lalbhai Contractor stadium here on Thursday.

The day's play was restricted to just 24 overs after a delayed start, caused due to the dampness in the wicket and the field, and took as many as six inspections by umpires Vineet Kulkarni and Virendra Sharma before the toss at 3 p.m.

Scorecard

By then, full two sessions and a good half hour into the third was lost before Vidarbha opted to bat first, winning the spin of the coin. However, the two-time quarterfinalist was hardly able to do anything of note before ending the day at 45 for three in its first innings.

Ranji Trophy Quarterfinals, Day 1:  As it happened

Kerala, opting to play left-arm spinner K.C. Akshay in place of medium-pacer C.V. Vinod Kumar from the eleven that played for it against Haryana in its last league encounter, had a good run this evening as he struck twice after M.D. Nidheesh had accounted for the rival skipper, Faiz Fazal early on.

With Sandeep Warrier having completed six overs, the Kerala skipper Sachin Baby did surprise many as he turned to Akshay ahead of Basil Thampi. Getting into his groove straightaway, Akshay did signal the end of the experienced Wasim Jaffer before forcing Sanjay Ramaswamy to drive into the waiting hands of the Kerala captain stationed at short cover.

Read: Ranji Trophy round-up

Faiz Fazal was beaten by the pace of Nidheesh as he nicked to K.B. Arun Karthick in second slip, leaving Vidarbha at nine for one. The Group D topper looked as if it was on the path of recovery as Wasim Jaffer and Sanjay Ramaswamy stuck together through the next eight overs before the former Indian player was caught by Karthick off Akshgay, again in the slips.

 

The batsman was caught by surprise by the wicked turner but in no way was visibly amused with Virendra Sharma’s decision, pointing out repeatedly that the fielder had not properly taken the catch as the ball ricocheted off the pads of stumper Sanju V. Samson to the fielder, before walking out.

Vidarbha, having lost Sanjay Ramaswamy also, was taken to stumps by Ganesh Satish and Karn Sharma as fading light brought the play to an
end.

Umpires inspect the pitch at Lalbhai Contractor stadium in Surat on Thursday.   -  Special Arrangement

 

Earlier, it was quite frustrating for both the teams as the umpires kept on with the inspections after ruling out play right at the scheduled time of 9.30 a.m. It had not rained in the city since Tuesday night but cloudy conditions since then meant the pitch and the field were still damp on Thursday morning.

By the time play was called, a good 52 overs was already lost. Though the day was supposedly restricted to 38 overs, 14 of them was against lost due to bad light.