Ranji Trophy: Delhi starts strong despite top-order collapse

It wasn't the best of start for Delhi, losing its top three batsmen inside the first eight overs. But Manan Sharma and Anuj Rawat repaired the innings with a 111-run partnership for the sixth wicket.

Manan Sharma, who put on a 111-run stand with Anuj Rawat, was unbeaten on 68.   -  AKILESH KUMAR

Manan Sharma and Anuj Rawat helped Delhi break out of jail for the second time in as many games. The duo put on a 111-run partnership for the sixth wicket after Delhi's top-order failed against Railways on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy Group A match at the Karnail Singh Stadium on Saturday. At stumps, Delhi was 318 for the loss of six wickets.

Anuj missed out on a century again but Sharma was unbeaten on 68 at stumps with Pulkit Narang for company on a two-paced pitch that saw the occasional ball staying low but otherwise had didn't trouble the batsmen much. Last match's centurion Nitish Rana and debutant Himmat Singh added 109 runs for the fourth wicket as Delhi's batting came to life only with the middle order. A tireless Anureet Singh was the pick of the bowlers for Railways with three wickets in 24 overs.

It wasn't the best of start for Delhi, as it lost its top three batsmen inside the first eight overs. Gautam Gambhir, who turned 36 on the day, tried to flick one going down the leg side but ended up edging the ball to wicketkeeper-captain Mahesh Rawat, who dived full stretch to his right for a low catch. Unmukt called for a single that wasn't there and was run out. Shorey was the second of Anureet's three victims. But once Rana and Himmat took control of the innings, it was smooth sailing for Delhi.

The duo played smart, without any risks and defended well. Once settled, the big shots came easily. Barring Anureet, most of the bowlers were treated with disdain and went for runs. There was no tentativeness and most of the hits were confidently struck. Rana looked set for his second 100 before stepping out to defend Shivakant Shukla but found himself stranded too far out of the crease, getting stumped. Anuj, on the other hand, fell three overs before end of play on 74. By then, Delhi had taken firm control of the game.
 

BRIEF SCORECARD

Delhi 1st innings 318 for six in 90 overs (Nitish Rana 89, Anuj Rawat 74, Manan Sharma 68 batting, Himmat Singh 45; Anureet Singh three for 71) vs Railways.
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