Ranji Trophy: Gurkeerat steadies ship after early losses

Gurkeerat Singh Mann was unbeaten on 66 at stumps with Punjab 154 for four chasing Railways' first innings score of 331. Uday Kaul had dropped anchor at the other end with a patient 59 off 159 balls.

Gurkeerat Singh Mann brought up his 50 with a straight six.   -  Sandeep Saxena

Even at the Palam Sports Complex, which no one barring those in uniform can enter, Yuvraj Singh manages to attract admirers scaling the boundary walls to see him play. But it was the flair and aggression of Gurkeerat Mann that helped steady Punjab's innings after early losses against Railways on Day Two of its Ranji Trophy season opener here.

Mann was unbeaten on 66 at stumps with Punjab 154 for four chasing Railways' first innings score of 331. Uday Kaul had dropped anchor at the other end with a patient 59 off 159 balls and for a team that bats deep, how the pair continues on the third day would be instrumental to the team's chances.

With runs choked and wickets falling, Punjab was 44 for four when Mann walked in in the 23rd over. Whether it was the disappointment of being ignored for the ODIs against New Zealand or a desire to prove that his failure in Australia earlier this year was a one-off, he energised the Punjab scoreboard, crawling till then.

The wicket was expected to ease out but the Railways seamers maintained their line and discipline to subdue Punjab. Manan Vohra nicked one from former teammate Deepak Bansal to a diving Mahesh Rawat behind the stumps and Jiwanjot Singh perished in a replay six balls later, this time from Anureet Singh. Mandeep Singh, named for the first three ODIs, managed as many runs before being bowled by Bansal.

Yuvraj walked out, struggled to play shots off two balls in a row, and walked the long, slow walk back after a painful 62 minutes at the crease for his nine runs. The few wanted to see him were left disappointed by his brief, uninspiring and dispirited outing in the middle. Mann turned it all around.

His 10 fours were spread all over the field from extra cover to third man, he ran quick singles and survived a run out chance after a mix-up that had both batsmen stranded in the middle. Mann brought up his 50 with a straight six, the only one of the innings, off Karn Sharma without so much as attempting to move out of the crease. Kaul got his own 50 as the duo ended the day with a 110-run unbeaten partnership.

Earlier in the day, Railways resumed on 257 for five but Siddharth Kaul picked up three early wickets to complete his fifer, including overnight batsmen Shivakant Shukla, out leg-before on 128, and Ashish Yadav, caught at slip for 81. Once they were gone with the score on 296, it was a matter of time before the rest folded up after a brief resistance by Sharma and Bansal, 20 minutes before lunch.



Brief scores (Day Two)

Railways 1st innings: 331 (Shivakant Shukla 128, Ashish Yadav 81, Mahesh Rawat 35; Siddharth Kaul five for 68, Vinay Choudhary two for 59)

Punjab 1st innings: 154 for 4 in 57 overs (Gurkeerat Mann batting 66, Uday Kaul batting 59; Deepak Bansal two for 28).

Day 2 round-up:

Group A

At Jaipur: Baroda 544 for eight decl. in 155 overs (Aditya Waghmode 142, Deepak Hooda 118, Kedar Devdhar 65, Hardik Pandya 47, Swapnil Singh 66 n.o., Axar Patel three for 136) vs. Gujarat 34 for no loss in 15 overs.

At Lahli: Tamil Nadu 87 & 153 for six in 54 overs (Abhinav Mukund 56, Washington Sundar 40, Vijay D. Gohil three for 36) vs. Mumbai 176 in 67 overs (Aditya Tare 48, Kaustubh Pawar 35, K. Vignesh five for 41, Aswin Crist three for 51).

At New Delhi (Palam): Railways 331 in 118 overs (Shivakant Shukla 128, Ashish Yadav 81, Mahesh Rawat 35, Siddharth Kaul five for 68) vs. Punjab 154 for four in 57 overs (Uday Kaul 59 batting, Gurkeerat Mann 66 batting).

At Hyderabad: Madhya Pradesh 465 in 125.5 overs (Harpreet Singh Bhatia 216 n.o., Ankit Sharma 61, Devendra Bundela 52, Rajat Patidar 42, Mukul Raghav 35, Imtiaz Ahmed three for 58) vs. Uttar Pradesh 131 for five in 47 overs (Eklavya Dwivedi 37 batting, Gourav Yadav three for 29).

Group B

At Vizianagaram: Saurashtra 430 in 97.3 overs (Jaydev Shah 193, Sheldon Jackson 76, Chirag Jani 33) vs. Rajasthan 12 for no loss in 1.4 overs.

At Visakhapatnam: Odisha 150 in 78.1 overs (Biplab Samantray 53, Sandeep Pattnaik 31, Shrikant Wagh three for 13, Akshay Wakhare three for 19) vs. Vidarbha 182 for two in 67 overs (Faiz Fazal 76 batting, Ganesh Satish 74).

At New Delhi (Karnail Singh stadium): Maharashtra 210 vs. Jharkhand 293 for seven in 99 overs (Kaushal Singh 121 batting, Virat Singh 46, Saurabh Tiwary 33, Shrikant Mundhe three for 100, Anupam Sanklecha three for 60).

At Vadodara: Assam 193 in 76.3 overs (Tarjinder Singh 61 n.o., Rahul Hazarika 37, Pradeep Sangwan three for 47) vs. Delhi 241 for three in 71.2 overs (Unmukt Chand 55, Nitish Rana 72 batting, Rishabh Pant 84 batting).

Group C

At Bhubaneshwar: Himachal 318 for seven vs. Andhra.

At Ranchi: Tripura 118 & 10 for no loss in three overs vs. Chhattisgarh 255 in 103.5 overs (Ashutosh Singh 140, Rishabh Tiwari 31, Abhijit Dey four for 26, Rana Datta three for 39).

At Nagpur: > Goa 164 vs. Hyderabad 188 for four in 63 overs (Akshath Reddy 105 batting, S. Badrinath 41).

At Mumbai: Services 197 in 73 overs (Aanshul Gupta 69, Rajat Paliwal three for 14) vs. Haryana for two in 30.5 overs (Shubham Rohilla 62 batting, Vikas Yadav three for 31).

At Kalyani: Kerala 282 for seven in 96.2 overs (Sanju Samson 142 batting, Jalaj Saxena 69, Samiullah Beigh four for 76) vs. Jammu & Kashmir.