Ranji Trophy: Himachal erases deficit, jumps into lead

The Ranji Trophy Group C match between Hyderabad and Himachal Pradesh was poised for an interesting finish after the latter recovered to erase a 90-run deficit and establish a 142-run lead on the penultimate day at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium here.

Paras Dogra top-scored for Himachal with 57.   -  K.R. Deepak

The Ranji Trophy Group C match between Hyderabad and Himachal Pradesh was poised for an interesting finish after the latter recovered to erase a 90-run deficit and establish a 142-run lead on the penultimate day at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium here.

At stumps on Saturday, Himachal put up a better batting performance, featuring half-centuries by Paras Dogra and Robin Bist, to end the day at 232 for six in its second innings after wrapping up Hyderabad for 126 in the first essay.

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Hyderabad added 27 runs to its previous night’s total of 99 for seven.

After C. V. Milind’s departure, B. Anirudh, resuming from 44, added 20 useful runs with Mohammad Siraj for the ninth wicket and enabled Hyderabad to get a good lead.

Playing confidently, Anirudh (64 off 162 balls) scored his seventh half-century, studded with a six over long-on of Rishi Dhawan. He was caught at deep point of the Himachal skipper, who achieved his career best figures of seven for 50.

Mayank Dagar removed Siraj as Hyderabad was all out in about an hour. Himachal batsmen looked positive and were not shy of playing shots.

After Prashant Chopra’s early dismissal off Ravi Kiran, Ankush Bains unleashed a 21-ball 35, containing five fours and a six. Bains, who picked up 17 runs off Milind’s first over, was bowled in Siraj’s first.

Promoted up the order, Sumeet Verma joined hands with the seasoned Dogra to forge a 59-run partnership and place Himachal comfortably.

Sumeet played every ball on merit and survived some big appeals in his innings of 39, containing four hits to the off-side fence and one over long-on of leg-spinner Akash Bhandari. He was caught at point by a diving Anirudh off the same bowler.

Old hands Dogra and Bist batted patiently to add another 65 runs and took Himachal to a 100-run lead.

Dogra (57) showed discipline and collected six of his seven boundaries in the ‘V’ to end his dry run. He was spectacularly caught by wicketkeeper K. Sumanth of a hard-working Siraj.

Dhawan fell to a beauty from Milind but Bist and Nikhil Gangta collected 32 to inflate the target.

Bist, unbeaten on 50, was a picture of composure as he used his feet well to protect his wicket and execute some big hits, including two sixes and a four down the ground and three fours on the onside.

Ravi Kiran was the most effective and disciplined among the Hyderabad bowlers. Siraj also bowled in right areas but was unlucky not to get more wickets.