Ranji Trophy pre-quarterfinal: Jharkhand takes mammoth 723-run lead against frail Nagaland

Notwithstanding the size of the margin, the whopping 591-run lead ensured that Jharkhand would enter the quarterfinals in case the match is decided on the basis of first innings aggregates.

Chetan Bist's century went in vain as Nagaland was bundled out for a lowly 289.   -  PTI

Chetan Bist’s determined unbeaten hundred was in vain as Jharkhand banked on its hardworking bowlers to restrict Nagaland for 289 and achieve its primary target of notching up the first innings lead on the penultimate day of their Ranji Trophy pre-quarterfinal match at the Eden Gardens here on Tuesday.

Notwithstanding the size of the margin, the whopping 591-run lead ensured that Jharkhand – which chose to bat again instead of enforcing follow-on and ended the day at 132 for two in its second essay – would enter the quarterfinals in case the match is decided on the basis of first innings aggregates.

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The other probable outcome is an outright win for Jharkhand.

Nagaland, resuming from 130 for four, lost two more wickets by the first drinks break. Left-arm seamer Sushant Mishra accounted for Abu Nechim (32, 62b, 5x4, 1x6), who added 53 with Bist, and Imliwati Lemtur (4) by employing the rising deliveries in consecutive overs.

Hokaito Zhimomi, who retired hurt on five on the previous day, and Bist resisted for an hour before the former hit Anukul Roy to mid-wicket.

Bist (122 not out, 253b, 13x4, 1x6), who was behind the stumps for more than 203 overs, showed character to stay put for most part of Nagaland's first essay despite exhaustion.

The 32-year-old played some fine shots, especially on the square of the wicket on both sides, as he forged handy partnerships worth 45 and 35 with tail-enders Raja Swarnkar (17) and Khrivitso Kense (13) respectively.

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Bist achieved his fifth hundred of the season and third in successive innings.

Shahbaz Nadeem bowled 36.3 overs tightly on a flat pitch to pick up three wickets, while Mishra and Anukul claimed two apiece.

Opener Utkarsh Singh scored a half-century (50 not out, 106b, 6x4) as Jharkhand let its batters have some practice in the middle. The left-hander associated with Nazim Siddiqui (42, 48b, 6x4) and Kumar Suraj (31, 42b, 3x4) to collect 63 and 46 respectively.

Jharkhand led by 723 runs with a day left in the match.

The scores:

Jharkhand 880 in 203.4 overs and 132/2 in 37 overs (Utkarsh Singh 50 n.o., Nazim Siddiqui 42, Kumar Suraj 31) vs Nagaland 289 in 103.3 overs (Chetan Bist 122 n.o., Shrikant Mundhe 39, Abu Nechim 32, Shahbaz Nadeem 3/70).

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