Ranji Trophy 2019-20: Delhi takes lead, Punjab loses four early wickets

Delhi claimed a 26-run first innings lead against home team Punjab in the Ranji Trophy on Sunday and then reduced it to 44 for four.

Dhruv Shorey and Nitish Rana scored 96 and 92 respectively against Punjab in the Ranji Trophy (File Photo).   -  K. MURALI KUMAR

Sunday proved to be an off-day for Punjab and a productive one for Delhi.

The visiting team snatched a slender but significant 26-run first innings lead and then reduced the host to 44 for four before dark clouds forced a premature end to third day’s play of the Ranji Trophy match at the PCA Stadium here.

Punjab, just 18 ahead with six wickets in hand, is sure to pray for more intervention from the weather on Monday, when the forecast is for rain after 11 am.

In any case, this depleted Delhi side will either get three points for first-innings lead in a drawn encounter or force an outright win, worth a minimum of six points.

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Resuming at 266 for four, Delhi surpassed Punjab’s 313 with three wickets in hand. Nitish Rana (92, 12x4), like skipper Dhruv Shorey on Saturday, missed a well-deserved century but contributions from Jonty Sidhu (41, 7x4) and Lalit Yadav (39, 6x4) ensured Delhi delivered a psychological blow to Punjab.

Rana paid the price for playing away from his body and the resultant inside-edge was taken by wicket-keeper. Sidhu, after looking good for a big knock, was foxed by Arshdeep. At this stage, Delhi was trailing by 39 runs with four wickets in hand.

Yadav and Kunwar Bidhuri soothed Delhi’s nerves by adding 31 runs before the latter was caught at lone slip. Soon, Delhi overhauled Punjab’s tally when Yadav sent the ball past the point-boundary.

Eventually, the 26-run lead was handy for Delhi but the fall of early wickets made it look more than a handful for Punjab.

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Like in the first innings, Shubman Gill was caught behind but looked clearly unhappy. Fortunately, he did not confront the umpire, Mohammad Rafi, like he did on Friday though he had a word with the Delhi fielders before leaving the ground. Replays confirmed Gill edged the ball.

Sanvir Singh, the other opener, failed again with keeper Anuj Rawat completing the catch.

The flamboyant Gurkeerat Mann holed out at long-off and Anmolpreet Singh was bowled off the fifth delivery he faced. Now in-form skipper Mandeep Singh, a couple of reliable batsmen and weather stand between Delhi and a possible win on Monday.

THE SCORES:

Punjab-1st innings: 313.

Delhi-1st innings: Anuj Rawat c Malhotra b Baltej 0, Kunal Chandela c Malhotra b Sanvir 31, Dhruv Shorey c Markande b Pandove 96, Nitish Rana c Malhotra b Baltej 92, Simarjeet Singh lbw b Markande 1, Jonty Sidhu b Arshdeep 41, Lalit Yadav c Malhotra b Arshdeep 39, Kunwar Bidhuri c Lumba b Arshdeep 17, Subodh Bhati lbw b Markande 6, Vikas Mishra b Markande 3, Tejas Baroka (not out) 6, Extras (b-3, lb-3, w-1) 7, Total (in 115.5 overs) 339.

Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-64, 3-186, 4-195, 5-257, 6-274, 7-305, 8-330, 9-330.

Punjab bowling: Baltej 25-3-74-2, Arshdeep 26-5-73-3, Sanvir 18-8-40-1, Markande 26.5-4-77-3, Pandove 11-1-37-1, Gurkeerat 9-1-32-0.

Punjab-2nd innings: Shubman Gill c Rawat b Bhati 4, Sanvir Singh c Rawat b Simarjeet 11, Gurkeerat Mann c Bhati b Simarjeet 15, Mandeep Singh (batting) 8, Anmolpreet Singh b Bidhuri 0, Sharad Lumba (batting) 6, Total (for four wickets in 13 overs) 44.

Fall of wickets: 1-10, 2-20, 3-37, 4-37.

Delhi bowling: Bhati 5-0-18-1, Simarjeet 6-0-21-2, Bidhuri 1-0-2-1, Mishra 1-0-3-0.

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