Nishant Sindhu (150, 245b, 18x4, 3x6) and Harshit Rana (122 n.o., 86b, 12x4, 9x4) piled on the runs to put North Zone in a commanding position against North East Zone on the second day of their Duleep Trophy quarterfinal at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Thursday.
Sindhu and Harshit - a study in contrast - took North to a mammoth 540 for eight declared. In reply, a nervy North East moved to 65 for three in a rain-affected final session.
Sindhu, 76 overnight, took a classical approach. The 19-year-old southpaw drove and cut well to reach his third First Class century in 13 matches. This was also Sindhu’s highest score in this format.
Sindhu played the anchor role in a 130-run seventh-wicket stand with Pulkit Narang (46, 120b, 6x4), before shutting North East out of the contest with a 104-run eighth-wicket partnership alongside Harshit.
Harshit, who featured in six matches as a pace bowler for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in this year’s IPL, made a strong case as a useful lower order batter. Harshit symbolised power hitting - tonking huge sixes and halting play as officials scurried to retrieve the ball.
The 21-year-old Harshit, playing only his sixth First Class match, fancies himself as a batter. “From the start, my club coaches have encouraged me to bat. Whenever I get the chance, I want to contribute runs. I love to bat - be it in nets or matches. If I get balls in my area, I will go for it,” Harshit said.
Harshit’s career took an upward turn when he was included in the KKR squad as a replacement for injured pacer Rasikh Salam in the 2022 IPL season. The Delhi cricketer came highly recommended by KKR batter Nitish Rana.
Harshit is grateful to Nitish for the big break. “Nitish bhaiya has always supported me. I attended the KKR trials only because he recommended my name. He helped kickstart my career,” Harshit said.
Harshit later came good with the ball, taking out North East captain R. Jonathan leg-before with an in-dipper. Fellow seamers Siddharth Kaul and Baltej Singh took a wicket each to pin North East on the mat.
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