Mandeep Singh must be ruing the stroke that saw him miss what could have been his third century in four outings in this Ranji Trophy season. The Punjab skipper will be far more unhappy with the stroke selection of some of his colleagues on the opening day of the match against Delhi here on Friday.
Batting by choice, Punjab slipped from a position of comfort to finish the day at 266 for eight. Delhi, with limited bowling resources, struck five times in the space of 83 runs after Punjab was comfortably-placed at 172 for three.
With the PCA Stadium pitch offering very little help to the bowlers after the first hour, the in-form Punjab top-order threatened to score big once again.
Mandeep, who walked in at the end of Shubman Gill-Gurkeerat Mann stand of 59 for the second wicket, added 64 for the fourth wicket with Anmolpreet Singh on the day Punjab hit 41 boundaries off 82 overs.
Shubman Gill argues with umpire, match vs Delhi halted for 10 mins
Before Mandeep’s responsible 81 including 10 boundaries ended following a catch at cover, Gurkeerat played his role to perfection. Assigned the role of playing aggressively at No. 3, Gurkeerat, smashed 65 off 50 deliveries, dotted with 12 boundaries. His regulation return-catch to left-arm spinner Vikas Mishra — much like Sharad Lumba's offering to ‘rookie’ leg-spinner Tejas Baroka — came against the run of play and kept Delhi in the hunt.
For Delhi, most successes came from unexpected quarters with batting all-rounder Kunwar Bidhuri taking three wickets and Baroka, playing only his third match, claiming two.
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