Ranji Trophy: Pant, Rana whip Assam; Delhi in control

After restricting Assam to 193, Delhi ended the day at 241 for three for a lead of 48 runs. Rishab Pant smashed an 83-ball 84, including five sixes and seven boundaries.

Rishab Pant (left) and Nitish Rana helped Delhi take control of the Ranji Trophy match against Assam in Vadodara on Friday.

Rishab Pant (left) and Nitish Rana helped Delhi take control of the Ranji Trophy match against Assam in Vadodara on Friday.   -  Special Arrangement

Coach K. P. Bhaskar is tempted to call Rishab Pant as ‘Gilly.’ Much like Adam Gilchrist, the 19-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman loves to take the battle to the opposition.

On Friday, Pant reinforced the impression with an innings of substance. Playing only his third Ranji Trophy match, he tore into Assam’s attack and turned the contest on its head at the Reliance ground here.

>Scorecard

Pant smashed an 83-ball 84, including five sixes and seven boundaries, in the role of a dominating partner in the ongoing 138-run fourth-wicket stand with fellow left-hander Nitish Rana to put Delhi in a position of strength.

After restricting Assam to 193, with Pradeep Sangwan taking three of the four wickets to fall in the first session, Delhi ended the day at 241 for three for a lead of 48 runs.

Rana, batting on a career-best 72, played his role to perfection as Delhi looked to bat two sessions on Saturday.

The Pant-Rana stand truly turned the tide Delhi’s way. The duo kept a healthy run-rate, played their strokes without losing respect for the good deliveries. But Pant’s flamboyance stood out when compared to Rana’s flair.

Dropped off the first delivery he faced, Pant went on to make it count. Even as Assam was ruing the low catch that eluded wicketkeeper Arun Karthik’s gloves, Pant hit the next two deliveries to a four and a straight six. Thereafter, he didn’t look back.

“I don’t think of the previous delivery,” said Pant as he explained his approach to batting. “I hate to miss loose deliveries and the opportunity to score. I go for the shots in all forms of the game.”

Unlike any of the batsmen before him, Pant launched a calculated counter-attack to prove that neither the bowlers nor the surface held terrors. In fact, the way Pant and Rana batted, skipper Unmukt Chand’s half-century was firmly pushed to the background.

Delhi also gained from the absence of off-spinner Sarupam Purkayastha. According to Assam team coach Sunil Joshi, Purkayastha needed a painkilling tablet after being hit by a delivery in the morning. But the tablet taken during lunch proved allergic and left Purkayastha nursing a swollen eye.

Day 2 round-up:

Group A

At Jaipur: Baroda 544 for eight decl. in 155 overs (Aditya Waghmode 142, Deepak Hooda 118, Kedar Devdhar 65, Hardik Pandya 47, Swapnil Singh 66 n.o., Axar Patel three for 136) vs. Gujarat 34 for no loss in 15 overs.

At Lahli: Tamil Nadu 87 & 153 for six in 54 overs (Abhinav Mukund 56, Washington Sundar 40, Vijay D. Gohil three for 36) vs. Mumbai 176 in 67 overs (Aditya Tare 48, Kaustubh Pawar 35, K. Vignesh five for 41, Aswin Crist three for 51).

At New Delhi (Palam): Railways 331 in 118 overs (Shivakant Shukla 128, Ashish Yadav 81, Mahesh Rawat 35, Siddharth Kaul five for 68) vs. Punjab 154 for four in 57 overs (Uday Kaul 59 batting, Gurkeerat Mann 66 batting).

At Hyderabad: Madhya Pradesh 465 in 125.5 overs (Harpreet Singh Bhatia 216 n.o., Ankit Sharma 61, Devendra Bundela 52, Rajat Patidar 42, Mukul Raghav 35, Imtiaz Ahmed three for 58) vs. Uttar Pradesh 131 for five in 47 overs (Eklavya Dwivedi 37 batting, Gourav Yadav three for 29).

Group B

At Vizianagaram: Saurashtra 430 in 97.3 overs (Jaydev Shah 193, Sheldon Jackson 76, Chirag Jani 33) vs. Rajasthan 12 for no loss in 1.4 overs.

At Visakhapatnam: Odisha 150 in 78.1 overs (Biplab Samantray 53, Sandeep Pattnaik 31, Shrikant Wagh three for 13, Akshay Wakhare three for 19) vs. Vidarbha 182 for two in 67 overs (Faiz Fazal 76 batting, Ganesh Satish 74).

At New Delhi (Karnail Singh stadium): Maharashtra 210 vs. Jharkhand 293 for seven in 99 overs (Kaushal Singh 121 batting, Virat Singh 46, Saurabh Tiwary 33, Shrikant Mundhe three for 100, Anupam Sanklecha three for 60).

At Vadodara: Assam 193 in 76.3 overs (Tarjinder Singh 61 n.o., Rahul Hazarika 37, Pradeep Sangwan three for 47) vs. Delhi 241 for three in 71.2 overs (Unmukt Chand 55, Nitish Rana 72 batting, Rishabh Pant 84 batting).

Group C

At Bhubaneshwar: Himachal 318 for seven vs. Andhra.

At Ranchi: Tripura 118 & 10 for no loss in three overs vs. Chhattisgarh 255 in 103.5 overs (Ashutosh Singh 140, Rishabh Tiwari 31, Abhijit Dey four for 26, Rana Datta three for 39).

At Nagpur: > Goa 164 vs. Hyderabad 188 for four in 63 overs (Akshath Reddy 105 batting, S. Badrinath 41).

At Mumbai: Services 197 in 73 overs (Aanshul Gupta 69, Rajat Paliwal three for 14) vs. Haryana for two in 30.5 overs (Shubham Rohilla 62 batting, Vikas Yadav three for 31).

At Kalyani: Kerala 282 for seven in 96.2 overs (Sanju Samson 142 batting, Jalaj Saxena 69, Samiullah Beigh four for 76) vs. Jammu & Kashmir.