Punjab were caught unawares when Odisha bowlers sprang a surprise and had the hosts all out for 167 on the first day of the Ranji Trophy tie at Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium on Thursday.
Had it not been for a fighting ninth-wicket partnership of 94 runs between Manpreet Gony and Sandeep Sharma, Punjab would have never dreamed of reaching the eventual score. This was after they were reeling at 73 for 9 in 38.4 overs at one point.
Odisha medium pacers Basant Mohanty and Deepak Behera took four wickets each for 43 and 47 runs, respectively.
For both the sides, and for Punjab more so, everything hinged on winning the toss on a green track. The early morning cold and moisture had Punjab bowlers dreaming of running riot. So it wasn’t a surprise as Odisha chose to field and the ball moved and seamed enough to trouble the high and mighty of the Punjab batting line-up.
All that mattered for Odisha was line and length as the rest was provided by the pitch which traditionally has true bounce. Trying to be too cautious for their own good, Punjab batsmen forgot to rotate the strike and only 15 runs came off as many overs in the first period.
Behera had Uday Kaul castled in front of the wicket for zero, while next-in Taruwar Kohli survived a caught behind due to umpire’s omission.
Still it wasn’t that bad for Punjab as led by opener Jiwanjot Singh, they managed to negotiate the initial spell with a new ball without losing any more wickets.
But all hell broke loose as Punjab started looking for runs. Twin strikes by Behera in the 24th over brought Punjab to its knees.
With just 44 runs on the board, Kohli departed for 14 off 57 balls after having played himself in, nicking one to keeper off Behera. And two balls later, Mandeep Singh was adjudged lbw for zero. Punjab lost opener Jiwanjot Singh also on the same score with Basant Mohanty castling him in front of the wicket.
Much depended on Yuvraj Singh and in-form Gurkeerat Mann as Punjab were struggling to rotate the strike. But Behera accounted for Yuvraj (4), his fourth wicket of the match, and Mohanty dismissed Mann for nine.
The rearguard for Punjab came in the ninth- wicket partnership. Playing positively and using long handle to good effect whenever the opportunity came, Gony led the fightback scoring 51 off 52 balls studded with six fours. Sandeep rotated the strike for his 35.
Punjab plans of dishing out a similar pain to Odisha soon evaporated as openers Paresh Patel and Girija Rout stitched 54 runs for the first wicket. Patel was eventually out for 27 in the last over of the day.
Brief scores: Punjab 1st innings 167 all out (Manpreet Gony 51 not out; Basant Mohanty 4/43, Deepak Behera 4/47) Odisha 1st innings 54 for one.
Yuvi added to MCC squad
London: India batsman Yuvraj Singh has been called up to play for Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in March’s Emirates Twenty20 tournament in Dubai, the invitational team announced on Thursday.He joins Alastair Cook, Michael Carberry and Nick Compton in the MCC squad for the tournament, which also features English county sides Lancashire, Yorkshire and Sussex. Yuvraj, who most recently played for Punjab in the Ranji Trophy, played against the MCC last year, scoring 132 for the Rest of the World XI in the Lord’s Bicentenary match.
“I am very excited about being part of the squad for this tournament, and I’d like to thank MCC for offering me the chance to play out in Dubai again,” Yuvraj said in a statement. “There are some great players in the squad so we stand a good chance of winning the competition.” AFP