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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

Ranji Trophy: Ashoke Dinda dances through Delhi’s top-order before Jonty Sidhu leads fightback

Youngster Jonty Sidhu slammed a gritty 85, his maiden half-century, to help Delhi recover from a jittery start and post a modest 240 against Bengal in their Ranji Trophy Elite Group B match at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday.

cricket Updated: Dec 30, 2018 19:45 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
File image of Ashoke Dinda.
File image of Ashoke Dinda.((Photo by Hindustan Times))

At 73/5 and with Ashoke Dinda spewing fire, Bengal had Delhi on the hop before Lunch but Jonty Sidhu (85; 4x11; 165b) forged a couple of partnerships to help the visitors end the first innings on 240 on Day 1 of this Elite Group B Ranji Trophy match at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday.

It is a score that would give Delhi - depleted by the injury-induced absence of bowlers Navdeep Saini and Vikas Mishra and key batsman Dhruv Shory - hope something they hadn’t had much of all morning dealing with Dinda’s outswingers which were well mixed with deliveries that nipped back off the wicket. Dinda’s first spell read 9-3-21-3. He finished with 4/62, his third four-for this term.

Dinda bowled Kunal Chandela in the first over, making him pay for lack of footwork to counter the swing, had Anuj Rawat leg-before when he tried to play across the line and scuppered Delhi’s attempt to counter-punch by inducing an edge off Hiten Dalal (23) with one that the opener could have left.

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In between, skipper Nitish Rana (21; 4x5; 17 b) had fallen to a poor shot in off-spinner Aamir Gani’s first over so, at 4/62, Sidhu walked right into a crisis. One that was exacerbated by Mukesh Kumar, who had earlier trapped Rawat leg-before off a no-ball, being rewarded for disciplined bowling by getting Himmat Singh caught by wicket-keeper Agniv Pan. Delhi then were 73/5.

“If you had told me 240 in the morning, I would have taken it. But another wicket then and Bengal would have been right on top. These are moments that can prove crucial. At that time, you expect your spinners to be man-eaters,” said Bengal mentor Arun Lal.

They were not and Sidhu, fluent in his footwork and not shirking from playing shots, joined Shivam Sharma to resurrect Delhi with a 96-run stand for the sixth wicket. “I didn’t let the situation get to me by focusing only on the next ball,” said Sidhu, after his first Ranji Trophy half-century in his third game.

The partnership was broken by a wide Manoj Tiwary full toss that shattered Sharma’s defensive discipline and forced him to lunge into a drive. Pradipta Pramanik’s diving catch at cover ended Sharma’s 114-ball innings of 42 (4x5).

Till the 73rd over, Tiwary used spinners only from the High Court End End. When he did trust Writtick Chatterjee’s off-break from the Club House End, it ended Sidhu’s innings with a delivery that sped through the left-hander’s defence. “I was surprised by the pace,” said the former India U-19 captain whose father is a Jonty Rhodes fan.

By then, Sidhu and Shivank Vashisth had added 42 for the seventh wicket. Dropped on three by Tiwary - the Bengal skipper had earlier let off Rana off Kumar - off Gani, Vashisth added useful runs with the tail before Dinda and Kumar ended Delhi’s innings with the new ball.

First Published: Dec 30, 2018 19:45 IST

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