File photo: Manish Pandey and Mayank Agarwal are in great touch for Karnataka. © Wisden India

File photo: Manish Pandey and Mayank Agarwal are in great touch for Karnataka. © Wisden India

The Ranji Trophy 2017-18 is slowly heading towards the business end, with only one more round of matches left in the group stages. Round Six witnessed a number of big results, as Karnataka (Group A, 26 points), Delhi (Group A, 24 points) and Vidarbha (Group D, 28 points) sealed their berths in the knockouts with impressive performances.

The results:
Five of the 12 matches ended in bonus-point victories. Bengal, Delhi, Services, Vidarbha and Gujarat won their respective matches by an innings, while Kerala, Hyderabad and Haryana also picked up victories. Of the 12 matches, only four ended in a draw.

Click here for detailed points table.

The buildup

The numbers that mattered:

Pandey’s double treat

Karnataka drew a high-scoring match against Uttar Pradesh in Kanpur after racking up a mountain of runs on batting first at Green Park. Manish Pandey‘s career-best 238 from 301 balls was the highlight of the visiting side’s tally of 665 – Karnataka’s highest ever total against Uttar Pradesh – in the first innings. Pandey’s fourth double-century erased his previous best of 218.

Pandey found an ally in D Nischal, who scored 195, to script a mammoth partnership of 354 that took Karnataka past 600 for the third time this season. The association was the highest for the fourth wicket for Karnataka, surpassing the unbeaten 281-run stand between Barrington Rowland and Thilak Naidu against Jammu and Kashmir in 2002-03.

Agarwal’s journey to the top

Mayank Agarwal, in his last five innings, has scored 304 not out, 176, 23, 90 and an unbeaten 133 (in Karnataka’s second innings against Uttar Pradesh). The opening batsman is having a terrific season despite starting off slowly and, with 757 runs in five games, is now perched on top of the leading run-getters’ list. [Hanuma Vihari of Andhra (752 runs in six matches) is second.]

Gaja’s incredible effort

Chintan Gaja took 8 for 40 against Rajasthan, the best by a Gujarat seamer in the history of Ranji Trophy. © BCCI

Chintan Gaja took 8 for 40 against Rajasthan, the best by a Gujarat seamer in the history of Ranji Trophy. © BCCI

Chintan Gaja, the right-arm medium pacer, bagged 8 for 40 against Rajasthan to hand Gujarat an innings-and-107-run win. Gaja’s is the third highest haul by a Gujarat bowler in an innings, and the best by a Gujarat seamer in the history of Ranji Trophy.

It was also the best bowling figures in an innings this season, eclipsing Jalaj Saxena’s 8 for 85 against Rajasthan in Thumba in the second round.

Rathva’s rare feat

Ninad Rathva, making his maiden first-class appearance, came out to bat at No. 9 and scored a century. © BCCI

Ninad Rathva, making his maiden first-class appearance, came out to bat at No. 9 and scored a century. © BCCI

Sent in to bat by Odisha at the Reliance Stadium, Baroda relied on Kedar Devdhar (104), Vishnu Solanki (109) and Ninad Rathva (115), the most unlikely candidate, to build a big total.

Rathva, making his maiden first-class appearance, came out to bat at No. 9, and scored a gallant century to help his side go past 500.

Rathva became only the sixth Baroda batsman to score a century on debut. The last person to do the same was Deepak Hooda in 2014-15. Rathva’s score is the highest by a Baroda batsman from No. 9, bettering Atit Sheth’s 109 against Madhya Pradesh earlier this season.

Interestingly, it was also only the ninth occasion when three Baroda batsmen made 100-plus scores in a single innings. The last time this happened was against Uttar Pradesh in 2002-03.

Kerala’s big triumph

Kerala’s massive 309-run win against Saurashtra in Thiruvananthapuram helped the hosts to move to second spot in Group B with 24 points from five games, just ahead of Saurashtra, who have 23 points from five games. [Gujarat lead the table with 27 points from five games]

It was Kerala’s largest victory in the Ranji Trophy in terms of runs, ending Saurashtra’s stirring run this season which had netted them three wins in four previous games.

The 214-run partnership for the fourth wicket between Sanju Samson and Arun Karthik is Kerala’s highest-ever (for any wicket) against Saurashtra.

Shaw’s exuberance of youth

Prithvi Shaw hit his fifth ton (four in Ranji Trophy, one in Duleep Trophy) in only his seventh first-class appearance against Andhra in Ongole.

Shaw, the Mumbaikar who turned 18 on November 9, is the only batsman to have four Ranji Trophy hundreds under his belt at this age. In Indian first-class cricket, his tally is second only to Sachin Tendulkar, who had seven centuries at the same age.

In other news…

Sudhir Asnani became only the fourth umpire to stand in 100 Indian first-class games while officiating in the match between Assam and Hyderabad in Guwahati.

Wasim Jaffer‘s unbeaten 158 helped Vidarbha beat Goa by an innings and 37 runs. It was the veteran’s first century since December 2013, when he was playing for Mumbai.

Delhi crushed Maharashtra by an innings and 61 runs at the Palam ground by bundling them out for 99 in their first innings. The last time Maharashtra were dismissed for less than 100 in an innings was against Andhra in 2014-15. [They had made 91 then.]

Gujarat‘s massive win over Rajasthan was scripted by Gaja’s heroics and three centuries – from Priyank Panchal, Bhargav Merai and Parthiv Patel. It was only the fourth occasion where three Gujarat batsmen had hit hundreds in a single innings. The last time it happened was against Hyderabad in 2012-13. [Parthiv featured in that list too.]

Suresh Raina‘s dismal run in the tournament continued, as he fell for a duck against Karnataka. The Uttar Pradesh captain has scored 105 runs in nine innings so far, at a poor average of 11.67.

Debutants:

Team Player
Mumbai Karsh Kothari, left-arm spin
Assam Riyan Parag, opening batsman
Rajat Khan, allrounder
Hyderabad Mohammad Muddassir, right-arm pacer
Baroda Dhruv Patel, allrounder
Ninad Rathva, allrounder
Vidarbha Akshay Wadkar, wicketkeeper-batsman
Rajasthan Shubham Sharma, allrounder
Delhi Lalit Yadav, allrounder
Maharashtra Shamshuzama Kazi, allrounder
Punjab Shubman Gill, opening batsman
Bengal Pradipta Pramanik, allrounder

Social media watch

Kerala celebrated their victory in style.

Delhi, too, had happy faces in the dressing room.

The Bengal players made the most out of their day off in Amritsar.

The support staff from both Punjab and Bengal got together for lunch after the contest.

The Karnataka boys posed for a selfie after a tough game against Uttar Pradesh.

Amit Mishra was pleased with his Haryana teammates after they managed to squeeze out the narrow win.

Hyderabad were celebrating their win in Guwahati.

Ashok Dinda had some fans visiting him in Amritsar.

Trendsetters

Highest match aggregate:

– in Round 6: 1248 (Uttar Pradesh v Karnataka in Kanpur)
– Overall: 1475 (Himachal Pradesh v Punjab in Dharamshala)

Highest innings total:

– in Round 6: Karnataka – 655 (v Uttar Pradesh)
– Overall: Himachal Pradesh – 729 for 8 declared (v Punjab)

Highest run-getter:

– in Round 6: Manish Pandey – 238 runs
– Overall: Mayank Agarwal – 757 runs in five matches

Highest individual score:

– in Round 6: 238 (Manish Pandey, for Karnataka v Uttar Pradesh)
– Overall: 338 (Prashant Chopra, for Himachal Pradesh v Punjab)

Highest wicket-taker:

– in Round 6: Ram Dayal (Jammu & Kashmir) – 11 wickets
– Overall: Jalaj Saxena (Kerala) – 34 wickets in five matches

Best bowling figures in an innings:

– in Round 6: 8 for 40 (Chintan Gaja, for Gujarat v Rajasthan)
– Overall: 8 for 40 (Chintan Gaja, for Gujarat v Rajasthan)

Best bowling figures in a match:

– in Round 6: 11 for 101 (Ram Dayal, for Jammu & Kashmir v Haryana)
– Overall: 12 for 184 (Chirag Khurana, for Maharashtra v Uttar Pradesh)

Most dismissals by a wicketkeeper:

– in Round 6: 6 (Puneet Bisht, for Jammu and Kashmir v Haryana)
– Overall: Srikar Bharat (Andhra) – 24 in six matches

Highest partnership:

– in Round 6: 354 (for the fourth wicket between Manish Pandey and D Nischal, for Karnataka v Uttar Pradesh)
– Overall: 354 (for the fourth wicket between Manish Pandey and D Nischal, for Karnataka v Uttar Pradesh)

Total debutants this season: 69

Bonus-point wins:

In Round 6: 5; Overall: 19

Three-day finishes:

In Round 6: 3; Overall: 10