The second round of Ranji Trophy 2017-18 witnessed more results than the first, with six of the 12 games producing outright wins, and one – between Hyderabad and Uttar Pradesh – being abandoned without a ball bowled. Interestingly, five of the six decisive matches ended with innings victories.
Gujarat, Karnataka, Mumbai and Vidarbha got their campaign going this week, with Maharashtra, Haryana, Odisha and Services getting a break from the rota.
The buildup to Round Two
Saurashtra became the only side to record two wins in two matches while Bengal, Delhi, Gujarat, Vidarbha and Karnataka picked up their first wins of the season.
For the second week in a row, the match at the Gymkhana Ground in Secunderabad was called off without a ball being bowled. Rain and a soggy outfield made play impossible, which meant Uttar Pradesh and Hyderabad could only take one point each.
As many as 24 centuries were scored over the four days, only Ravindra Jadeja going on to convert it to a double-ton.
The numbers that mattered
Jadeja’s double ‘dhamaka’
Jadeja doesn’t seem to enjoy small hundreds much in the Ranji Trophy. Of the eight times he has gone past 100, he’s gone on to convert them to double-centuries on two occasions and triple-centuries thrice.
Jadeja’s top five scores in Ranji Trophy
|201||Jammu & Kashmir||2017|
Against a hapless Jammu and Kashmir side, the Indian allrounder first tonked 201 to allow Saurashtra to declare at 624 for 7, and then returned to bag seven wickets in the match (4 for 40 and 3 for 69) to help his side to a massive win by an innings and 212 runs.
Jadeja is only behind Vijay Hazare in the list of quickest to 3000 runs and 150 wickets in Ranji Trophy. Hazare took 34 matches to achieve the feat while Jadeja got there this week in 41 games.
Naman Ojha, the long-serving warhorse for Madhya Pradesh, was playing in his 100th first-class game when his team took on Mumbai at the Holkar Stadium in Indore. To mark the occasion, Ojha hit a magnificent 180 and, in the process, went past 7000 runs in Ranji Trophy and 9000 runs in his first-class career.
Asnodkar’s tryst with Dharamsala marathon
After last week’s run fest (Himachal Pradesh v Punjab, where 1475 runs were scored) at the HPCA stadium in Dharamsala, the hosts settled for another draw against Goa after a good outing for batsmen from both sides once again.
For Goa, the opening partnership of 299 between Swapnil Asnodkar and Sumiran Amonkar in the second innings not only turned out to be a match-saving effort, it also happened to be Goa’s best opening stand in Ranji history. The previous best also featured Asnodkar, who had put on 238 with Amogh Desai against the same opponents at the same venue in 2013-14.
A T20 effort in a four-day game
An India A call up meant Prashant Chopra, who made the headlines with a record-breaking triple-ton in the first round, was missing for Himachal Pradesh. Centuries from Priyanshu Khanduri, Nikhil Gangta and Ankush Bains did help the hosts rack up the runs and declare at 625 for 7, but the record books, surprisingly, were turned upside down only by Pankaj Jaiswal, who came out to bat at No. 9.
Jaiswal hit reached his 50 off just 16 balls to race to the second fastest half-century in Indian first-class cricket. His unbeaten 63 off 20 balls included four fours and seven sixes, taking him tantalisingly close to the record for the fastest fifty. Jammu and Kashmir’s Bandeep Singh had reached the mark in 15 balls against Tripura in 2015-16.
Pinal Shah in 300 club
Naman Ojha is second in the list of most dismissals by a wicketkeeper in Ranji history, only behind Vinayak Samant, who has 335 scalps against his name.
Baroda’s Pinal Shah is hot on Ojha’s trail, entering the 300 club during his side’s contest against Andhra this week. Ojha has 320 dismissals in his career so far.
The Dinda-Tiwary century stand
— CABCricket (@CabCricket) October 13, 2017
No, it’s not what you are thinking. Ashok Dinda might have smashed a fiery half-century last week, but there was no repeat against Chhattisgarh. And no, there was no hundred-run partnership between him and Manoj Tiwary either.
The two old-timers, however, both celebrated their 100th first-class appearance against Chhattisgarh in Raipur. Tiwary didn’t do much with the bat as Bengal won by an innings and 160 runs, but Dinda made it a memorable affair with 10 wickets (7 for 21 and 3 for 26) in the game.
Sanju Samson of Kerala and Saurabh Bandekar of Goa passed 2000 runs in their first-class careers.
Mumbai’s Siddhesh Lad crossed 2000 Ranji runs during his knock of 82 against Madhya Pradesh.
Rishi Dhawan grabbed his 250th wicket for Himachal Pradesh in first-class cricket.
Mumbai’s missing warriors
Of the four sides that played their first match of the season, only Mumbai failed to force an outright win, drawing against Madhya Pradesh in Indore. Last year’s finalists did manage to grab three points for the first-innings lead, but they definitely missed some of their star players.
While Ajinkya Rahane (on holiday in Seychelles) and Aditya Tare (expecting a child) were on domestic leave, Shreyas Iyer, Prithvi Shaw and Dhawal Kulkarni were named in the Board President’s XI squad to take on the New Zealanders in two warm-up matches. Shardul Thakur was in Visakhapatnam, playing for India A in against New Zealand A, while two of his counterparts in the pace department – Balwinder Sandhu and Tushar Deshpande – were out with injuries.
Return of Jaffer
Wasim Jaffer, the highest run getter in Ranji history, made a return after a 20-month hiatus. Jaffer didn’t have to do much for Vidarbha against Punjab, with Ganesh Satish and Sanjay Ramaswamy piling up the runs, but the veteran’s comeback is bound to boost the side for rest of the season.
List of debutants
— Ajay Ratra (@ajratra) October 14, 2017
|Punjab||Raghu Sharma, legspinner|
|Chhattisgarh||Shubham Singh, legspinner|
|Kerala||Sijomon Joseph, offspinner|
|Gujarat||Siddharth Desai, left-arm spinner|
|Himachal Pradesh||Ankit Kaushik, legspinner|
|Mumbai||Akash Parkar, right-arm pacer|
|Minad Manjrekar, right-arm pacer|
|Vidarbha||Siddesh Neral, right-arm pacer|
|Delhi||Himmat Singh, middle order batsman|
|Tamil Nadu||R Sai Kishore, left-arm spinner|
|Tripura||Joydeep Bhattacharjee, offspinner|
Social Media Watch
— Gujarat Ranji Team (@GujaratRanji) October 17, 2017
— UPCA (@UPCACricket) October 17, 2017
Yuvraj had a selfie to share with former India teammate Ajay Ratra, who is now coaching Punjab.
— yuvraj singh (@YUVSTRONG12) October 15, 2017
Akshay Wakhare found out that it’s hard not to be star-struck with Yuvraj around, even if the latter is in the opposition that has just been routed by an innings!
— Team Yuvraj Singh (@TeamYuvi12) October 16, 2017
Gautam Gambhir turned 36, but what’s cake-cutting on a birthday without some cake-smearing on the face?
Now I spend more on candles rather than on a birthday cake. Thanks Delhi Ranji Trophy team for making it special for me. pic.twitter.com/VumlIIWSu6
— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) October 14, 2017
Rajyavardhan Rathore, former professional shooter and current minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, met the players ahead of the Rajasthan v Jharkhand match in Jaipur.
At Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur. Today begins the Ranji Trophy match between Rajasthan & Jharkhand. All the best to both the teams! pic.twitter.com/vO9kAEzsMc
— Rajyavardhan Rathore (@Ra_THORe) October 14, 2017
And the picture of the week. Bengal positioned nine fielders in the slips for Ashok Dinda and Mohammed Shami on the final day of their match against Chhattisgarh!
— CABCricket (@CabCricket) October 17, 2017
Highest match aggregate
– in Round 2: 1306 (Himachal Pradesh v Goa in Dharamsala)
– Overall: 1475 (Himachal Pradesh v Punjab in Dharamshala)
Highest innings total:
– in Round 2: Himachal Pradesh – 625 for 7 declared (v Goa)
– Overall: Himachal Pradesh – 729 for 8 declared (v Punjab)
– in Round 2: Ravindra Jadeja (Saurashtra) – 201 runs
– Overall: Prashant Chopra (Himachal Pradesh) – 360 runs in 1 match
Highest individual score:
– in Round 2: 201 (Ravindra Jadeja, for Saurashtra v Jammu and Kashmir)
– Overall: 338 (Prashant Chopra, for Himachal Pradesh v Punjab)
– in Round 2: Ashok Dinda (Bengal) – 10 wickets
– Overall: Jalaj Saxena (Kerala) – 16 wickets in 2 matches
Best bowling figures in an innings:
– in Round 2: 7 for 21 (Ashok Dinda, for Bengal v Chhattisgarh)
– Overall: 7 for 21 (Ashok Dinda, for Bengal v Chhattisgarh)
Best bowling figures in a match:
– in Round 2: 10 for 47 (Ashok Dinda, for Bengal v Chhattisgarh)
– Overall: 11 for 77 (Jalaj Saxena, for Kerala v Jharkhand)
Most dismissals by a wicketkeeper:
– in Round 2: 8 (Srikar Bharat, for Andhra v Baroda)
– Overall: Srikar Bharat (Andhra) – 12 in 2 matches
– in Round 2: 308 (for the third wicket between Hanuma Vihari and Ricky Bhui, for Andhra v Baroda)
– Overall: 308 (Hanuma Vihari and Ricky Bhui, for Andhra v Baroda)
Total debutants this season so far: 31
Total bonus-point wins: 5
Total three-day finishes: 1
Total two-day finishes: 0