Vikas Mishra, the left-arm spinner, struck crucial blows to give Delhi the early advantage in their Ranji Trophy quarterfinal against Madhya Pradesh in Vijayawada on Thursday (December 7).
Put in to bat by Rishabh Pant at the Gokaraju Gangaraju ACA cricket ground, Madhya Pradesh never recovered from losing Rajat Patidar to Navdeep Saini in the sixth over of the game. It wasn’t, however, the quicker bowlers that did the damage from thereon. Mishra and Manan Sharma, his fellow left-arm spinner, took four wickets between them as Madhya Pradesh went to stumps on day one at 223 for 6. Mishra finished the day with 3 for 40 from 24 tidy overs, while Manan’s returns were 1 for 34.
Holding fort for the Group C table-toppers was Harpreet Singh, who was on 47 at close of play. Keeping him company was Puneet Datey (8).
Madhya Pradesh staged a brief recovery after Patidar’s dismissal as Ankit Dane, the other opener, and Shubham Sharma stitched together 59 for the second wicket. Mishra ended the resistance by having Shubham caught for 17, then got rid of Dane for 59, made off 97 deliveries, with what turned out to the last ball of the first session.
Upon resumption, Naman Ojha and Devendra Bundela, the old hands, attempted another rescue act during a stand also worth 59, this time for the fourth wicket. Bundela, the captain, was remarkably subdued, taking 82 deliveries for 17, while Ojha had bouts of enterprise during his 107-ball 49 that was stopped by Vikas Tokas, the paceman.
When Mishra got rid of Ankit Sharma in the final hour, Madhya Pradesh found themselves in a deep hole at 193 for 6. However, Harpreet and Datey steered the team through to the close without further damage. Delhi will be happy that their designs of sticking the opposition in bore dividends, but they will also be slightly wary of the fact that it was the spinners that did the damage on day one.