Ranji Trophy – 2019-20 : Pondicherry Vs Nagaland (SLIMS Cricket Ground)
Puducherry, 12-15 Feb’20:
Paras Dogra leads with big century, accompanied by K.B.Arun Karthick, Sagar Udeshi, Fabid Ahmed & Vinay Kumar wielding the willow
Though Pondicherry is comparatively a new born state team, eerie atmosphere engulfed the dressing room as the chance of elevation has slipped for the second consecutive Ranji season in it’s pursuit since recognition as a member-state in less than two years’ time.
In the last match of Ranji 2019-20 group matches, Nagaland won the toss and chose to bat and started disastrously, losing wickets to stare at 36 for 4. Little respite was there with the fifth wicket partnership of 70 runs between Stuart Binny (59) and Y.V.Takawale (26) when it was broken to read 106 for 5. From there, except no.9 batsman Imliwati, who scored a valuable 39, there was no resistance and Nagaland was all out for 176. Pondicherry bowlers Sagar Udeshi (3 for 44) and Sagar Trivedi (3 for 48) shared the bowling honour along with Santhamoorthy, who took 2 for 51.
With a moderate first innings score of 176 by Nagaland, Pondicherry started well to take the opening partnership to 62 for 1 when opener S.Karthik was out for 41. But, he was immediately followed by his partner Ragu (17) to create a jerk in the dressing room as the entertaining tail-ender Sagar Udeshi guarded the proceedings without any further loss at stumps on day one.
Experienced KB and entertainer Sagar Udeshi
When play resumed on day two, it was just another day of entertainment for Sagar Udeshi; this time, for a change, with the bat as he went on from strength to strength to take the score to 215 for 3 when he was out for a well-made 79 off 108 deliveries. Following Rohit (18), K.B.Arun Karthick, who missed a century narrowly by two runs, was out for 98 off 144 deliveries, when the score was 298 for 5, left the stage open to ever dependable Paras Dogra.
Paras Dogra, the guide and prolific scorer
Coming in at no.6, veteran batsman Paras Dogra once again showed the way to become a big scorer and to set a tough target to the opponent. Paras Dogra went on rotating the strike in the company of Fabid Ahmed, who scored a valuable 70 off 100 deliveries, the sixth wicket partnership added 152 runs in quick time to take to the score to 450 for 6 when the latter was out. After a short stay of Sagar Trivedi, who scored 25 off 22 balls in the company of Paras Dogra, another veteran Vinay Kumar joined the smooth sailing Paras Dogra, who was in pursuit of his tenth double ton in Ranji and took the score to 606 for 8, when he was out for 175 off 220 deliveries, compiled with 19 boundaries and two sixes, and a partnership of 119 runs for the eighth wicket, which took Pondicherry to declare at 625 for 8, with a lead of 449 runs. For Nagaland, S.S.Mundhe took 3 for 86 while Imliwati and Tahmeed took two wickets each.
Pondicherry lad Santhamoorthy launches attack
It is not easy for any team, leave alone whether it has strong batting line with tough potential or not, after conceding an indomitable first innings lead of 449 runs, to have a comfortable start as the lead starts boomeranging the top order batsmen, which was evident when the Nagaland opener Ianakato was dismissed by Sagar Trivedi for 4 and Pondicherry lad Santhamoorthy dismissed the other opener Sedezhalie for 18 and followed it with yet another wicket when he dismissed the no.3 batsman S.S.Mundhe for 25 to open the gate for the rest of the bowlers to attack. After the fall of Takawale for 23 and Stuart Binny for 43, only one batsman to stand tall was Nagaland skipper Jonathan, who scored a valuable 93 off 86 balls when he was dismissed by Pondicherry skipper Rohit, the seventh wicket partnership was broken when the score was 219 for 7 and from there the end came soon as Santhamoorthy made further inroads to return with figures of 5 for 79 and Nagaland was all out for 254 as Pondicherry won by an innings and 195 runs and to reach the second spot of the table with 48 points to sign off the group matches.
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