Ranji Trophy: Ishan Porel and colleagues swing it Bengal’s way
Bengal pacers were in full swing on the opening day of this season’s Ranji Trophy as they shared nine wickets between them to restrict Baroda to 181 in the Elite Group B match in Cuttack on Thursday. Ishan Porel was the pick of the lot, grabbing 4/40 at the Barabati Stadium. He was well supported by Mukesh Kumar and Akash Deep, who claimed three and two wickets respectively.
At stumps, Bengal were 24/1, losing the wicket of captain Abhimanyu Easwaran. Opener Sudip Gharami (11 batting) and the much-experienced Sudip Chatterjee (9 batting) were at the crease.
While the pitch assisted the seamers for most of the day, it became slower as the game progressed. “The wicket was helping the seamers (initially)… But afterwards it became slow, low and flat,” Porel observed after the day’s play.
The onus therefore will be on the Bengal batsman to put up a good first innings score, a first innings lead being the minimum requirement, to begin their Ranji campaign on the right note.
Baroda, after being asked to bat, got off to a decent start, though captain Kedar Devdhar got an early reprieve when a no-ball saved him after being caught off Akash Deep’s bowling. Devdhar and Jyotsnil Singh put on 41 for the opening wicket.
But Porel removed Devdhar in the 15th over to trigger a collapse. In the same over, Porel trapped Pratyush Kumar lbw for a duck.
Soon Baroda found themselves struggling at 64/5. Their total would have been much lesser had not Mitesh Patel and Bhargav Bhatt shared a 55-run partnership for the ninth wicket. Mitesh was the top-scorer for his team, compiling 66 off 104 balls. Bhatt remained not out on 30 off 47 balls.
Summing up the first day’s play, Porel, who will be representing Punjab Kings in the upcoming IPL, said Bengal went all out to get early wickets. “The plan was to get as many wickets in the first two-and-a-half hours… We have bowled well as a unit.
“Mukesh, Akash bowled well. When we got a breakthrough, wickets came in a cluster. For me, the first wicket of Devdhar was very crucial as earlier he was caught off a no-ball. Overall, it was a good day at the office,” the 23-year-old pacer said.
He also perhaps spoke on behalf of all domestic circuit players when he said: “Ranji Trophy resumed after two years... It feels good to be back in red-ball cricket.”
Brief scores: Baroda 181 (Mitesh Patel 66; Ishan Porel 4/40, Mukesh Kumar 3/33, Akash Deep 2/63). Bengal 24/1