On a pitch which looked like a batting paradise, Punjab skipper Mandeep Singh won the toss and opted to bat. Mandeep (81) led from the front for his team after a controversial first hour when Shubman Gill refused to walk off after being adjudged out.
Punjab were cruising at one stage with 172 for 3 before going off-track and could only manage to score 266 for 8 at the end of the day’s play.
Punjab lost their opener Sanvir Singh (0) in the second over. Next in, Gurkeerat Singh Mann started playing a counter-attacking game and added a quick 59-run with Shubman (23), before the latter edged one off Simarjeet Singh to Anuj Rawat with the team’s score on 60. It didn’t deter Gurkeerat at the other end as he came up with his 20th first-class fifty in just 38 balls. Mann was caught by Vikas Mishra off his own bowling after a well-made 65.
Anmolpreet Singh (45) joined his skipper and the duo put on 56 runs for the third wicket before Anmolpreet was trapped in front by Kanwar Bidhuri. Thereafter, Punjab’s batting collapsed as Sharad Lumba (4), Anmol Malhotra (17) and Mayank Markande (9) lost their wickets in quick successions.
Mandeep, on the other hand, kept the scoreboard ticking but with seven wickets down he tried to accelerate the Punjab innings and in the process threw away his wicket. He was caught by substitute Vaibhav Kandpal at the deep cover region off Kanwar Bidhuri’s bowling. Mandeep struck 10 boundaries in his 181-ball knock.
With 466 runs in four innings, Mandeep is the second highest run-getter in the ongoing Ranji Trophy season behind Rahul Dalal (607 runs) of Arunachal Pradesh.
For Delhi, Kanwar Bidhuri (3/62), Tejas Baroka (2/34), Simarjeet Singh (1/64), Subodh Bhati (1/49) and Vikas Mishra (1/52) shared the spoils.
Delhi’s coach Bhaskar Pillai was elated with the performance of his team and said, “The way our boys fought back was quite amazing. This is a very young team and it was quite an encouraging sign to see such performance on the field.”
Pillai further added, “Our team was anyway looking to bowl first, so losing the toss was a blessing in disguise for us. Hopefully, we will be able to wrap up their innings early on Saturday and then will try to put a big total on the board.”
Whereas on the other hand, Punjab’s coach Munish Bali felt that the match is in balance. “I think we lost two extra wickets, but our tailenders can bat and hopefully, we will be able to reach the 300-run mark,” said Bali.
Punjab 1st innings: Sanvir Singh lbw Subodh Bhati 0, Shubman Gill c Anuj Rawat b Simarjeet Singh 23, Gurkeerat Mann c&b Vikas Mishra 65, Mandeep Singh c Vaibhav Kandpal (sub) b Kunwar Bidhuri 81, Anmolpreet Singh lbw Kunwar Bidhuri 45, Sharad Lumba c&b Tejas Baroka 4, Anmol Malhotra c Dhruv Shorey b Tejas Baroka 17, Mayank Markande b Kunwar Bidhuri 9, Akul Pandove not out 12, Arshdeep Singh not out 3
Extras:7 (nb 2,b 4, lb 1)
Total: 266 for 8 wickets in 82 overs
Bowling: Simarjeet Singh 15-4-64-1, Subodh Bhati 15-2-49-1, Kunwar Bidhuri 13-1-62-3, Vikas Mishra 29-6-52-1, Tejas Baroka 10-1-34-2
FOW: 1-1 (Sanvir Singh, 1.5 ov), 2-60 (Shubman Gill, 13.1 ov), 3-108 (Gurkeerat Mann, 20.2 ov), 4-172 (Anmolpreet Singh, 41.6 ov), 5-188 (Sharad Lumba, 51.6 ov), 6-223 (Anmol Malhotra, 63.3 ov), 7-250 (Mayank Markande, 74.5 ov), 8-255 (Mandeep Singh, 76.4 ov)