2017-18 Ranji Trophy: 5 best performers from the first round
The first round of the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy came to an end earlier today with few matches producing a thrilling finish. Saurashtra were the only team to have won with a bonus point while Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Railways registered an outright win.
One of the pre-tournament favourites Tamil Nadu survived a big scare at the hands of Andhra Pradesh in spite of having Indian internationals R Ashwin, Murali Vijay and Abhinav Mukund in their team as the opposition fell short by 20 runs and the match ended in a draw.
There were a lot of fine performances that took place in the first round. Let us take a look at the five best performers of this round.
#5 Abhishek Gupta
After conceding 729 runs in the first innings against Himachal Pradesh, the Punjab openers started strongly as they put on a 105-run partnership in 25 overs before Pargat Singh was dismissed for 64. Uday Kaul departed soon after and skipper Jiwanjot Singh and debutant Anmolpreet Singh pulled things back by scoring their individual fifties.
But, the visitors lost both these men, Gurkeerat Mann and Mayank Siddana at regular intervals as GK Singh's spell reduced them to 274/5 with a follow-on looming large. It was then when two debutants, Abhishek Gupta and Abhishek Sharma joined hands at the crease.
While India's under-19 all-rounder Abhishek Sharma was patient throughout his innings, Abhishek Gupta played a counter-attacking innings and reached his century off just 90 balls. Soon after reaching his century, Gupta lost Sharma, who was dismissed for 94 and with that, their 239-run partnership for the seventh wicket came to an end.
Gupta didn't stop there as he made sure that his team negated the follow-on and reached his double century on debut at run a ball and departed three balls later for 202. Though he did not help his team take a first-innings lead, his innings of 202 off 203 balls that included 25 fours and five sixes, made sure that Punjab didn't succumb in the first innings.