Ranji Trophy 2018/19: Semi-Finals- Vidarbha, Saurashtra dominate on opening day
The first day of semi-finals of the Ranji Trophy 2018/19 season was an exciting affair. The first semi-finals between defending champions Vidarbha and Kerala saw Vidarbha in a decent position thanks to Umesh Yadav. His 7 for 48 helped them to bowl out Kerala for just 106 runs. In reply, Vidarbha captain Faiz Fazal played a captain's knock scoring 75 runs.
Kerala's bowlers made a comeback at the end of day’s play picking three quick wickets. Vidarbha ended day 1 on 171 for the loss of 5 wickets with a lead of 65 runs.
The second semi-final between Karnataka and Saurashtra saw some exciting action. Karnataka captain Manish Pandey won the toss and decided to bat first. Saurashtra captain Jaydev Unadkat bowled a brilliant new ball spell putting Karnataka under pressure at 30 for 4.
Manish Pandey and Shreyas Gopal steadied the innings with a 106 run stand for the 5th wicket. Srinivas Sharath and Gopal put on 96 runs for the 6th wicket.
Saurashtra took 4 wickets in the last session as Karnataka ended the first day at 264 for 9.
Vidarbha versus Kerala (Krishnagiri Stadium, Wayanad)
Vidarbha captain Fazal won the toss and decided to bowl first. Umesh Yadav was simply sensational with the ball picking 7 wickets for 48 runs. Rajneesh Gurbani picked 3 wickets. For Kerala, Vishnu Vinod was the top scorer with 37 not out. The defending champions Vidarbha bowled out Kerala for just 106 runs.
After the lunch break, Sanjay Ramaswamy and Fazal began well adding 33 runs for the opening wicket. Nidheesh got the wicket of Ramaswamy for 19 runs. Wasim Jaffer and Fazal continued to play well and went into tea break at 94 for 1.
Jaffer was dismissed by Nidheesh for 34 runs. Jaffer and Fazal had added 80 runs for the second wicket. Before the end of day’s play, Kerala struck twice dismissing Fazal for 75, night watchmen Gurbani and Taide. Vidarbha ended the first day on 171 for 5.
Vidarbha 171 for 5 in 45 overs ( Faiz Fazal 75, Wasim Jaffer 34, Sandeep Warrier 2/46, MD Nidheesh 2/53) lead Kerala 106 in 28.4 overs ( Vishnu Vinod 37*, Sachin Baby 22, Umesh Yadav 7/48, Rajneesh Gurbani 3/38) by 65 runs.
Karnataka versus Saurashtra (M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore)
In the second semi-finals played at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore, Karnataka captain Manish Pandey won the toss and decided to bat first. It was a disastrous start for Karnataka as Saurashtra captain Jaydev Unadkat dismissed Ravi Samarth, KV Siddharth, Mayank Agarwal. Karun Nair was also dismissed cheaply for 9 runs.
Karnataka was reduced to 30 for 4. Manish Pandey came to the crease and played a counter-attacking knock putting pressure on Saurashtra bowlers. Pandey reached his fifty off just 48 balls. Karnataka went into lunch at 128 for 4.
After the lunch break, Unadkat struck again dismissing Pandey for 62. Pandey and Gopal had added 106 runs for the 5th wicket. Gopal reached his fifty off 95 balls. BS Sharath played with positive intent and put pressure on Saurashtra bowlers. Karnataka went into the tea break at 200 for 5.
After the tea break, Sharath reached his fifty off 110 balls. Gopal was dismissed by Makvana for 87 runs ending 96 runs stand for the 6th wicket. K Gowtham, Vinay Kumar and Mithun played bad shots to get dismissed. Karnataka ended the first day on 264 for 9.
Karnataka 264 for 9 in 90 overs ( Shreyas Gopal 87, BS Sharath 74*, Unadkat 4/50, Makvana 3/73)