Ranji Trophy 2022-23, Round six: Aditya Sarwate’s 11-81, Akash Deep’s 10-112 top returns; Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Saurashtra reach Quarter-finals. Top four games from Ranji Trophy 2022-23 round six and quarter-final qualification scenarios.
The 88th season of Ranji Trophy being held in 2022-23 began back on December 13, 2022. A total of 32 teams are divided into four Elite groups and six teams are placed in the Plate group. The sixth and penultimate round of this season too has offered the fans a number of stunning and exciting red ball games.
Amongst the batting performances so far in this season, Delhi’s Dhruv Shorey holds the top place with 806 runs in six games at an average of 100.75 and strike rate of 64.79 including three centuries and couple of half-centuries with a best score of 252*.
In the bowling department, Kerala’s Jalaj Saxena is at the top with 45 wickets in six games at an average of 17.93 and strike rate of 39.4 including five five-wicket hauls and couple of ten-wicket hauls which turned out to be match-winning performances.
Let’s scan the top four games which produced several incredible shows to make a difference in the points table.
Vidarbha vs Gujarat: Aditya Sarwate’s inspiring 11-81 gifted Vidarbha an exceptional victory
Brief Scores: Vidarbha 74 (Raghunath 33, Tejas 5/19) & 254 (Jitesh 69, Taide 44, Desai 6/74) beat Gujarat 256 (Aarya 88, Merai 40, Sarwate 5/64) & 54 (Desai 18, Sarwate 6/17) by 18 runs
Player of the Match: Aditya Sarwate (11-81)
Both Vidarbha and Gujarat were coming into this vital game of the season with different fortunes where the former had a drawn game against Chandigarh in their last game, while Gujarat had lost back-to-back games against Punjab and Madhya Pradesh.
Winning the toss at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium in Nagpur, the home side were bundled out cheaply for just 74 runs on the board, before Gujarat grabbed a healthy lead of 182 runs thanks to the 88-run knock from Aarya Desai. For Vidarbha, the left-arm spinner, Aditya Sarwate finished with 5/64 during the second innings.
The home side then showed some improved batting in the second innings as they put on 254 on the board with Jitesh Sharma leading the charge with a quickfire innings of 69 runs in just 53 balls thanks to four boundaries and five sixes, but a target of just 73 runs was never expected to be enough. That was until Sarwate displayed highly skilled left-arm spin to destroy the 2016-17 season champions, Gujarat for just 54. Vidarbha who now hold the record for the lowest first-class target successfully defended in India, move to the third place with three wins in six games.
Aditya Sarwate, who has shown tremendous skill and patience in bowling with both the new and old ball, has now added 35 scalps in six games at an average of 15.45 and best of 11-81 in this game.
Delhi vs Mumbai: Change in administration swaps Delhi’s fate
Brief Scores: Delhi 369 (Vaibhav Rawal 114, Himmat 85, Tushar 4-111) & 97-2 (Shokeen 36*, Avasthi 1-24) beat Mumbai 293 (Sarfaraz 125, Shaw 40, Pranshu 4-66) & 170 (Rahane 51, Kotian 50*, Mehra 5-30) by 8 wickets
Player of the Match: Vaibhav Rawal (114)
Mumbai came to this game with a huge win over Assam whereas Delhi who are going through one of their worst seasons with no wins in their first five games, hoped for a change of fate at their home ground. Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) President Rohan Jaitley fired the entire selection committee recently to replace it with a new set of members, and the results showed.
On winning the toss at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi, the home side deciding to bowl first, sent Mumbai packing for just 293 with Sarfaraz Khan coming up with another fine 125-run knock. In reply, Delhi batted exceptionally well in their first innings as they posted a huge score of 369 thanks to a century from Vaibhav Rawal and an important contribution of 85 runs from new captain Himmat Singh to take a lead of 76 runs, before rolling Mumbai again for just 170; only Tanush Kotian showed some fight with his unbeaten 50 along with captain Rahane who scored 51 while fast bowler Divij Mehra returned with 5/30.
Delhi quickly chased the 95-run target in just 15.3 overs with Hrithik Shokeen remaining unbeaten on 36* to record their first victory of the season. With the loss, Mumbai slipped to third spot in their group.
Haryana vs Bengal: Anustup’s batting, Akash Deep’s bowling powers Bengal to the top
Brief Scores: Bengal 419 (Anustup 145, Easwaran 57, Harshal 4-80) beat Haryana 163 (Sumit 70*, Akash Deep 5-61) & 206 (f/o) (Yuvraj 78, Bishnoi 55, Akash Deep 5-51) by an innings and 50 runs
Player of the Match: Akash Deep (10-112)
Bengal with three wins in their five prior games, locked horns with Haryana at the Chaudhary Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium in Rohtak. Haryana won the toss and opted to bowl, but unfortunately that decision didn’t pay back well as Bengal smashed a mountain of 419 in the first innings shouldering on the 145-run knock from Anustup Majumdar. Haryana, in reply, didn’t turn up well in their first innings as they folded up for just 163 with Akash Deep returning figures of 5-61.
Bengal enforced the follow on as Haryana openers in the second innings laid a great platform with an opening stand of 129 runs. The Bengal bowlers came back hard to bundle out Haryana for just 209 with Akash Deep again recording an impressive performance with 5-51. He was ably supported by Mukesh Kumar who returned figures of 3-62.
Akash Deep has had a good season with 24 wickets so far in six games at an average of 23.41 and strike rate of 44.5.
The innings victory pushed Bengal in the last eight as they now have 32 points from 6 games and are far ahead of the competition in Elite Group A.
Punjab vs Madhya Pradesh: Poor batting show in both innings hands MP their first defeat in the season
Brief Scores: Punjab 443 (Wadhera 214, Anmolpreet 124, Puneet 3-91) beat Madhya Pradesh 244 (Gawli 53, Dubey 50, Kaul 4-55) & 77 (f/o) (Kartikeya 21*, Arshdeep 4-30) by an innings and 122 runs
Player of the Match: Nehal Wadhera (214)
Defending champions Madhya Pradesh who were undefeated in five games, came face to face with Punjab at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) IS Bindra Stdium in Mohali in the sixth round.
Winning the toss, Madhya Pradesh opted to bowl first but unlike all of their last few games, they were not consistent with the ball which helped Punjab putting up a huge total of 443 on the board thanks to a double century (214) from Nehal Wadhera and a 124-run knock from Anmolpreet Singh.
Madhya Pradesh replied with just 244 with three fifties from Yash Dubey, Shubham Sharma and Harsh Gawli but none could convert them into big scores, as Siddarth Kaul returned with 4-55. With the follow-on getting activated, Madhya Pradesh could put up just 77 on the board with none of their batters crossing 20 except Kumar Kartikeya, who had 21* besides his name. Arshdeep Singh, who came back after his national duties, returned figures of 4-30 as Punjab registered a huge victory by an innings and 122 runs.
Despite the loss, Madhya Pradesh stayed at the top spot and are through to the quarter final, while Punjab sit at the second position.
Ranji Trophy 2022-23 quarter-finals Qualification Scenarios
With the last round of games in the group stage of this Ranji season to start on January 24, only Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka have progressed for the quarter finals.
From Group A, topper Bengal with 32 points thanks to their four wins and two draws in six games have progressed into the quarter finals, whereas the second spot fight will be between Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh who will face Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, respectively, in their next games. In Group B, Saurashtra are through and one of Mumbai or Maharashtra will reach the next stage.
In Group C, Karnataka with 29 points thanks to their three wins and three draws in six games have progressed while the fight for the second spot will be between Jharkhand and Rajasthan.
In Group D, Madhya Pradesh have qualified into the quarter final but the spicy game will be between Punjab and Vidarbha, any one of whom can earn the ticket for the next stage. This is provided Vidarbha beat Punjab by an innings or by 10 wickets and manage to bridge the current quotient deficit of 0.562.