Ranji Trophy 2022-23, Round-Up: Jalaj Saxena’s 11-wicket haul, Prithvi Shaw’s 379 among top returns in 5th round games. Top five games from round 5.
The 88th season of the Ranji Trophy being held in 2022-23 began back on December 13, 2022 between 32 teams, divided into four Elite groups and six teams placed in the Plate group. The premier domestic cricket competition of India has offered fans of red ball cricket a number of stunning and exciting games.
In case of the batting performances so far in this season, Delhi’s Dhruv Shorey is currently the highest run-scorer with 787 runs in just five games at an average of 112.42 and strike rate of 64.66 with three centuries and couple of fifties, including his best score of 252* against Assam.
In the bowling department, Kerala’s Jalaj Saxena tops the chart with 43 wickets in five games at an average of 15.86 and a strike rate of 36.3, with five five-wicket hauls including his best figures of 11-102 against Services.
Let’s scan the top five games which produced several incredible shows from both the batters and bowlers.
Madhya Pradesh vs Gujarat: Shubham Sharma’s heroics extends MP’s unbeaten run
Brief Scores: Madhya Pradesh 312 (Mantri 159, Shubham 72, Gaja 6/49) & 280/6 dec (Shubham 101*, Desai 4/80) beat Gujarat 211 (Panchal 71*, Kartikeya 2/39) & 121 (Gaja 32, Saransh 4/64) by 260 runs
Player of the Match: Shubham Sharma (72 & 101*)
Defending champions Madhya Pradesh who have started this new season from where they ended in the last one, winning all of their first four games, are the embodiment of the formula of ‘playing as a team’.
Winning the toss in their fifth game of the season against Gujarat at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore, the home side put up a huge score of 312 in their first innings shouldering on a masterclass knock of 159 from wicketkeeper batter Himanshu Mantri and Shubham Sharma (72 off 147 balls). Chintan Gaja returned figures of 6/49.
In reply, Gujarat put up a poor show with the bat getting bundled out for just 211. Leaving aside Manan Hingrajia (66 in 184 balls) and Priyank Panchal (71* in 120 balls), no one was able to stand up to the Madhya Pradesh bowling line-up. With a lead of 101 runs, the home side batted with a quicker rate during the second innings as they declared on 280/6 thanks to an aggressive knock of unbeaten 101 runs from Shubham Sharma.
Gujarat could manage only 121 in their second innings as they handed a heavy 260-run victory to Madhya Pradesh who cemented their place at the top of the table in Elite Group D with 32 points in five games, while Gujarat slipped to number four with two wins (14 points) in five games.
Mumbai vs Assam: Prithvi Shaw’s 379-run knock destroyed Assam
Brief Scores: Mumbai 687/4 dec (Shaw 379, Rahane 191, Parag 2/167) beat Assam 370 (Hazarika 79, Rishav 75, Mulani 4/111) & 189 (f/o) (Gokul 82, Thakur 3/54) by an innings and 128 runs
Player of the Match: Prithvi Shaw (379 runs in 383 balls)
One of the richest domestic participants in the Ranji Trophy in terms of trophies, Mumbai who lost to Madhya Pradesh in the final of the last season, have had a decent season this year with two victories and one defeat and one drawn game before their fifth round game against Assam.
Winning the toss against Mumbai at Amingaon Cricket Ground in Guwahati, Assam made a mistake of opting to field first as the opponent opener Prithvi Shaw smashed a record 379-run knock in 383 balls, which is now the second-highest individual score in Ranji Trophy history after 443* from Bhausaheb Nimbalkar for Maharashtra. With the contribution from captain, Ajinkya Rahane (191 runs in 302 balls), Mumbai declared on 687/4.
In reply, Assam showed some fight posting 370 on the board in the first innings with three knocks in the 70s from Rahul Hazarika (79), Rishav Das (75) and captain Gokul Sharma (70). But that wasn’t enough for them to avoid the follow-on; but they were poor in their second innings as only Gokul stood out with his 82 before Assam were bundled out on 189, gifting Mumbai a victory by an innings and 128 runs. Mumbai have now moved to the second spot in Elite Group B, with three victories in five games.
Punjab vs Jammu Kashmir: Baltej Singh’s 10/92 delivers Punjab an important victory
Brief Scores: Punjab 268 (Mandeep 69, Sharma 3/63) & 210/6 (Abhishek 83, Mushtaq 4/56) beat Jammu & Kashmir 212 (Samad 46, Baltej 5/47) & 260 (Ajaz 89, Baltej 5/45) by 4 wickets
Player of the Match: Baltej Singh (5/47 and 5/45)
Prior to this fixture, Punjab were going through a tough season with three drawn games after which they won their first game of the season against Tripura, while Jammu Kashmir had three defeats besides winning a close game against Vidarbha.
Winning the toss against Punjab at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali, Jammu & Kashmir opted to bat first before being dismissed for just 212 in couple of sessions. There were so many starts from the batters but no one could go on to make a huge score. Punjab’s Baltej Singh returned figures of 5/45.
In reply, Punjab too could manage only 268 runs with captain Mandeep Singh rising to the occasion with his 69-run knock to grab a 56-run lead at the end of their first innings. J&K in their second innings showing some fight but could reach only 260 thanks to 89-run knock from Musaif Ajaz. The chase was full of entertainment as opener Abhishek Sharma’s 83 in just 47 balls with the help of nine boundaries and four maximums helped Punjab chase the target in just 24.5 overs.
Punjab moved up to number two position in Elite Group D, with two wins and three draws in five games, while J&K remained on the seventh position.
Kerala vs Services: Saxena’s 11/102 presents Kerala a hard-fought victory:
Brief Scores: Kerala 327 (Baby 159, Sijomon 55, Poonia 2/40) & 242/7 dec (Baby 93, Pathania 2/13) beat Services 229 (Chauhan 50, Sijomon 3/15) & 136 (Sufiyan 52, Saxena 8/36) by 204 runs
Player of the Match: Sachin Baby (159 & 93)
Prior to this fixture, Kerala were excellent in the first three games with two victories and one drawn game before they faced defeat against Goa. Services, on the other hand, had just one victory against Puducherry besides two loses and one drawn result.
Winning the toss at the St Xavier’s College Ground, Thumba, Thiruvananthapuram, and deciding to bat first after winning the toss, Kerala posted 327 runs shouldering on a gritty knock from Sachin Baby who recorded 159 runs in 308 balls. In reply, Services could reach only 229 with so many starts from the batters but no big contribution, as Kerala picked up a vital 98-run lead.
The home side then scored at a higher rate as they declared on 242/7 with Baby (93 runs in 109 balls) missing out on a golden chance to score back-to-back centuries in the same game. Services were never in the chase as veteran Jalaj Saxena, with his figures of 8/36 in 15.4 overs, handed Kerala a huge 204-run victory. It’s such a beautiful story of how the 36-year-old Saxena, who has picked up 403 first class wickets in 131 games so far and is yet to play for the national side, is putting his hard work season after season.
With the victory, Kerala jumped up to the number two spot in Elite Group C with three wins in five games, while Services stayed on number seven.
Bengal vs Baroda: Expressive Mukesh Kumar lifts Bengal to the top spot
Brief Scores: Bengal 191 (Majumdar 90, Sahejadkhan 5/48) & 179/3 (Sudip 76*, Manoj 60*, Sopariya 2/38) beat Baroda 269 (Jyotsnil 85, Moliya 50, Akash Deep 4/71) & 98 (Pratyush 62*, Mukesh 4/43) by 7 wickets
Player of the Match: Anustup Majumdar (90)
Bengal have had a decent season with two big margin victories and couple of drawn games, while Baroda have just one victory besides their name and three drawn games.
Winning the toss, Baroda opted to bat first at the Bengal Cricket Academy Ground in Kalyani. They could put on 269 runs in the first innings with fifties from Priyanshu Moliya and Jyotsnil Singh (85 runs in 217 balls) as Akash Deep (4/71) and Mukesh Kumar (3/56) broke the opponent’s back.
In reply, Bengal didn’t have a great exhibition of batting in the first innings being bundled out for just 191 with lone fight from Anustup Majumdar (90 runs in 171 balls). Baroda even with a lead of 78 runs failed miserably in the second innings registering just 98 on the board as Mukesh Kumar (4/43 and Ishan Porel (3/22) ran through the opponent’s line-up.
Even though Bengal struggled early in the chase, the unbeaten 126-run stand for the fourth wicket between Sudip Kumar Gharami (76*) and Manoj Tiwary (60*) took the home side over the line as they claimed the top position.
The sixth round of the Ranji Trophy 2022-23 will begin from January 17. With just two games left before the quarter finals, all the teams will now look for their best performances in the rest of the tournament.