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Ranji Trophy: Hitesh Walunj’s 14-wicket rout headlines bowler-dominated week

article_imageRANJI ROUND-UP
Last updated on 05 Feb 2024 | 11:41 AM
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Ranji Trophy: Hitesh Walunj’s 14-wicket rout headlines bowler-dominated week

A thorough recap of what unfolded in this gameweek of the 2023/24 Ranji Trophy

Notable results

Saurashtra 202 & 164 beat Maharashtra 159 & 164 by 43 runs

Tripura 146 & 343 beat Gujarat 172 & 161 by 156 runs

Services 108 & 140 beat Haryana 103 & 144 by 1 run 

Karnataka 147 & 229/9 beat Railways 155 & 244 by 1 wicket

Tamil Nadu 273 & 142/3 beat Goa 241 & 168 by 7 wickets

Mumbai 412 beat Bengal 199 & 209 by an innings & 4 runs

Click here to view all Ranji Trophy results from this week

Top Performers of the week

Hitesh Walunj - 6/93 & 8/70 vs Saurashtra

The left-arm spinner from Maharashtra, who entered this week’s action with 22 wickets in his first 4 matches, picked an astonishing 14 WICKETS against Saurashtra. He first picked a six-fer in the first innings and then went two better in the second, taking 8/70. The rookie left-arm spinner, who is playing his first ever FC season, accounted for the wicket of Cheteshwar Pujara in both innings. The 30-year-old has now taken 36 wickets this season at 15.30 a piece.

Mohit Avasthi - 3/63 & 7/52 vs Bengal

After a 6-wicket haul against Bihar and a 7-wicket haul against Kerala, Mumbai’s Mohit Avasthi went big again as the 31-year-old pacer took his third 6+ wicket-haul of the season in Mumbai’s thumping victory against Bengal. Avasthi (7/52) ran through the Bengal batting line-up in the third innings to pick up his maiden 10-fer in first-class cricket.

Jyotsnil Singh - 234* vs Delhi

Baroda’s right-handed opener Jyotsnil Singh, who had made a promising start to the season, exploded against Delhi to convert his second FC century into a huge ton, as he finished with 234*. After Delhi were bowled out for 177, Jyotsnil’s double ton helped Baroda take a mammoth first innings lead. It was a remarkable knock, as only one other Baroda batter passed the 50-run mark.

Aryan Juyal 201 & Karan Sharma 208 vs Assam

Aryan Juyal and Karan Sharma form the nucleus of Uttar Pradesh’s batting, and the pair put on a stunning 298-run stand against Assam, in which both of them scored double tons. The game oversaw both Juyal and Karan scoring their maiden first-class double-tons. Wicket-keeper Juyal has now scored 502 runs this season at an average of 71.71. 

Sachin Baby 91 & 94 vs Chhattisgarh

Sachin Baby picked up from where he left against Bihar (109*) as he scored twin 90s to help Kerala take the first-innings lead against Chhattisgarh. The left-hander tragically missed out on a ton in the second innings as he was run out on 94. Baby is now the third-highest run-getter this Ranji season (non-plate), having smashed 539 runs @ 89.83.

Vyshak Vijaykumar - 62 runs and 7/124 vs Railways (match figures)

Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Vyshak Vijaykumar has been having a solid all-round season, and against Railways this week, he produced his best performance of the season yet, taking 7 wickets with the ball while scoring 62 runs with the bat. It was an all-round performance that proved to be goldust as Karnataka eventually scraped over the line by 1 wicket. Vyshak has now taken 23 wickets this season at 24.26 a piece. He’s also scored 161 runs at an average of 20.12. 

Aryan Bora 8/36 vs Sikkim

Against Sikkim, left-arm spinner Aryan Bora registered the best bowling figures of the season (8/36) to help Meghalaya beat Sikkim by 6 wickets. Aryan, who had just picked 5 wickets in his first 3 matches, took 12 wickets in the match, saving the best for the second innings in which he ran through Sikkim single-handedly.

Other notable performances

Rahul Singh Gahlaut - 108 vs Mizoram

Manish Pandey 67* vs Railways (4th innings, Karnataka won by 1 wicket)

Anmolpreet Singh 205* & Prabhsimran Singh 171* vs Chandigarh

Parvez Sultan 10/116 (match figures)  vs Gujarat 

Anukul Roy 119* off 87 vs Manipur

Rajat Paliwal 86 (in team score of 140) vs Haryana (Services won by 1 run)

Parth Bhut 7/44 vs Maharashtra

Karun Nair 112 vs Rajasthan 

Youngsters who shone

> Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Nitish Reddy, who is a pace-bowling all-rounder, smashed 159 and registered match figures of 3/60 for Andhra against Bihar. This is the promising 20-year-old’s first ever FC ton. He also now has picked up 43 wickets @ 24.88 a piece with the ball, in his FC career.

> Sai Kishore made it 23 wickets in his last 3 matches as he picked 4/73 & 4/82 vs Goa to help Tamil Nadu register yet another victory. Sai Kishore is now the fourth-highest wicket-taker this season, with 27 wickets @ 18.85 a piece.

> Suyash Prabhudessai racked up 104 & 79 vs Tamil Nadu to become the second-highest run-getter of the ongoing season. He now has 592 runs this season at 74.00 a piece, and he’s smashed 3 hundreds. 

> 21-year-old Manav Suthar, who has had a somewhat tough start to this season, picked his first 5-fer of the season (5/131) against Vidarbha. He also posted 46 with the bat in Rajasthan’s only innings.

How did the Indian internationals fare?

> Prithvi Shaw returned to action for the first time since August 2023 and scored a quickfire 35 vs Bengal. Shaw, who is returning after a long injury lay-off, looked discernibly rusty.

> Pujara endured his first failure of the season and it turned out to be a twin failure. He registered scores of 3 & 0 against Maharashtra, both times getting dismissed by the left-arm spin of Walunj.

> Sanju Samson, in his fourth appearance of this Ranji season, posted 57 & 24 vs Chhattisgarh. Samson is still searching for a century this season.

> Shivam Dube continued his good run as he made yet another notable contribution, scoring 72 vs Bengal while also picking up 2 wickets. In FC cricket now, Dube averages 48 with the bat and 21.46 with the ball.

> An injured Ajinkya Rahane did not play against Bengal.

> Wriddhiman Saha’s unbeaten 59* was pivotal to Tripura staying in the contest against Gujarat. Tripura eventually went on to thrash Gujarat by 156 runs.

Disappointments of the week

> Hanuma Vihari posted a much-needed 183 last week against Chhattisgarh, but he couldn’t back it up this week, as he got dismissed for 12 against Bihar.

> Umesh Yadav, whose name has been doing the rounds on social media thanks to his impeccable record in India, had a game to forget vs Rajasthan, finishing with 1/105, almost going at 4.00 runs per over.

> Priyank Panchal had yet another disappointing week, scoring 22 & 1 vs Tripura. This season, Panchal has now batted 9 times and scored 104 runs at an average of 11.55, with no 50-plus scores.

What made the news this week

It was a comparatively quiet week in the Ranji Trophy, unlike last week, with the biggest news being the return of Prithvi Shaw. However, this gameweek did see some incredibly close finishes. Remarkably, two separate games were decided by a 1-run margin, while there was another encounter (SAU vs MAH) which saw the winning team win by 43 runs. Results-wise, we had a pretty enthralling week.

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