Assam capitalise on sound start
Assam, riding on the good start given by their first three batsmen in the order, exceeded expectations by scoring 321 runs off only 77.2 overs on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy pre-quarterfinal against Karnataka at the Nehru stadium in Guwahati on Saturday.
Openers Parag Das (95) and Subhrajit Saikia (49) gave the hosts a solid foundation by putting on 94 runs off 14.3 overs. Saikia was in an aggressive mood and faced just 46 balls while hitting eleven of them to the fence. Skipper Zakaria Zuffri (62) and Das then carried on the good work by adding 75 runs for the second wicket off 14.5 overs. Das seemed to be proceeding serenely to the three figure mark when he was caught by Mansur Ali Khan off Dodda Ganesh. Das who too went for the bowling, faced only 81 balls and hit 17 fours and two sixes.
Ganesh and Anand Yalvigi then brought about a middle order collapse and Assam slid to 204 for six. Zuffri however stood firm and he found an able partner in Vinayak Samant with whom he raised the score by 51 runs during a seventh wicket association that lasted eleven overs. Zuffri was finally bowled by Yalvigi for 62. He faced 144 balls and hit ten of them to the ropes. With the help of Sunil Subramaniam (11) and Gautam Dutta (17), Samant took the score past the 300 run mark before he was the last man out, run out for 55. Samant and Sunil added 37 valuable runs for the ninth wicket off 11.4 overs.
For Karnataka, Ganesh was the most successful bowler with four for 93 off 23 overs. Yalvigi finished with three for 92 while skipper Sunil Joshi took two for 62.
In six overs batting till stumps Karnataka openers Arun Kumar and Mithun Beerala came through unscathed with the score 18 without loss.