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March 10, 2001
Backed by unbeaten fifties from Harvinder Sodhi and Devendra Bundela, Madhya Pradesh moved serenely to 216/2 on the first day of their Ranji Trophy pre-quarterfinal against Hyderabad at the Daly College Ground in Indore on Saturday.
Hyderabad's bowlers toiled long and hard ever since Madhya Pradesh skipper Chandrakant Pandit won the toss and elected to take first strike. Their first breakthrough came only in the 31st over of the day after Sodhi and 17-year-old Naman Ojha had added 69 for the first wicket. But Sodhi had a slice of luck when he was just two, Daniel Manohar dropping a chance at first slip off NP Singh.
Having taken just six wickets in three games in the zonal league, Kanwaljit Singh is having an unusually barren season. The off spinner, celebrating his 43rd birthday next month, finally bowled Ojha for 41. Amay Khurasiya strode out at No.3 and in his typically brisk style rattled off 30 in 42 balls. A moment of indiscretion against off spinner Shivaji Yadav cost Khurasiya his wicket, stumped by wicket keeper M Srinivas.
Sodhi (72) and Bundela (52) leisurely proceeded to add an unbroken 110 for the third wicket in 48.1 overs. Kanwaljit shouldered the burden of expectation in the absence of his spinning mate Venkatapathy Raju, finishing with figures of 1/27 from 20 overs. Madhya Pradesh still have plenty of batting to come in Jai Prakash Yadav, who opened the innings in the zonal league, Abbas Ali, Pandit and wicket keeper Ankit Sriwastava who struck a double century against Vidarbha earlier in the season. The immediate future appears to hold out grim tidings for last year's runner-up.
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