Punjab quickly in command against Rajasthan
Hostile bowling by Reetinder Singh Sodhi (5 for 40) and debutant Vineet Kumar (4 for 25) helped Punjab to rout Rajasthan for 111 on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy pre-quarterfinal at the PCA stadium in Mohali on Saturday. The batsmen followed the good work and at close, Punjab were 175 for three.
Rajasthan captain Gagan Khoda won the toss and opted to bat on a wicket which looked green. Vineet Kumar had a fine start to his career. He removed Nikhil Doru (3) with the total at 4 in his first over. The other opener Vineet Saxena (1) was out in his second over as he was brillantly caught behind by Punjab skipper and wicketkeeper Vikram Rathour. Sodhi who replaced Gagandep Singh bowled his heart out and soon Rajasthan were five down for 31. At lunch Rajasthan were reeling at 75 for six.
Rohit Jalani in the company with Devander Pal showed some fight and the two added 31 runs in 36 balls for the eighth wicket. Sodhi bowled with a lot of fire and made short work of the tail. Rathour was quite comfortable in his role of wicketkeeper and took three catches.
Punjab opened with Rathour (39) and Ravneet Ricky (40). They gave a flying start and put on 73 runs off 18.4 overs. Rathour was in an attacking mood and hammered eight fours in his knock which came up off just 48 balls before he was leg before to Yadav.
Ravneet Ricky, in trying to pull a short delivery from Sanjeev Sharma, scooped an easy catch to wicketkeeper Jhalani. Yuvraj Singh (18) and Pankaj Dharmani were looking in good nick but the former snicked an outgoing delivery from Sanjeev Sharma and was held at second slip. He was third out at 113.
Dinesh Mongia came in and he and Dharmani kept the scoreboard ticking. Dharmani completed his half century in style as he drove Mohd Aslam to the cover boundary. At draw of stumps, Dharmani was batting on 53 (86 balls, 8x4), while Mongia was batting on 23 (30 balls, 5x4). The home team were sitting pretty with a lead of 64 runs and seven wickets in hand.