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November 1, 2010
On the first morning of the 77th Ranji Trophy, Rajasthan bowled Hyderabad out for 21 in 78 minutes of mayhem in Jaipur, breaking the tournament record for the lowest team total and equalling the Indian first-class record. Debutant Deepak Chahar, Rajasthan's 18-year-old medium-pacer, did the damage with a spell that read 7.3-2-10-8.
The previous Ranji record was set in the first season (1934-35), when Southern Punjab were bowled out for 22 chasing 114 against Northern India in Amritsar.
Chahar - son of an Air Force employee who gave up his job to facilitate his son's cricket career - extracted prodigious swing both ways, an attribute that set Praveen Kumar apart in 2005-06, his debut season. In his third over of the day, Chahar got Akshath Reddy to edge one that swung away late. By now he had the Hyderabad batsmen expecting big outswingers, and that set captain DB Ravi Teja up for a dismissal that made him look silly. Teja saw the ball start wide, was prepared to leave it alone, and had no response to the big inswinger that caught him dead in front.
Anoop Pai followed with a not so remarkable shot, getting an edge even as he looked to leave a ball away from his body. Syed Quadri, though, got a jaffa that started on middle and off, then swung away to take the edge. Chahar completed his five-for when that big inswinger found its way through the high back lift of Hyderabad vice-captain Ibrahim Khaleel. Chahar then went on a celebratory run, having completed a debut five-for even before the first drinks break of the match. There was no letting up either: he removed the last three with inswingers, for a matter of two runs.
"If you haven't played Chahar before, there is a chance you will get fooled by the inswinger," team-mate Aakash Chopra wrote of the debutant. "His stock ball is the one that goes away, and swings appreciably, and the inswinger comes in like a banana.
"That nobody had seen him before helped, as did his ability to swing the ball both ways. I won't say he is rapid, and you don't expect a swing bowler to be rapid. If you had to draw a parallel with somebody, he would be like a Praveen Kumar or a Manoj Prabhakar, who had good control over the swing, and a really good wrist position that got them the swing."
Chahar was on a hat-trick once, removing MP Arjun and Alfred Absolem with the last ball of his seventh over and the first of his eighth. Pagadala Naidu, the No. 11, kept the hat-trick ball out but got out to the next one. He was not close to getting a perfect 10, though: Pankaj Singh claimed the second and fourth Hyderabad wickets.
His figures fell just short of the record effort on debut. Maharashtra's Vasant Ranjane took 9 for 56 on first-class debut in 1956-57, bowling Saurashtra out for 83 in Khadakvasla and setting up an easy innings win.
Not one of Hyderabad's batsmen got to double figures, and Reddy's six was the highest individual score. Incredibly, there were only three ducks, and no extras. The whole innings lasted 15.3 overs.
Hyderabad's effort equalled the record for the lowest total in all first-class cricket in India, a mark that has stayed for 95 seasons. During the Bombay Quadrangular in 1915-16, the Europeans bundled the Muslims out for 21.
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