Ranji Trophy: Naman Ojha, Aditya Shrivastava Help Madhya Pradesh Against Bengal
Naman Ojha and Aditya Shrivastava shared a 102-run stand for the third wicket to revive Madhya Pradesh's innings in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal clash against Bengal. In another match, Harbhajan Singh-led Punjab restricted Assam to 233/8 on Day 1
Madhya Pradesh recovered from the loss of two cheap wickets to advance to 254 for 4 at stumps on the first day of their five-day Ranji Trophy quarterfinal against Bengal at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai. (Read More in Cricket)
Half centuries from opener Aditya Shrivastava (65), Naman Ojha (64) and no. 6 Harpreet Singh Bhatia (51 not out) and an unconquered 42 not out from experienced campaigner and skipper Devendra Bundela pulled the MP innings around from 39 for 2.
A century partnership of 102 for the third wicket between Shrivastava and Ojha steadied the innings and then an unbeaten stand of 92 between Bundela and Bhatia consolidated Madhya Pradesh's position after they were asked to bat first by Bengal skipper Manoj Tiwary on a track with a tinge of green on it.
Adhya Pradesh lost in-form prolific opener Jalaj Saxena in the fourth over and then lost Rajat Patidar in the 21st over before recovering through the century partnership between Shrivastava and Naman Ojha.
Saxena, who came into the quarter finals after scoring 530 runs in the league stage of the competition, was caught at point cutting the first ball of Veerpratap Singh's second over.
Then Shrivastava and Patidar exercised caution in lively conditions to crawl their way to 39 in the 21st over when the one-down batsman chopped Bengal's first change seam bowler Sayan Mondal on to his stumps after making 17 off 56 balls.
This brought together wicketkeeper Naman Ojha and Shrivastava who went about repairing the innings, starting cautiously before lunch, which was taken at 83 for 2 in 33 overs, and then opening up in the second session with some fluent shots on either side of the wicket.
Their partnership of 102 for the third wicket in 164 balls was broken by left arm spinner Pragyan Ojha who had Shrivastava, who struck 8 fours in his 142-ball knock, caught flicking at short mid-wicket by a diving Shreevats Goswami.
Ojha, who batted confidently and hit 10 fours in his 119-ball innings. The wicketkeeper was dismissed after he edged one to Tiwary in slips off Veerpratap to leave Madhya Pradesh at a tricky 162 for 4.
Skipper Devendra Bundela, then eased the pressure with an aggressive fifth wicket partner Harpreet Singh Bhatia.
The duo was unseparated in a tea score of 166 for 4 in 59 overs and continued to bat without much trouble post tea to take the score past the 200-run mark in the 70th over.
It was no surprise when Tiwary summoned the second new ball as soon as it was due when MP were 235 for 4. But the move did not pay dividends with Bundela and Bhatia batting confidently against the trio of Bengal medium pacers.
Veerpratap was the most successful of the Bengal bowling attack to return figures of 2 for 5 while Ojha and Mandal secured a wicket each.
But, much to their disappointment, Bengal's main strike bowler Ashok Dinda, who had grabbed 31 wickets in the league stage, did not taste success after bowling 20 overs.
Brief scores: Madhya Pradesh 254 for 4 (Aditya Shrivastava 65, Naman Ojha 64, Devendra Bundela not out 42, Harpreet Singh Bhatia 51 not out; Veerpratap Singh 2 for 55)
Harbhajan Singh-led Punjab restrict Assam to 233/8
Punjab bowlers produced a disciplined performance with pacer Siddharth Kaul leading the way with a four-wicket haul as they restricted Assam to 233 for eight at stumps on Day 1 in Valsad.
At stumps, former Royal Challengers Bangalore player J Syed Mohammed was batting on 50 scored off 142 balls with six boundaries to his credit.
He added 66 runs for the sixth wicket with former Karnataka left-hander Amit Verma (42) after Assam, who were put into bat by opposition skipper Harbhajan Singh, were left reeling at 115 for five.
Right-arm seamer Kaul took 4/81 in 26 overs while left-arm seamer Barinder Sran had 2 for 67 from 21 overs.
Harbhajan, who was not given a game during the recently concluded T20 International series in Australia, was very economical with figures of 1/11 in 11 overs as he removed left-handed opener Pallav Das (46) with an off-break that was pouched by Uday Kaul.