Ranji Trophy 2018-19, Elite Group A, Round 5: Baroda nose ahead after Swapnil’s five bamboozles Chhattisgarh

Baroda attained a slender 36-run lead and counting over Chhattisgarh in a Group A fixture of a the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy. On the opening Day of Round 5 at the Moti Bagh Stadium in Vadodara, left-arm spinner Swapnil Singh picked up 5 for 23, and with able support from Soaeb Tai, skittled Chhattisgarh for 129. In reply, two wickets each to Omkar Verma, Ajay Mandal and Vishal Kushwaha reduced Baroda to 165 for 7 at stumps.

Chhattisgarh were left searching for answers with as many as five batsmen failing to trouble the scorers. Opener Avnish Dhaliwal scored an 82-ball 33 with four boundaries and a six, and barring captain Harpreet Singh and Kushwah, no batsman could really get going. It was mainly due to two vital partnerships – 70 runs for the third wicket between Harpreet and Dhaliwal, in addition to a 34-run stand between Kushwaha and Sumit Ruikar that Chhattisgarh were able to go past 100.

New ball operators Omkar Mandal and Ajay Mandal removed Baroda’s the top four batsmen with Aditya Waghmore scoring 33 off 107 deliveries. The middle order was run through with Shivalik Sharma registering a duck and Swapnil scoring just 7. Waghmore and Yusuf Pathan’s 56-run stand for the fifth wicket brought them back in the game.

With Waghmore departing, Yusuf and Patel saw Baroda in the lead before the wicketkeeper became Kushwaha’s first wicket. The bowler struck a delivery later and dealt a first-ball duck to Tai. At stumps, Yusuf was unbeaten four short of a half century and Bhargav Bhatt was giving him company.

Brief Score: Baroda 165/7 (Yusuf Pathan 46, Mitesh Patel 36; Vishal Kushwaha 1 for 11) lead Chhattisgarh 129 all out (Harpreet Singh 37, Kushwaha 26; Swapnil Singh 5 for 23) by 36 runs.