Ranji Trophy 2018-19, Elite Group B, Day 1: Rishi, Gangta take Himachal to 244/5 against Punjab

Himachal Pradesh were bolstered by a positive batting performance with three batsmen scoring half-centuries to take them to 244 for 5 against Punjab at the PCA Stadium in Mohali. On Day 1 of the fifth round of the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy. Nikhil Gangta, Ankit Kalsi and Rishi Dhawan struck half-centuries to lift Himachal from 110 for 3 to losing two more wickets while adding over 100 runs.

Having won the toss and elected to bowl, Punjab took little time to get their first breakthrough with the returning Sandeep Sharma removing captain Prashant Chopra for 1. Sandeep, who last played during the IPL for Sunrisers Hyderabad in May, struck in his second over to trap Chopra out LBW for 1. His opening partner Priyanshu Khanduri battled for 63 balls and scored 20 before Sanvir Singh sent him back.

At 41 for 2, wicketkeeper batsman Praveen Thakur and Gangta took over and forged a 69-run stand for the third wicket. Gangta, who had scored a crucial 66 against Delhi, struck eight boundaries for 58 and Thakur played a knock of tremendous patience (44 off 154). Himachal’s ship seemed to be steadying but Sandeep and Gurkeerat Singh Mann dismissed both batsmen in quick succession. At 146 for 4, experienced campaigner Dhawan and Ankit Kalsi added 96 runs for the fifth wicket before Sanvir picked up his second wicket to end the allrounder’s flamboyant 74-ball 61-run knock.

Brief Scores: Himachal Pradesh 244 for 5 (Rishi Dhawan 61, Nikhil Gangta 58; Sandeep Sharma 2 for 50) against Punjab.