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In a crunch Group B match, Ankit Kalsi’s unbeaten 89 steered Himachal Pradesh to 257/7 on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy 2018-19 Round 9 match against Kerala on Monday.

Put into bat at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Cricket Stadium in Amtar, Kerala were in a spot of bother at 82/4. However, Kalsi and Rishi Dhawan steadied the innings with a 105-run partnership for the fifth wicket. Dhawan was the first to depart to MD Nidheesh. He scored 58 off 80 with the help of nine boundaries and one six.

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Meanwhile, Kalsi, who carted 11 boundaries for his unbeaten 89 off 178 deliveries, looks set to score his fourth first-class century.

Mayank Dagar was the last wicket to fall on the day. He departed without troubling the scorers after being dismissed by Sandeep Warrier. For Kerala, MD Nidheesh was the pick of the bowlers with four for 81 in his 22 overs.

Brief scores: Himachal Pradesh 257/7 (Ankit Kalsi 89, Rishi Dhawan 58; MD Nidheesh 4/81) versus Kerala