Thursday, December 29, 2016

Ranji Trophy 16-17: Quarter-finals Jharkhand vs Haryana

The season just keeps on getting better and better for the team. They are through to the semi-finals with an outright win to boot and that too after playing the entire game with effectively 10 players.

The start was inauspicious with Jharkhand losing their pace spearhead Ashish Kumar to injury in the 3rd over of the game. But shahbaz Nadeem picked up 7 wickets to knock over Haryana. The batsmen then managed a big lead with Virat Singh getting a century. In the second innings, Haryana tried to make a comeback but Nadeem picked up 4 more. The target of 170 odd would have tricky, but Ishan Kishan who was promoted to open the batting had other ideas. Jharkhand put on their best opening partnership of the season as they cantered to a 5-wicket victory.

Coming up next - semi-final against Gujarat whose Samit Gohil broke a 117 year old first class record of the highest score while carrying the bat.

P.S. probably the first time a Jharkhand Ranji game was televised.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Arbit Stats #62: Most Improved

Test Match #2241: India vs England

a) Karun Nair becomes the second Indian batsman to score a triple hundred in Test match cricket.

b) Karun Nair becomes the fastest to score a triple hundred in just his 3rd Test innings.

c) But most importantly Karun Nair improves his highest Test score from 13 to 303 not out, a whopping improvement of 290 runs !!! beating Tip Foster who scored 287 on debut (!!!).

Now, thats what you call improvement.

By the looks of it, he should have a decent career ahead.

P.S. Stats courtesy Andy Zaltzman - the master of all weird statistics.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Ranji Trophy 16-17: Jharkhand vs Odisha

Match Summary: Odisha (152 & 103) lost to Jharkhand (348) by innings & 93 runs   
Points: Jharkhand 7, Odisha 0

It was a dead rubber with both teams having qualified. However being the only game underway, it had the undivided attention of India's domestic cricket followers with the key point of interest being whether Jharkhand would overtake Karnataka to be the group toppers.

And top they did and in quite some style smashing Odisha by an innings to take a bonus point as well. They ran through the Odisha batting on first day with spinners Nadeem and Sunny Gupta doing most of the damage. Then put on a big lead with fifties from Virat Singh (on comeback), Saurabh Tiwary and Kaushal Singh. Then they ran through Odisha once again with Nadeem and Kaushal Singh doing most of the damage. Certainly a morale-boosting win to take into the knock-outs.

A 5th win of the season and impressive performance throughout was bound to bring you in the limelight. And Cricinfo did a whole article on the youthful Jharkhand team, who are looking ahead to create a name for themselves.

  • Team Changes: In - Virat Singh, Sunny Gupta, Vikash Singh; Out - Ashish Kumar, Pratyush Singh, Rahul Shukla (after a Man-of the-Match effort in the previous game!). 
  • Kaushal Singh received the Man-of-the-Match award.
Season Stats
Top Scorer: Ishank Jaggi 675 @61.36
Most Wickets: Shahbaz Nadeem 39 @28.26
Player Count: 17

Points Tally - 39 after 8 games to take the top spot in the group. Meanwhile Odisha keep 3rd place to also qualify for the knock-outs.

Coming Up Next - Haryana in the Quarter-finals. They will be likely to be bolstered by the return of Amit Mishra and Jayant Yadav from national duty (injuries permitting). 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Arbit Stats #61: Is it a Team Sport?

Just when you think you have seen all the bizarre scorecards, this comes up.
Image Source: ESPN Cricinfo
In an Under-19 Women's Game in South Africa, Mpumalanga's Shania-Lee Swart scored 160 unbeaten runs out of her team's total of 169 runs. All her fellow batters scored a grand total of O (Zero) between them with Extras contributing 9 !!!

This was more than enough to win the game for Mpumalanga as their opponents Easterns could muster only 127 with Swart who also opened the bowling picked up two wickets.

An innings which single-handedly took her team to victory. Must have been some performance.

Sunday, December 11, 2016


Test Match #2239: India vs England, Mumbai
Virat Kohli and Jayant Yadav put on a double-century stand (215 unbeaten at Lunch on Day 4), grinding down the English bowlers to put India into a commanding position in the 4th Test of the series. During the course of the innings they created a new Indian record for the highest 8th wicket partnership in Test cricket, breaking the old record of 161 between Azhar and Kumble made in 1996 against South Africa at Eden Gardens.

And what a game that was. Still have distinct memories of the game. Inspite of the fact that I was in school and only saw the highlights at the end of day's plays. And while the scorecard  says, South Africa won by a huge margin of 329 runs, this game still holds lots of wonderful memories for the Indian fan.

South Africa had galloped ahead and India were playing catch-up throughout the game. The openers put on a double century opening stand but were reined in by Venkatesh Prasad, probably the gentlest of medium-pacers, who took a 5-wicket haul in a space of five overs. This man had the ability to produce something special out of nowhere. (Never forget "THAT" response to Aamer Sohail!!!).

In response, the Indian top order collapsed. Nothing unusual in those days specially in the face of the top quality fast bowling. Azhar had to retire hurt, while Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly, VVS (the last 3 in their 1st year of Test cricket) were all dismissed cheaply. A follow-on seemed imminent before Azhar returned and in Kumble's company just hammered everything in sight. Eden Gardens has witnessed many a spectacular performance and this certainly was one of them. Our class was updated of the score by the teachers and also one enterprising fellow who had smuggled in a pocket radio. The score certainly moved at T20esque pace with Azhar having taken a particular liking to the debutante Klusener. The highlight was Azhar hammering Klusener for 5 boundaries in a single over. 

Source: Cricinfo
The partnership brought India back into the game. Azhar recorded the fastest Test century by an Indian batsman. When he got going, it wasn't a flash in the pan but a lightning storm. But it soon got over. Meanwhile we willed on Kumble to get to his first Test century but that wasn't to be. (Kumble did eventually score one a decade later).

As is wont with the Indian fan, the partnership flashed hopes of an unlikely victory. But it wasn't to be as the ruthless South Africans put in a big score in the second innings and gave us an even bigger target in the second. And Lance Klusener had his redemption picking up 8 wickets in the second.

But for that glorious afternoon when Azhar got going and Kumble stayed on, What a wonderful passage of play that was. The ones which stay in your memory even twenty years later!

P.S. Jayant Yadav got to his maiden Test hundred and the partnership ends at 241.

P.P.S. End of Amit Mishra's Test career? Or he makes another comeback?

Friday, December 2, 2016

Ranji Trophy 16-17: Jharkhand vs Assam

Match Summary: Jharkhand (316 &111/5) beat Assam (126 & 299 (f/o)) by 5 wickets  
Points: Jharkhand 6, Assam 0

Jharkhand recorded their 4 win of the season to seal a knock-out berth for a second year in a row. And with Karnataka losing to Saurashtra, they also leap-frogged to the top spot in the group.

Assam won the toss and put Jharkhand into bat. They were in early trouble before the experienced pair of Saurabh Tiwary and Ishank Jaggi built together a 149 run partnership for the 4th wicket. There wasn't any other substantial contribution as the team folded out for 316. This proved a big score as the Jharkhand seamers shot out Assam for 126 and enforced the follow-on. In the second innings Assam's top 3 wiped out the 190 run deficit but the rest could not add much as they collapsed form 225/1 to 299 all out leaving a target of 110. Jharkhand's chase was wobbly but Jaggi's brisk innings guided them to victory.

  • Team Changes: In - Rahul Shukla (playing his 1st game of the season) Out - Samar Quadri. 
  • 50 career wickets for Rahul Shukla who also received the Man-of-the-Match award.
Season Stats
Top Scorer: Ishank Jaggi 651 @65.10
Most Wickets: Shahbaz Nadeem 32 @32.59
Player Count: 17

Points Tally - 32 after 7 games to move up to the top spot. And with this victory Jharkhand confirm their spot in the knock-outs. Meanwhile Assam drop down to the bottom of the group.

Coming Up Next - 3rd place Odisha for whom it is a very critical match.