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    Ranji Trophy, Group A: Delhi skittle out Punjab for 74; Karnataka fight odds against Mumbai

    New Delhi: Delhi captain Gautam Gambhir's dogged insistence of playing on a seaming track was vindicated once again as the hosts bowled out Punjab for just 74 runs in on a fog-hit first day of the Ranji Trophy group A encounter here Sunday.

    At stumps, Delhi were 46 for two with Unmukt Chand batting on 21 and veteran Mithun Manhas on six on a day when only 42.4 overs of play was possible at the Roshanara Club ground. Delhi skipper Gambhir won the toss and put Punjab into bat as the slide started from the third over itself as Ashish Nehra again showed that he is force to reckon with in overcast conditions and the pitch having a lot of juice in it.

    Yuvraj Singh (0) might have got a debatable leg before decision when he had plonked his front-foot forward by a fair distance but most of the other batsmen looked incapable of handling the controlled seam bowling from Nehra.

    Nehra grabbed four for 31 while Parvinder Awana (3/20) and Rajat Bhatia (2/4) produced wickets at regular intervals to reduce Punjab to 35 for nine at one stage. It was Manpreet Gony who used his long handle to a good effect smashing 29 off 24 balls with five boundaries as Punjab managed to cross 50 in the end.

    At 16 for four, Punjab were in trouble before Manan Vohra (16), who looked solid played a pull-shot which went up and bowler Awana took the catch. It became 32 for six when keeper Yadav took a brilliant diving catch off Awana to remove Gurkeerat Singh (0).

    Nehra was on a hat-trick when he cleaned up Mandeep Singh (11) and Jaskaran Singh (0) off successive deliveries but Siddharth Kaul averted the hat-trick. Nehra got his fourth victim when Gitansh Khera (1) edged one to give Yadav his third catch. At 35 for nine, Gony and Kaul put some fight but that certainly won't be enough as Delhi will be aiming for another seven points.

    In Bangalore, Lokesh Rahul gave ample display of his class by cracking an unbeaten 120 as gritty Karnataka recovered from a mini-collapse to reach 228 for seven against Mumbai in their first innings on the opening day of their Group A Ranji Trophy match here. The 21-year-old opener notched up his third century of the season to steer the hosts after they were 84-4 in 40.2 overs at the M Chinnaswamy stadium.

    At stumps, Rahul and Abhimanyu Mithun (7) were at the crease on an eventful opening day which saw good bat and ball contest.Mumbai dominated the last two sessions, sending back six Karnataka batsmen to pavillion. Rahul stole the show with his batting prowess as he hit an array of exquisite strokes even as wickets kept tumbling at regular intervals at the other end.

    Among the batsmen, R Samarth (18), Karun Nair (13), Manish Pandey (1) and CM Gautam (0) were dismissed cheaply. Rahul, who was lucky to have not given caught behind early in the innings, smashed 16 well-timed boundaries in his 275-ball knock. His shot selection was admirable as he was right behind the line of good balls but punished the loose balls with aplomb.

    Rahul and R Samarth built 38 runs stand for first wicket, before the later was dismissed by debutant Netrawalkar after he gave a catch to Yadav. Thereafter, Karnataka lost three more wickets for 46 runs, sending jitters into the hosts' camp, before Rahul and Binny bailed them out.

    Brief Score: Karnataka: 228-7 in 91 overs (KL Rahul 120; SN Thakur 2/49).

    In Motera, Parthiv Patel cracked his 21st first-class century to power Gujarat to 287 for three in their first innings at stumps against Odisha on the opening day of their Ranji trophy Group A match.

    Parthiv scored an unbeaten 109 runs in 166 balls with the help of 11 fours. Venugopal Rao (68) and Bhargav Merai (45) were the other top scorers for Gujarat. For Odisha, Jayanta Behera (2/65) took two wickets, while BB Samantray (1/38) scalped one. Choosing to bat, Gujarat were given a 54-run partnership upfront by Samit Gohel (27) and Priyank Panchal (31) before the duo departed in successive overs.

    Bhargav Merai (45) and Parthiv (109) took over from the openers and added another 84 for the third wicket. Jayanta Behera gave Odisha the breakthrough, removing Merai to take his second wicket in the 52nd over. However, Gujarat put together another big unbeaten partnership when Rao joined Parthiv and the duo stitched 141 runs, which carried Gujarat to 287 for three by stumps.

    Parthiv and Rao (68) were at the crease at the draw of stumps at the Sardar Patel Stadium.

    Brief Score: Gujarat: 287-3 in 90 overs (Parthiv Patel 109; Jayanta 2/65).

    In Jamshedpur, A brilliant knock by in-form opener Rameez Nimat (85) and his 91-run first wicket stand with Bhavik Thaker (23) steered hosts Jharkhand to a decent 233 for five on the opening day of their Group A Ranji tie against Vidarbha.

    At close, skipper Shahbaz Nadeem was batting on 37 and giving him copmpnay was Kumar Deobrat (9) at Keenan Stadium. Elected to bat, Jharkhand suffered an early jolt when opener Subroto Ghosh returned without scoring after adjudged leg before off Shrikant Wagh.

    Bhavik Thaker stepped in to partner Nimat, who was playing confidently at the other end, and they together stitched a 91-run first wicket partnership to rescue the team without any further damage. Thaker, who was settled and facing the rival attack with ease, fell short of the crease while picking up a single and an accurate throw from Akshay Wakhare saw the bails uprooted.

    Southpaw Saurabh Tiwary too did not last long as he spooned a catch to Sandip Singh at slip off Wakhare for ten. Middle-order batsman Ishank Jaggi then paired with Nimat for 67-run for the fourth wicket before Wakhare struck again to have the opener leg before for 85.