Baroda: Murali Kartik turned out to be a surprise package for Railways scoring a half century opening the batting but the visitors finished the first day`s play against Baroda at none too impressive 241 for eight in a Ranji Trophy quarterfinal match being held at Moti Bagh ground.
Baroda captain Pinal Shah won the toss and elected to bat. However it was surprising to find Kartik who normally bats at No. 9 or 10 come out to open along with Shreyas Khanolkar. It was learnt that regular opener Faiz Fazal isn`t playing the match due to personal reasons and Railways didn`t have second opener.
While Khanolkar was run-out for seven in the last ball of the third over, skipper Sanjay Bangar scratched around for 26 balls scoring only two before edging one off Munaf Patel to wicketkeeper Shah.
Kartik who played a few audacious shots hit nine boundaries and two sixes. Karthik found an able ally in Prashant Awasthi (34) as they added 84 runs for the third wicket. Incidentally it was Kartik`s 17th half century in first-class cricket.
Kartik finally became Yusuf Pathan`s first victim as he was caught by Ambati Rayudu. Awasthi was then out with the addition of only two runs caught by Rakesh Solanki off Munaf`s delivery.
Suddenly the Railways middle-order crumbled as Mahesh Rawat (5) and Dhiren Salvi (0) were cleaned up by Munaf who returned with figures of four for 87. Southpaw Karan Sharma was trapped leg before by Yusuf. From 109 for two, Railways slumped to 125 for seven.
It was left to two veterans Yere Goud and Jai Prakash Yadav to bring in their years of experience t stem the rot. JP in particular went on the offensive as he hit four sixes during his knock of 42 which came off only 64 balls.
With Goud providing dogged resistance at the other end, they added 56 runs for the eighth wicket before left-arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt removed the former India all-rounder.
However Nilesh Chauhan (31 batting, 80 balls, 4x4) added 60 runs for the undefeated ninth wicket stand to give the ttal some respectability.
Brief Scores: Railways 241/8 (M Kartik 57, Y Goud 44 batting, JP Yadav 42, M Patel 4/87) vs Baroda.