Ranji Trophy, Day 1: Imtiaz Ahmed wrecks star-studded Delhi batting line-up

Biswajit Jha

New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh bowlers led by young Imtiaz Ahmed bowled fantastically well to wrap up Delhi for a below par 235 in the first match of Group B at Ghaziabad on Friday.

The match got a real hype after out of form Delhi opening duo of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir decided to turn up for their Ranji team to get back into the groove before the 1st Test against England that starts on November 15.

But both the batsmen failed to utilise the perfect opportunity to put up a big score. The worst part was that they got out after doing the initial hard work.

Sehwag was the first to go for 25 as Praveen Kumar got rid of him caught behind by wicketkeeper Amir Khan.

Gambhir (32) perished giving the hero of Uttar Pradesh bowling Imtiaz Ahmed (5/46) his first wicket of the match.

Unmukt Chand, fresh from his exploits in Under-19 World Cup in Australia came one down. He started well hitting some confident shots before being removed by left-arm Ali Mortaza.

Before him, Indian batting mainstay Virat Kohli was consumed by a beautiful outswinger from Bhuvneshwar Kumar for 14, caught at first slip by Kaif.

With the wicket of Unmukt Chand, Delhi looked in a bit of trouble after losing top four wickets for 106.

All the batting stars back in the pavilion, the onus of taking Delhi out of the woods fell on less heralded Mithun Manhas and stumper Punit Bist.

Slowly they steadied the Delhi innings, playing the waiting game. They stitched together a fighting 86-run stand before Manhas fell to Imtiaz after a well-made 42. Ahmed at that point was on fire.

After getting the breakthrough wicket of Manhas, Imtiaz snared Punit Bist (52) who had just reached his half-century, the only one in the Delhi innings.

Imtiaz then took the wickets of Pradeep Sangwan and Ashish Nehra to complete his five wickets in the innings.

It was Imtiaz who stole the show and entertained the 10000 crowd at Ghaziabad`s Nehru stadium who basically came to watch the star-studded Delhi batting. But at the end of the day, they went home with a lot of satisfaction seeing their home team put up a fine show against some quality players.

At tea, Delhi were 219/8. Kumar, who was taken off the ground after an injury scare, came back and took the remaining two wickets of Sumit Narwal (21) and Vikas Misra (0) off successive deliveries to end the Delhi innings for 235.

At stumps, UP were 40/1 with Mukul Dagar (18*) and Kaif (3*) batting at the crease.

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