Ranji final: Baroda-Rajasthan match evenly poised

Vadodara: Five-wicket haul by leg-spinner Bhargav Bhatt (5 for 103) helped Baroda restrict Rajasthan to 394 before reaching 73 for one at stumps on the second day of the Ranji Trophy Super League final here on Wednesday.

For Rajasthan, although Robin Bist (77), skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar (61), Rashmi Parida (56) and Ashok Menaria (45) contributed with the bat but none of the batsmen could convert the half-centuries into a big score here at the Moti Bagh Stadium.

Resuming at the overnight total of 198 for three, yesterday`s unbeaten batsmen in Rohit Bist on 56 and Vivek Yadav on 4, mixed caution with aggression to give the visitors a good start on the day.

The duo put on a 50-run stand for the fourth wicket with Yadav being the more dominating of the two. But he became the first one to depart after hitting 27 off 56 balls, studded with four hits to the fence, falling to left-handed spinner Bhatt.

Bist, on his part could not capitalise on a chance he survived after being put down at a score of 62 by A Karambelkar off Bhatt`s delivery but the bowler did not let it prove costly for his team.

Bhatt was quick to add Bist`s wicket in his kitty after a few overs, dismissing him for 77 off 228 balls studded with five fours and a six during his 316-minute stay at the crease.

However, Parida and Maneria consolidated the innings as the duo shared a valuable 77-run partnership for the sixth wicket to give Rajasthan a much needed boost.

Even though the pair managed to keep the host bowlers quiet for sometime but Bhatt struck back to cut short Maneria`s fine quickfire innings of 45 from 59 balls, including six fours and a six.

Maneria`s dismissal triggered Rajasthan`s collapse and even as Parida held on to his ground, wickets kept falling at the other end.

From 346 for six, Rajasthan got bundled out for 394. Parida was the last man to fall with Bhatt doing the damage yet again. Parida scored an excellent 121-ball 56 with nine hits to the fence.

Besides, Bhatt`s five, Swapnil Singh chipped in with two for 54, while Sankalp Vohra (1 for 57) and Aditya Waghmode (1 for 33) took one wicket each.

Replying to Rajasthan`s first innings score, Baroda openers Connor Williams (17) and Jaikishan Kolsawala put on a fine 63-run opening partnership before the former was caught by Aakash Chopra in the second slip off Vivek Yadav`s bowling.

At the end of day two, the match was evenly poised with Kolsawala (46) and Kedar Devdhar (4) at the crease.


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