After Covid-19 led to the cancellation of the previous session, the Ranji Trophy made its much-anticipated return as 38 of the best red-ball teams in Indian domestic cricket took the field in Elite and Plate groups across 12 venues in the country.
In a heavyweight Elite Group D encounter between Saurashtra, the reigning champions, and Mumbai, the most successful team in the history of the competition, it was the latter that nearly tasted victory after a brilliant 275 by Sarfaraz Khan.
Delhi took on Tamil Nadu in another key clash and it was Yash Dhull and Shahrukh Khan who stole the show on the back of some high class batting. While Dhull scored centuries in both innings, Khan’s stunning knock of 194 at No 7 helped Tamil Nadu gain the all-important first innings lead.
Chhattisgarh, Hyderabad, Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand were the teams that registered wins in the Elite division, while Nagaland and Manipur notched up victories in the Plate division.
Here’s a look at the top batting and bowling performances in the first round of the Ranji Trophy 2021-22 season:
Yash Dhull: Having led India to the ICC Under-19 World Cup title earlier in the month, Dhull made a sensational Ranji Trophy debut. The right-handed opener became just the third batter in the tournament’s history to hit centuries in both innings on debut. He scored 113 runs in both innings but it didn’t stop Delhi from conceding the first innings lead to Tamil Nadu.
Shahrukh Khan: Tamil Nadu clinched three vital points against Delhi on the back of a belligerent innings from the right-hander. He was signed in the IPL auction by Punjab Kings for Rs 9 crore earlier in the month and Khan showed his potential yet again with a 148-ball 194. Delhi posted a formidable total of 452 batting first but Khan’s counterattacking knock at No 7 helped his team gain the advantage.
Sarfaraz Khan: He was phenomenal in the previous season of the Ranji Trophy two years ago, scoring 928 runs and three centuries (including a triple ton) at an average of 154.66, and Khan picked up from where he had left off with a stunning knock of 275 runs from 401 balls against defending champions Saurashtra. His partnership with Ajinkya Rahane (129) led to Mumbai enforcing the follow-on and nearly getting the win eventually.
Sakibul Gani: The only batter from the Plate division in this list, Gani was the other batter in the opening round who made a sensational Ranji Trophy debut. The right-hander smashed 341 off 405 batting at No 5 to help Bihar gain the first innings lead against Mizoram. With his astounding knock, Gani broke the world record for the highest individual score on first-class debut.
Most runs in Ranji Trophy 2021-22
|S Gani (Bihar)||1||341||341||84.19||1||0||56||2|
|SN Khan (Mumbai)||1||275||275||68.57||1||0||30||7|
|T Kohli (Mizoram)||2||252||151||56.00||2||0||41|
|Babul Kumar (Bihar)||1||229||229*||57.53||1||0||27||1|
|AP Vasisht (HP)||2||227||140||73.94||1||1||27||2|
|YV Dhull (Delhi)||2||226||113*||64.20||2||0||32||1|
|Pawan Shah (Maha)||1||219||219||54.61||1||0||20||2|
|SS Sharma (MP)||2||195||103*||43.52||1||1||23||2|
|Shahrukh Khan (TN)||1||194||194||131.08||1||0||20||10|
|FY Fazal (Vidarbha)||1||192||192||63.57||1||0||27||3|
Satyajeet Bachhav: The left-arm spinner registered the best bowling figures in the first round of the season. Bachhav took a four-for in the first innings which led Assam to follow-on, and the 29-year-old backed that up with figures of 7/45 in the second innings to help Maharashtra win by an innings and seven runs.
Shams Mulani: After posting a total of 544 batting first, Mumbai gained the first innings lead as the left-arm spinner bagged a four-for and Saurashtra were bowled out for 220. Mulani then took 7/114 in Saurashtra’s second innings as Mumbai came tantalisingly close to winning by an innings. Jaydev Unadkat and Chetan Sakariya’s valiant 10th-wicket partnership saved Saurashtra at the end.
Parvez Rasool: Jammu and Kashmir registered an eight-wicket victory against Puducherry in an Elite Group C match and the standout performer was Rasool. The 33-year-old off-spinner took four wickets in the first innings and six in the second to help his team earn a comfortable win. He even scored 31 runs batting at No 6 in the first innings, adding a crucial 84 runs with Abdul Samad (103).
Ravi Teja: Hyderabad defeated Chandigarh by 217 runs in an Elite Group B clash on the back of some fine bowling by Ravi Teja. The 27-year-old right-arm medium pacer grabbed a match haul of nine wickets, with a six-for in the second innings. Chandigarh were set a target of 401 runs but they were bowled out for 183 as Teja delivered a solid performance.
Most wickets in Ranji Trophy 2021-22
|SS Bachhav (Maha)||2||35.2||10||11||7/45||11/70||6.36||1.98||19.2||1||1|
|SZ Mulani (Mumbai)||2||60.0||14||11||7/114||11/169||15.36||2.81||32.7||1||1|
|Parvez Rasool (J & K)||2||38.2||13||10||6/29||10/85||8.50||2.21||23.0||1||1|
|T Ravi Teja (Hyderabad)||2||35.0||7||9||6/41||9/94||10.44||2.68||23.3||1||0|
|CT Gaja (Gujarat)||2||37.0||12||8||6/48||8/102||12.75||2.75||27.7||1||0|
|C Rakshann Readdi (Hyderabad)||2||35.2||8||8||5/61||8/123||15.37||3.48||26.5||1||0|
|Jagjit Singh (Chandigarh)||2||46.0||11||8||4/79||8/159||19.87||3.45||34.5||0||0|
|AJ Mandal (Chhattisgarh)||2||27.5||5||7||4/47||7/68||9.71||2.44||23.8||0||0|
|A Choudhary (Rajasthan)||2||32.2||8||7||4/40||7/90||12.85||2.78||27.7||0||0|
|CV Stephen (Andhra)||2||30.2||4||7||5/51||7/94||13.42||3.09||26.0||1||0|