Everything proceeded according to plan for Baroda, reducing Railways to a meagre 125 for seven by mid-afternoon and seamer Munaf Patel sending down two excellent spells for flattering figures of four for 48 and off-spinner Yusuf Pathan scalping two.

After inviting the visitor to bat, the home team seemed all set to take a firm grip on the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal at the Moti Bagh Palace ground here on Friday.

Rattled in the first half of the opening day, Railways recovered to 241 for eight with the ninth-wicket pair of Yere Goud and Nilesh Chauhan showing character to thwart the second new ball for 10 overs. Goud demonstrated admirable spirit and resolve, showing the full face of the bat in defence for nearly four hours.

His undefeated 44 provided the much-needed value to the 56-run rescue stand with Jai Prakash Yadav (42, 4x6, 2x4) for the eighth wicket and thereafter the unbroken 60-run stand with Nilesh Chauhan for the ninth.

The Railways rearguard action chiefly emanated from Yadav. He flicked and on-drove Pathan for four sixes with the turn and forced the threatening off-spinner out of the attack. But attempting a forceful inside-out shot off Bhatt, he offered a catch to Ambati Rayudu at mid-off.

Tactics backfire

Railways opted for a right-left combination and surprised Baroda, sending Murali Kartik (57, 144m, 96b, 9x4, 2x6) and Shreyas Khanolkar as the top order batsmen. The lack of understanding between the two resulted in the run- out of Khanolkar.

Munaf had Sanjay Bangar nicking to the wicketkeeper, terminated the stoical innings of Prashant Awasti and bowled Mahesh Rawat and Dhiren Salvi neck and crop.

The scores:

Railways — 1st innings: S. Khanolkar run out (Kolsawala) 7, M. Kartik c Rayudu b Y. Pathan 57, S. Bangar c Shah b M. Patel 2, P. Awasthi c Solanki b M. Patel 34, Y. Goud batting 44, M. Rawat b M. Patel 5, D. Salvi b M. Patel 0, K. Sharma lbw b Y. Pathan 4, J.P. Yadav c Rayudu b Bhatt 42, N. Chauhan batting 31; Extras (b4, lb9, nb 2): 15; Total (for 8 wkts in 90 overs): 241.

Fall of wickets: 1-12, 2-25, 3-109, 4-111, 5-117, 6-120, 7-125, 8-181.

Bowling: Munaf 26-6-87-4, Vahora 15-6-42-0, Vora 13-7-20-0, Bhatt 16-10-28-1, Yusuf 19-7-50-2, Devdhar 1-0-1-0.

Keywords: Ranji Trophy

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