Mission victory leads to low totals

Most of these wickets were taken by pacers. It suggests that most of these pitches had something for them.

Published: 26th December 2019 03:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th December 2019 08:44 AM   |  A+A-

Turning out for Delhi, opener Shikhar Dhawan smashed an unbeaten 198-ball 137 on Wednesday, the first day of their Ranji Trophy Elite Group A clash against Hyderabad. The southpaw is returning to first-class cricket after 15 months | Parveen Negi

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Kerala 70, Mumbai 114, Gujarat 127, Karnataka 166, Tamil Nadu 149. Uttarakhand 117.
These were totals made by some of the teams in the third round of Ranji Trophy matches which began on Wednesday. Not often does one come across a situation when so many teams are bundled out for below-par scores on the very first day. In eight matches featuring teams of Elite Group A and B, 85 wickets fell on Day 1.

Most of these wickets were taken by pacers. It suggests that most of these pitches had something for them. The other thing that emerges is, teams are going for outright wins instead of settling for first-innings lead.
Ever since the format was rejigged in 2018-19, the value of outright wins has increased. In the new format, 38 teams are divided into four groups. The competition is most intense in Group A and B, from which the top five on a combined table make it to the quarterfinals. This makes it more complicated than C and Plate, from which two and one make the cut. Punjab and Saurashtra have set early pace in A and B by winning their first two games. This might have prompted other teams to go for wins.

“Everybody is hurrying their cricket to earn points,” says former India pacer Lakshmipathy Balaji. “If you play looking at the table, the pitches will be result-oriented. Everybody is fighting for top place. The number of outright wins has increased because of the new points system. After nine matches, you won’t have a chance of qualifying if you get two wins and first-innings lead in the other games.”

Of late, there has been an emphasis on pitches that produce results. Of the 18 matches played before Wednesday in the Group A and B, only four ended in draws. In Group C, nine out of 10 matches saw results. This is eight in 10 in Plate. It shows that first-innings lead is no more the norm.

“In this system, matches are dependent on the type of wickets offered. Test cricket is about four innings, where a team needs 400 to put the opposition under pressure. If that lead is minimal, then both teams will have a chance of pushing for victory. But if runs come at a rate of 18 per wicket, then there is no contest between bat and ball. If you are going for outright wins in the beginning of the season, there is always a chance of losing. Then you have to play catch-up. The points system has led the teams to this kind of desperation,” adds Balaji.

Last season saw 49 of 91 matches from Group A, B and C produce results. It seems that may go up this season.

Eclipse delay
Day 2 of matches in Indore, Mumbai, Rajkot and Mysuru will start two hours late due to solar eclipse. In most places, these games begin at 9.30 am. But they will start at 11.30 am on Thursday. TN are playing against MP in Indore. Mumbai are facing Railways at home. Saurashtra are playing Uttar Pradesh in Rajkot, while Karnataka are up against HP in Mysuru. In Cuttack, the Odisha-Uttarakhand match will start post lunch.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp