Sarthak Ranjan’s 178 and Vaibhav Kandpal’s 143 drove Rann Star Club to 435/4, the highest total in the history of Lala Raghubir Singh Hot Weather Cricket Tournament, on Tuesday. The total was big enough to subdue the challenge from Goat XI, who finished with 389/8 in their 40 overs, and earn Rann Star a place in the final of the 46th edition of the competition.
It was an onslaught with the ball getting lost multiple times. The Rann Star batsmen, especially Ranjan and Deepak Punia, who hammered 68 off 25 balls towards the end of the innings, sent the ball out of the ground in the first innings, with one of Ranjan’s hits landing on top of the school building near the ground and the other going onto the road.
“When we lost the first wicket early, Sarthak and I planned to bat for as long as possible, and build partnership. We cashed in on the scoring balls. Once settled, it was easy to move the game. We built a partnership,” said Kandpal who has been among runs in recent times.
“There was a stage, when we had scored 130 runs in 15 overs. We thought we’d accelerate and would be cautious so that we can reach the big target. We had never planned to make the total this big.”
The two batsmen added 324 runs for the second wicket in 31.3 overs and that spelt doom for Goat XI.
“When Sarthak is batting, it is difficult to keep the ball inside the ground — one six in an over by him is mandatory. Our job was to keep our partnership going,” said the batsman who represented Delhi under-25 last season.
The runs came at brisk pace with Ranjan scoring at a strike rate of 165 and Kandpal at 149. The bowlers panicked and began conceding boundary balls.
Their successful partnership ensured that Rann Star had enough wickets in hand to accelerate towards the end. When Ranjan was dismissed in the 34th over, the score was 328.
Punia’s onslaught helped yield 107 runs in the remaining 35 balls.
“The good thing was that we had wickets in hand. I could just go after the bowling with a free mind and try to hit even the good balls for boundaries and sixes,” said Punia, who has represented four state sides in domestic cricket.
There were 25 sixes in Rann Star innings including 11 from the bat of Ranjan, six from Kandpal’s and five by Punia’s.
Goat XI started on a brisk note, scoring 35 in the first one-and-a-half overs with Delhi Police cop Manjeet hammering 31 off eight balls. But quick wickets pegged them back.
Goat XI were always chasing in the game after those loss of wickets. Veteran Pradeep Malik made 92 off 62 and skipper Lakshay Thareja scored a 59-ball 91.
Rann Star will play Carpediem India in the final on Wednesday.