International cricket fans are awaiting the beginning of one of the most riveting cricket seasons in recent memory. A number of high profile tournaments are set to commence in December, none bigger than the Border-Gavaskar Trophy between India and hosts Australia. Besides Pakistan’s tour of South Africa and Sri Lanka’s tour of New Zealand, this month should also provide immense excitement for cricket lovers.

While the international scene promises to be exciting, the domestic matches have already delivered some nail-biters in The Ranji trophy and other leagues around the world. Let us quickly check out how our boys have been performing around the world, across different formats of the game –

Shreyas Gopal Stars with the Bat and the Ball in a Low-Scoring Encounter

Shreyas Gopal’s stocks have been rising as an all-rounder in the Indian domestic circuit with consistent performances with the bat and the ball. His reputation was further enhanced this week with his match-winning performance for Karnataka, against a strong Maharashtra team. On a difficult pitch to bat, Karnataka dismissed Maharashtra for a paltry score of 113 in the first innings. In reply, Karnataka was in all sorts of trouble reeling at 89/5 when Gopal came into bat. The batting side was in a desperate need to find a partnership that would help them some sort of a lead. Gopal played a crucial innings of 40 off 100 balls to bail his team out of trouble and gave them a sizeable lead of 73 runs under tough batting conditions. His 61 run partnership with Captain Vinay Kumar frustrated the Maharashtra bowlers with their resistance which ultimately proved pivotal to Karnataka’s success.

After pitching in with the bat as the top scorer of the innings, Gopal turned on the heat with the ball as well. Gopal broke the partnership between Jay Pande and Chirag Khurana by dismissing them in back-to-back overs. He caused further setbacks to the Maharashtra batting line-up by accounting for the wickets of Satyajeet Bacchav and opposition Captain and fellow Royal Rahul Tripathi, to finish with figures of 4/64 off 21 overs. This effort restricted Maharashtra’s lead to only 183, which the Karnataka batsmen chased down easily with seven wickets in hand.

Prashant Chopra’s classy century goes in vain

Prashant Chopra has been one of the standout batsmen in this season of Ranji Trophy. He has been instrumental in providing a good start to the Himachal Pradesh batting on a regular basis. Moreover, leading from the front has given his team and him a lot of confidence. He continued his good run with a fine century against a strong Hyderabad team. Prashant Chopra and his opening partner Priyanshu Khanduri laid the foundation of a big score with an opening partnership of 178. A partnership which was dominated by the Captain. However, once Chopra departed, a flurry of wickets fell which meant that the Himachal Pradesh team were not fully able to capitalise on the fabulous start. Himachal Pradesh bowlers did manage to keep them in the game by conceding a lead of a solitary run, but another major batting collapse in the second innings saw Himachal Pradesh being bundled out for 97 runs. This batting failure resulted in a crushing defeat for the boys from Himachal.

Gowtham gets a six-fer in a marathon effort

We have often seen legendary spinners enjoy bowling marathon spells. Krishnappa Gowtham got the taste of that in India A’s tour of New Zealand as he has been holding up one end session after session. In a spectacular display of tenacity and accuracy 46.4 overs at the Cobham Oval on a pitch which had little for the bowlers. Gowtham bowled almost half of his side’s overs to dismiss 6 Kiwi batsmen at the cost of 139 runs. Gowtham was instrumental in providing regular breakthroughs with a nagging line and variation in pace. The dismissal of a dogged Cam Fletcher who scored a century was a key wicket as he looked set for a big innings. He also got the wicket of opener Will Young and middle-order batsman Rachin Ravindra. Towards the end of the innings, Gowtham chipped in with the wickets of lower-order batsmen Kyle Jamieson and tail-enders Theo van Woerkom and Lockie Ferguson to keep the New Zealand A’s score to the below 400 mark.

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