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17-year-old Kushagra plunders 266 for Jharkhand in Ranji Trophy pre-quarter finals

Jharkand put on a record-breaking first-innings total of 880 in the pre-quarter final against Nagaland in the Ranji Trophy 2022. Their innings stretched across the first two days, finally being bowled out on the morning of day three. It was  built on the back of two centuries and one massive double-hundred from their lower-middle-order, and is the fourth-highest total ever in the history of the Ranji Trophy.

17-year-old Kumar Kushagra scored a blistering 266 off 290 balls, with 600 plus runs coming from the batters at number five, six, seven and eight. Kushagra’s innings, along with Shahbaz Nadeem’s 177, and the 107 scored by Virat Singh contributed nearly 500 runs to the team’s total.

A slew of records were broken in the process. This is Jharkand’s highest ever first class score by far, exceeding the 556 they made at Eden Garden in 2015. Kushagra ‘s knock of 266 is also the second-highest score by a Jharkand batter in the Ranji trophy.

In only his second ever first-class game, wicket-keeper batter Kushagra played a titan’s knock. The teenager ticking his innings along briskly, hitting 37 boundaries en-route to his stunning double.

Poor bowling, fielding grant Kushagra multiple chances

He was helped along by a poor display of bowling and fielding by Nagaland, who fluffed their three chances to send him back to the hut. After granting him reprieves on 10 and 44, they dropped him on 132. Eventually he got to his 266 off just 269 balls, batting at a strike-rate of nearly 99.

Jharkand stitched together three century stands, between Virat Singh, Kushagra , Rahul Shukla, and Shahbaz Nadeem. The promising young left-hander Virat Singh also scored a century on the first day (107 runs), helped along by Anukul Roy’s 69, ending the day at 489 for 6.

But Nagaland’s troubles were just beginning; Nadeem and Kushagra ‘s century partnership would span another 30 overs on day two. Shahbaz Nadeem scored 177 at number 8, his highest ever-score in first class cricket, the two putting on a mammoth stand of 166 for the seventh wicket.

Number 11 Rahul Shukla put on a show as well, tormenting Nagaland by adding 85 runs along with Nadeem in a 191-run stand, the highest partnership of the match.

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