B D Narayankar
PUNE: Udit Birla lightened up the day’s proceedings after a delayed start to the first day’s play between Cadence Academy and Gudge XI on Wednesday with a scintillating unbeaten 105 runs after reeling off 14 boundaries and a six in MCA Under-19 Invitation Super League Tournament.
What was so fascinating about Udit’s innings was he cut down on his lofted strokes and concentrated on ground shots until he reached his half-century.
Realising he was running out of partners, Udit paced up his innings, clobbering Gudge bowlers all over the park reaching his century in a hurry.
Udit exhibited his rare determination to excel as runs had stopped flowing from his willow for the last 10 innings.
Udit came to the crease when Cadence were reeling at 74 for three after Jayesh Jape, Pranav Mehta and Vikram Bhosale had removed three top batsmen with beautiful deliveries.
He started his innings with two glorious strokes to the fence of leg-spinner Vikram Bhosale. He tore him again in the next over, pulling him twice to deep square leg fence.
Soon Udit lost his partner Gaurav Bhoswal when he snicked one to Pranav Mehta stationed at gully to Gaurav Sonawane (16). Thereafter, Prayag Bhati and Udit had 44-runs stand for the sixth wicket, pushing the total to 156 for six.
After tea, Udit, changed his gear and started lofting the balls right over the bowlers’ head with style. He got one to clear the rope against Vikram Bhosale. He put on an invaluable 46-runs partnership with Nitesh Salekar for eighth wicket, before taking the total to 247 all out.
Fiery spell: In reply, Gudge had a very bad start, losing two wickets in first over of their innings. Omkar Patil trapped A Akhud and then Pranav Mehta caught trying to hook. He also claimed Vikram Bhosale in the same fashion.
Gudge lost their fourth wicket after Nitish Salekar trapped Kumar Thakkar for four.
At close of play, Gudge were 56 for four with Ketan Pavagi batting on 34 and Moharkar on 8.
SCORES: Cadence XI I Innings: 247 all out in 64 overs (Udit Birla 105, Ketan Pavagi 3 for 37); Gudge I Innings: (Ketan Pavagi 34 n o, Omkar Patil 3 for 8)