Punjab Kings’ recent acquisition Harpreet Singh Bhatia grabbed the headlines on Thursday after he scored a magnificent century for the Chhattisgarh cricket team against hosts Kerala during their Elite Group C Ranji Trophy 2022-23 match at the St. Xavier's College Ground in Thiruvananthapuram.
With Chhattisgarh reeling at 0/2 in their second innings, captain Harpreet led from the front as he played an impressive knock of 152 runs off 228 balls to register his 15th hundred in First-Class cricket. The 31-year-old’s impressive innings was laced with 12 fours and three sixes.
Despite losing wickets at regular intervals at the other end, Harpreet carried his good form from the recently-concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2022 as he stitched together some crucial partnerships with Amandeep Khare (30), Shashank Singh (16) and Ajay Jadav Mandal (22) in the middle-order to keep Chhattisgarh in the game.
Harpreet was later dismissed by veteran off-spinner Jalaj Saxena as Chhattisgarh were bowled out for 287 in their second innings.
For Kerala, Jalaj Saxena was the wrecker-in-chief as he claimed six wickets for 75 runs in his 37.4 overs.
Earlier, Kerala won the toss and decided to field first. The hosts rode on Saxena’s 5/48 to bundle out Chhattisgarh for a paltry score of 149 in their first innings.
Harpeet was once again the highest scorer for Chhattisgarh in the first innings as he scored 40 to help his side put a respectable total on the board.
Meanwhile, twin fifties from Rohan Prem (77) and Sachin Baby (77) powered Kerala to 311 all out and helped the hosts take a massive 162-run lead.
Having dominated for three days, Kerala now needed 126 runs to win the match against Chhattisgarh on Friday.