Lucky to be let off, says Pandey

Manish Pa­ndey’s heart would have been in his mouth when a delivery from Gurkeerat Singh took his outside edge and travelled in the direction of Mandeep Singh at first slip.

He shot a look behind to see what had happened and what he saw was of great relief to him, his team and the decent crowd that had gathered at the Rajnagar KSCA Stadium on Sunday.

The ball popped out of the Punjab skipper’s hand the first time and evaded him on his second attempt to grab at it, giving Pandey a chance to prolong his stay at the crease.

The 24-year-old right-hander stepped away from the pitch for a moment and when he returned he was a picture of focus and confidence. Batting with style and aggression, Pandey scored 161 runs from 266 deliveries with 15 fours and three huge sixes before falling to Gurkeerat towards the end of the second day’s play.

“I was very lucky to be let down there. The first thing that came to mind was that I got a chance so I have to make it big,” said Pandey. “I regained my focus at that point because I had to use that opportunity.”

Pandey took a 103 balls to get to his half-century -- eleven balls to go from 49 to 50 -- and took a mere 70 balls from that point onwards to get to his 12th first-class ton. “I was set and I was batting really well. I then decided that I would have a go against their spinners. I also noticed that they had pulled long on and long off in so I thought that was my best chance. I was able to execute what I had set out to do.”

While Pandey was a picture of content, KL Rahul, who was dismissed in his 90s for the second time in two matches, looked down and out: “I am very disappointed with how I got out. I have never gotten out like that. I still have two games left so I should make two centuries and make up for that.”

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