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Ranji round-up: Harbhajan lifts Punjab to victory, Mumbai down UP

Last updated on: December 24, 2014 21:19 IST

File picture: Harbhajan Singh hits out. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

Half-centuries from captain Harbhajan Singh and Gurkeerat Singh Mann lifted Punjab to a thrilling three-wicket victory against last year's runners-up Maharashtra in the Ranji Trophy Group B match in Pune.

Chasing a victory target of 204, Punjab knocked off the runs in 46.5 overs largely due to the 86-run stand in only 13.3 overs between Harbhajan and Gurkeerat Singh Mann (73 not out).

Earlier, Maharashtra finished first innings at 384 courtesy of centuries from Kedar Jadhav (109) and Rahul Tripathi (103).

Harbhajan faced 53 balls hitting four boundaries and three sixes as his counter-attack raised visions of an outright win after Punjab were reduced to 68 for four in the 24th over after Jiwanjot Singh (9), Uday Kaul (26), Amitoze Singh (7) and Mandeep Singh (11) were all back in the pavilion.

It was Maharashtra's left-arm seamer Samad Fallah, who rocked the top-order with three early wickets.

Refusing to play for a draw, Harbhajan took on opposition's left-arm spinner Akshay Darekar hitting him for a couple of sixes. He also took on their medium pacer Shrikant Mundhe as Punjab consolidated at a brisk pace.

Gurkeerat, who has been in fine touch from the start of the domestic season, also rotated the strike well as he hit seven fours and a six in his 80-ball knock.

By the time, Harbhajan was holed out in the deep off Mundhe's bowling, Punjab needed just 53 runs with five wickets still intact.

Yuvraj Singh (13) couldn't recreate his first innings magic as he became Fallah's fourth victim.

The veteran pacer completed his five-wicket haul, dismissing Geetansh Khera (0) with Punjab still needing 21 runs.

But Gurkeerat and Siddharth Kaul (9) ensured there were no late dramas the duo batted sensibily to take their team home.

Brief Scores:

Maharashtra 210 and 384 (Kedar Jadhav 109, Rahul Tripathi 103, Sandeep Sharma 4-74) vs Punjab 391 and 205-7 (Gurkeerat Singh 73 not out, Harbhajan Singh 50, Samad Fallah 5-60).

Delhi thrash Rajasthan

Delhi bowlers led by young pacer Navdeep Saini complemented Unmukt Chand's well-made century as the hosts convincingly beat Rajasthan by an innings and seven runs to gain a bonus point in the Group B match of the Ranji Trophy in New Delhi, on Wednesday.

In their bid to erase the 239-run deficit in their second innings of the four-day encounter at the Feroz Shah Kotla, Rajasthan opener Siddharth Saraf's brave 88 raised visions of a point for the visitors but finally ran out of steam being all out for 232 all out with all but 10 overs left in deteriorating light.

Earlier, Delhi rode on man-of-the-match Unmukt's 146 to declare their innings on 380 for six after their bowlers had skittled out Rajasthan for 141 in the first innings.

In a match severely interrupted by dense fog, the visitors started the proceedings on 78 for two but Karnal born medium-pacer Saini, who bagged four wickets, struck early to give Delhi the perfect start.

Overnight batsman and captain Ashok Menaria (19) was trapped leg before wicket and first-innings top-scorer Rajesh Bishnoi was caught behind but new-man Arjit Gupta (37) was lucky to escape after a thick edge fell just short of Virender Sehwag at first slip as Saini missed out on a hat-trick.

But the fifth-wicket 79-run partnership between Saraf and Gupta frustrated the Delhi bowlers no end as Rajasthan took lunch at 101 for four.

Saraf completed his fourth first-class fifty after lunch and carried on the good work.

Gambhir introduced spin and once again the visitors were pushed on the backfoot as off-spinner Shivam Sharma (3-40) and left-arm orthodox Varun Sood (2-39) worked well in tandem.

Shivam bowled Gupta with one that turned and Sood quickly sent back wicketkeeper-batsman Dishant Yagnik (5) and Aristh Singhvi (5).

Just when it seemed like a cakewalk for Delhi in the final session, the ever-resilient Saraf found a partner in number-ten batsman Shailender Gehlot (19) to stitch a 33-run ninth-wicket partnership to try and steal a point.

It was Shivam who sounded the death knell for Rajasthan when the young spinner bowled Saraf on another turning delivery to help the hosts claim a comfortable victory.

Brief scores:

Rajasthan 141 & 232 (S Saraf 88, N Saini 4-48, S Sharma 3-40) vs Delhi 380-6 dec (U Chand 146, Sehwag 64).

All-round Thakur lifts Mumbai to victory against UP

A brave all-round effort by Mumbai pace spearhead Shardul Thakur helped Mumbai register a convincing eight-wicket win against Uttar Pradesh in the Group A Ranji Trophy match in Kanpur.

Thakur, who recorded a match-tally of nine wickets with a six-wicket haul in the first-innings, not only troubled the UP batsmen with his wicket-taking ability but also contributed with a defiant 87 while batting at No.9 in Mumbai's first innings.

The 23-year-old pacer along with new-ball partner Wilkin Mota (4-30) tore into the UP batting line-up to bundle out the hosts for 161 on the fourth and final day at the Green Park stadium.

Chasing a modest 98 for victory, the Suryakumar Yadav-led Mumbai raced to their target in 15.4 overs.

Openers -- Sushant Marathe (17) and Bravish Shetty (9) -- failed to give the 40-time Ranji champions a bonus point but Yadav (47) and Abhishek Nayar (20) stood unconquered with a 63-run stand.

Man-of-the-match Thakur, who bagged his third first-class five-wicket-haul in the first innings, helped Mumbai bowl out UP for 206 in their first innings.

In reply, Mumbai were reeling at 173 for eight before Thakur, registering his maiden first-class half-century, stitched a 97-run ninth-wicket partnership with Kshemal Waingankar (31 not out) to help the visitors get 270 and claim the vital first-innings lead.

The Mumbai lower-order showed the will to fight as No.7 Shreyas Iyer (75) also fought it out with a seventh-wicket 66-run stand with Mota and a 50-run eight-wicket partnership with Thakur.

For UP, Praveen Kumar (3-77) and Amit Mishra (4-63) did their bit but the lower-order resistance spoiled their initial hard work.

Mumbai, who were stunned by Jammu and Kashmir in their opening encounter at the Wankhede stadium, have recorded their first win after gathering a single point against Railways in their second match.

Brief Scores:

Uttar Pradesh 206 and 161 (Umang Sharma 60, Praveen Kumar 47; Shardul Thakur 3-70, Wilkin Mota 4-30) vs Mumbai 270 and 98/2 in 15.4 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 47 not out, Ankit Rajput 2-34).

Mithun takes five as Karnataka decimate Railways

Karnataka reaffirmed their status as the giants of domestic cricket outclassing Railways by 136 runs to record their third successive outright victory in the Ranji Trophy Group A match at the Karnail Singh stadium, in Delhi.

Such has been the dominance of the Ranji champions that they are now on 18 points from three games with Jammu and Kashmir, a distant second with nine points in their kitty.

Pacer Abhimanyu Mithun wreaked havoc with 5/31 as Karnataka dismissed Railways for 114 in 43 overs, chasing a tricky target of 251 after the visitors declared on 174 for five.

With Delhi's foggy conditions robbing crucial match time, Karnataka batted only eight overs on the final morning before setting the hosts a challenging target of 251.

"After lunch, we had around 55 overs left. We took a chance and delivered. I am happy with my effort too. I was bowling really well from the one-dayers. So rhythm is there and I got the result here too," said Mithun.

Brief Scores:

Karnataka 247 and 174-5 decl (Robin Uthappa 97, Karun Nair 63, Anureet Singh 3-67) vs Railways 171 and 114 (Abhimanyu Mithun 5-31).

Gujarat get first innings points against Saurashtra

Gujarat secured three points by virtue of their all-important 48-run first innings lead against hosts Saurashtra in their group match of the Ranji Trophy in Rajkot on Wednesday, which ended in a draw.

After bowling out Saurashtra for 207, Gujarat managed 248 in their first essay to ensure three points. Saurashtra gave a better account of themselves in the second innings scoring 364 for five but didn't have time bat their disposal to force an outright win.

Chasing a target of 324 runs to win, Gujarat made 130 for two in 48 overs when play was called off on the fourth and final day.

Resuming at their overnight 280 for 3, the hosts declared their innings at 364 for five riding on Sheldon Jackson's 156 but Gujarat's batsmen held out.

Brief scores:

Saurashtra 207 and 364-5 dec (Sheldon Jackson 154, Arpit Vasavada 88, Axar Patel 2-101) vs Gujarat 248 and 130 for 2 off 48 overs (Priyank Panchal not out 75, Bhargav Merai 36).

Karthik's century helps Tamil Nadu get a point versus MP

Wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik blasted his 20th first-class century to end his poor run with the bat and help Tamil Nadu draw their Ranji Trophy match against Madhya Pradesh in Chennai.

Karthik's whirlwind 115-ball-129 which had 12 fours and three sixes was ably complemented by Baba Indrajith (63) as Tamil Nadu put up an improved batting performance after following-on, scoring 369.

This left Madhya Pradesh chasing a target of 181 in around 50 overs but once left-arm spin duo of Rahil Shah (3-32) and R Aushik Srinivas (1-15) reduced MP to 30 for four in 16 overs, they were unable to push for victory and finished on 112 for four to settle for a draw.

Naman Ojha (59) and skipper Devendra Bundela (16 not out) playing his 20th season in Ranji Trophy decided to opt for the safer route of three points courtesy of their first innings lead.

Bundela defended everything that came his way facing as many as 90 balls for a painstaking innings of 16.

Brief Scores:

Madhya Pradesh 437 and 112 for out (Naman Ojha 59 not out) vs Tamil Nadu 248 and (f/o) 369 (Dinesh Karthik 129, B Indrajith 63).

J&K secure three points against Baroda

Jammu and Kashmir secured three crucial points for gaining the first innings lead over Baroda in a drawn Ranji Trophy Group A match in Vadodara.

Hosts Baroda, starting the day at 370 for seven, were all out for 426, 71 runs short of J&K's first innings total.

The visitors were in all sorts of trouble in the second innings, as they finished on 147 for nine at stumps on the fourth and final day with Sagar Mangalorkar taking six wickets for 46 runs.

J&K have nine points from three games while Baroda at the bottom with two points from two draws.

Brief scores:

J&K 497 and 147 for nine (Ram Dayal 39; Sagar Mangolkar 6/46) vs Baroda 426 (Saurabh Wakaskar 172).

Kerala gets three points in drawn match

Tanmay Agarwal (110) and Akshath Reddy (104) hit centuries but Kerala pocketed three points in their drawn encounter against Hyderabad in the Ranji Trophy Group C match in Wayanad.

The duo led Hyderabad's good comeback as they put on a huge 235-run opening partnership.

Left-hander Agarwal hit 15 boundaries in his 229-ball innings, while Akshath cracked 10 fours and two sixes in his unbeaten 225-ball stay at the Krishnagiri Stadium.

Skipper Sachin Baby, who scored an unbeaten double century on the third day on Tuesday, was the only wicket-taker for Kerala as he dismissed Agarwal in the 73rd over.

It was a solid batting display by Hyderabad after they were dismissed at 270 in their first innings before Kerala replied with 447 for seven declared.

Brief scores:

Hyderabad: 270 and 249 for one (T Agarwal 110, P A Reddy 104 not out; S baby 1/28) vs Kerala 447/7 in 158 overs (Sachin Baby 200, K Monish 60)