All-rounder Jalaj Saxena picked up seven wickets for 51 runs with his off-spin to guide Kerala to a 21-run win over Punjab in a low-scoring Ranji Trophy in Thiruvanthapuram.
Chasing a meagre 146 runs for win, Punjab lost wickets at regular intervals with Saxena turning out to the star for Kerala on the third and penultimate day of the four-day match. Besides Saxena, left-arm orthodox bowlers Sijomon Joseph (2/37) and MD Nidheesh (1/18) were the other wicket takers as Kerala shot out Punjab for 124 in their second innings.
Lower-order batsmen Mayank Markande (23) and Siddharth Kaul (22) were the top-scorers for Punjab even as skipper Mandeep Singh (10), Sanvir Singh (18) and Gurkeerat Singh (18) failed miserably in what should have been an easy chase.
Earlier, resuming at the overnight score of 88/5 Kerala were bundled out for 136 in their second innings, setting a gettable target of 146 for Punjab. Akshay Chandran top-scored with 31, while Kaul (5/39) and Gurkeerat (4/45) shone with the ball for Punjab. Kerala pocketed six points by virtue of the outright win.
In another Group A match in Ongole, Andhra need seven more wickets on the final day to register an innings win over Hyderabad. At stumps, Hyderabad are still trailing Andhra by 219 runs with seven wickets in hand. After scoring 225 in their first innings, Hyderabad were 45/3 in their second essay.
Andhra declared their first innings at a mammoth total of 489/8. In another Group A encounter in Jaipur, Rajasthan made 327 for seven in their first innings in reply to Gujarat’s 325.
Haryana three wickets for victory
Odisha needed 32 runs while Haryana required three wickets, leaving their Group C clash tantalisingly poised in Rohtak on Monday. As many as 12 wickets tumbled at the Chaudhary Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium in Lahli with Odisha medium pacer Suryakant Pradhan claiming 5/86 and also effecting a run-out to help Odisha seize control in the first hour.
In a fine display of seam bowling, Pradhan claimed three wickets in five overs en route to figures of 5/86. Pradhan also ran out the No 10 Ashish Hooda (0) as Haryana lost five wickets in 12 overs to be bundled out for 248.
Folded for 90 in their first innings, Haryana staged a fightback to see through the second day on 218/5. But Pradhan’s stupendous bowling ensured that they lost the remaining five wickets for 30 runs inside the first hour, setting a paltry target of 179.
It was time for Haryana medium pacer Ajit Chahal to grab the limelight with his 6/65 as Odisha made a mockery of the chase to find themselves reeling at 147/7 at close of play.
Rajesh Dhuper was unbeaten on 29 with Rajesh Mohanty (four not out) for company as the group C leaders strived to keep themselves in hunt for a fourth outright win. Unbeaten in four matches, Odisha, with three wins and a draw, have 22 points from four matches, one clear of second-placed Haryana.
Openers Sujit Lenka (28) and Shantanu Mishra (19) gave Odisha a sedate start with a 41-run partnership.
But Chahal came to haunt the visiting batsmen by giving the breakthrough at the stroke of first drinks break, trapping Lenka, as Odisha lost five wickets for 37 runs. With Chahal on a roll, it was Govinda Poddar (30), Suryakant Pradhan (12) and Rajesh Dhuper (29*), who showed some resistance to take Odisha closer to the target.
Bihar rout Manipur in three days
Medium pacer Abhijeet Saket returned with a career-best match haul of 10 wickets to power Bihar to an innings and 183-run victory over Manipur.
Saket, who had claimed 7/12 against Mizoram in the last outing, was again at his best this morning, grabbing 7/43 as Manipur were skittled out for 94 with only two of their batsmen getting to double digits.
Following on, Manipur fought better with No 8 Rex Rajkumar waging a lone battle during his 77 not out, but Shivam Kumar (4/68) and Abhijeet (3/35) shared seven wickets between them to bundle them out for 154 in 43.5 overs, handing Bihar their second victory.
The 24-year-old claimed a career-best match haul of 10/78 in his fourth appearance. He now has 21 wickets at an average of 12.14. Bihar opener Indrajit Kumar, who laid the foundation with his 134 on the opening day, was adjudged Player of the Match. Bihar now have 15 points from four matches to be at fourth place, while Manipur have 12 from five games.
At Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala 227 & 136 (Akshay Chandran 31; Siddharth Kaul 5/39) beat Punjab 218 & 124 (Mayank Markande 23; Jalaj Saxena 7/51) by 21 runs.
At Ongole: Hyderabad 225 & 45/3 (Tanmay Agarwal 20*, Jaweed Ali 16*; Paidikalva Vijaykumar 3/8) vs Andhra 489/8 decl. (Prasanth Kumar 119, Karan Shinde 94, C R Gnaneshwar 73; Mehdi Hasan 3/150)
At Jaipur: Gujarat 325 vs Rajasthan 327/7 (Ashok Maneria 86, Manender Singh 72; Arzan Nagwaswalla 3/71).
In Guwahati: Chhattisgarh 318 and 25/1 Assam 464/9 decl. (Gokul Sharma 129, Saahil Jain 88, Rishav Das 99, Riyan Parag 60; Sumit Ruikar 3/94, Ajay Mandal 3/100).
In Agartala: Uttarakhand 90 and 21/1; 11 overs. Tripura 279/5 decl (Harmeet Singh 102, SM Singha 58 not out, RA Dey 54).
In Rohtak: Haryana 90 and 248; 86.1 overs (Shubham Rohilla 48, Ankit Kumar 46, Himanshu Rana 40; Suryakant Pradhan 5/86). Odisha 160 and 147/7.
In Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir 360 and 184/5; 63 overs (Shubham Singh Pundir 90 batting, Parvez Rasool 45; Diwesh Pathania 3/41) Services 242 (Arun Bamal 48, Arjun Sharma 47, Pathania 41).
In Nagothane: Maharashtra 434. Jharkhand 170 (Saurabh Tiwary 62, Virat Singh 43; SS Bacchhav 5/55 and MG Choudhary 3/21) and 47/1.
In Balurghat: Bihar 431. Manipur 94; 38.1 overs (Abhijeet Saket 7/43) and following on 154; 43/5 overs (Rex Rajkumar 77; Shivam Kumar 4/68, Saket 3/35).
In Sovima: Nagaland 534/7 declared and 10/0. Arunachal Pradesh 460 (Rahul Dalal 267*, Akhilesh Sahani 65; Imliwati Lemtur 5/123, Shrikant Mundhe 4/96).
In Chandigarh: Sikkim 264 and 69/3; 26 overs. Chandigarh 360; 97.4 overs (Gurinder Singh 99, Bipul Sharma 58, Raman Bishnoi 51, Uday Kaul 44; Iqbal Abdulla 4/89, Ishwar Chaudhary 4/105).
In Puducherry: Goa 270 and 229/5; 83 overs (Snehal Kauthankar 64*, Smit Patel 60, Darshan Misal 48*). Puducherry 260.
In Kolkata: Meghalaya 662/4 decl. (Sanjay Yadav 254*, DB Ravi Teja 204*, Dipu Sangma 114). Mizoram 114/7; 55 overs.
More to follow...