Mohali: Defending champions Mumbai look firm favourites to record their second outright victory against Punjab in a group A league match of the Ranji Trophy on Saturday. Chasing a tough victory target of 399, Punjab were tottering at 108 for four at stumps on the third day with Test discard Yuvraj Singh batting on 19 in company of Uday Kaul (0 batting).
Punjab require 291 runs on the final day with six wickets in hand. It will be an onerous task for Yuvraj to save and get atleast a point for Punjab on the final day.
Veteran pacer Zaheer Khan (2/24) gave a good account of himself in a short eight-over burst in which he removed openers Jiwanjot Singh (31) and Ravi Inder Singh (19).
While Jiwanjot nicked an away-going delivery to wicketkeeper Aditya Tare, Ravi Inder got one that held its line and went past his defence. The other two wickets were taken by left-arm spinner Vishal Dabholkar (2/41), who opened the bowling with pacer Javed Khan.
Earlier, starting the day at 35 for no loss, Mumbai scored 271 in 64.4 overs largely due to 61-bal-62 from middle-order batsman Surya Kumar Yadav. Yadav struck nine boundaries and upped the ante when it required most.
Pacer Javed smashed a quickfire 30-ball-44 which helped Mumbai set a target close to 400. Javed and Vishal added 45 runs for the final wicket which propped up the team total. Javed struck three big sixes apart from three boundaries. For Punjab, left-arm spinner Rajiwnder Singh Golu took five for 102 while skipper Harbhajan Singh grabbed four for 67 as he returned with a match-haul of eight wickets after having taken nine in the first game.
Harbhajan now has taken 17 wickets in four completed innings followed by Mumbai’s Dabholkar with 13 scalps. Dabholkar will get a chance to pick a few more when Mumbai bowl on the final day of the match.
Mumbai 282 and 271 (S Kumar Yadav 62, J Khan 44, R Singh Golu 5/102, Harbhajan 4/67). Punjab 155 & 108/4 (Yuvraj 19 *, Zaheer 2/24).
Delhi concede slender lead
A formidable Delhi side conceded a 25-run first innings lead to Gujarat before reducing the hosts to 89 for four in the second innings at stumps on the third day of their group A Ranji Trophy encounter at the Lalabhai Contractor Stadium on Saturday.
Gujarat now enjoy an overall lead of 114 runs with six wickets in hand and day’s play left to atleast go home with three points. In reply to Gujarat’s first innings score of 320, Delhi were all-out for 295 despite a fighting knock of 104 by Mithun Manhas and steady 64 by Manan Sharma.