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Saurashtra on the brink of victory

Seamer Sandeep Jobanputra picked up five wickets in six overs to take Saurashtra to the doorstep of victory over Rajasthan in the Ranji Trophy Plate Division final.

india Updated: Feb 05, 2006 15:25 IST
G Krishnan

Left-arm seamer Sandeep Jobanputra picked up five wickets in six overs to cap off a remarkable day. His strikes with the ball took Saurashtra to the doorstep of victory over Rajasthan in the Ranji Trophy Plate Division final. Earlier in the day, he had scored 54, to take Saurashtra beyond 400.

On the third day of the title clash on Saturday, Saurashtra, having taken a 207-run first innings lead, removed the first five Rajasthan batsmen for just 99, with only skipper Ajay Jadeja holding fort. Jadeja can only delay the inevitable on Sunday, and possibly avoid an innings defeat when he resumes on 21, along with Dishant Yagnik, also on 21.

Rajasthan have only themselves to blame for having let Saurashtra off the hook and walk away with such a huge first innings total. The hosts, resuming at 250 for six, went on to make 408 with Benson Songavkar making 52 and sharing 58 for the seventh wicket with Kamlesh Mokwana (39).

Number 10 Jobanputra and last man Sandeep Maniyar raised 59 for the last wicket. Rajasthan’s fielding was pathetic. It is believed that they dropped some 45 catches coming into the final, and these did not include the hard ones. Their sloppy work continued against Saurashtra on the three days that they have been on the field.

Runs continued to come at a slow pace from Saurashtra batsmen, who looked to block the deliveries. Jaydev Shah, who retired on 51 on Friday, returned at the fall of Songavkar, and played powerful shots on the off side. He was lucky, when on 63 he slashed medium-pacer Afroz Khan to Singh at point, the fielder flooring a straight-forward chance. Shah went on to score 83 before guiding a Rahul Kanwat sharp turned into the hands of Mithun Beerala at slips.

Saurashtra's resistance finally ended when Jadeja, leading by example, latched on to a difficult chance, bending backwards at wide mid-off to remove Jobanputra. Jobanputra, the bowler, then caught the Rajasthan top order off guard. He maintained a tidy length and varied his line to trouble the batsmen. He dealt the first blow in his fifth over by castling Rohit Sharma for the second time in the match.

The 23-year-old was on a hat-trick when he angled one across Gagan Khoda, forcing the right-hander to edge to wicket-keeper Jogiyani. Number three Nikhil Doru shouldered arms and was trapped leg before and the experienced Rahul Kanwat slashed outside off-stump and edged to Sitanshu Kotak at slips.

Scoreboard

Rajasthan 1st innings: 201

Saurashtra 1st innings: (Vaghela c Yagnik b Gehlot 34, Jogiyani c Yagnik b Khan 58, Joshi c Yagnik b Khan 0, Shah c Beerala b Kanwat 83, Kotak c Yagnik b Kanwat 10, Rathod c Yagnik b Khoda 31, Songavkar c Yagnik b Singh 52, Dhruv lbw Khan 6, Mokwana c Yagnik b Singh 39, Jobanputra c Jadeja b Singh 54, Maniyar not out 12, Extras -- b-6, lb-2, w-2, nb-19 -- 29)

Total: 408

Fall of wkts: 1-85, 2-89, 3-109, 4-170, 5-211, 6-226, 7-284, 8-323, 9-349

Bowling: Gehlot 34-8-93-1, Singh 39.2-9-114-3, Aslam 19-6-35-0, A Khan 33-5-86-3, Kanwat 22-8-36-2, Sharma 5-1-29-0, Jadeja 3-0-5-0, Khoda 2-1-2-1

Rajasthan 2nd innings: (Beerala b Jobanputra 9, Sharma b Jobanputra 10, Doru lbw Jobanputra 18, Khoda c Jogiyani b Jobanputra 0, Kanwat c Kotak b Jobanputra 8, Yagnik batting 21, Jadeja batting 21, Extras -- lb-6, w-2, nb-4 -- 12)

Total (for 5 wkts): 99

Fall of wkts: 1-21, 2-33, 3-33, 4-43, 5-64

Bowling: Maniyar 13-3-40-0, Jobanputra 14-3-44-5, Dhruv 4-1-7-0, Mokwana 2-0-2-0

First Published: Feb 05, 2006 04:55 IST