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Services bring down high-flying Punjab

It was Punjab?s ego that actually landed -- though there were planes descending nearby -- at the Palam ground on Thursday.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2006 22:49 IST

It was Punjab’s ego that actually landed -- though there were planes descending nearby -- at the Palam ground on Thursday.

Underestimating an adversary, however feeble, is regarded an unpardonable sin, and Punjab not only underestimated Services but also became complacent. Inevitably, they ended up losing to the grateful Services by two runs, a result that has thrown the cat among the pigeons in terms of qualification to the knockout stage from the North Zone. The result of this match appeared a foregone conclusion to many, especially with Punjab in such imperious form in the tournament, and their players seemed to believe it themselves.

Both teams did their best to lose the match, committing numerous gaffes on the field and the batsmen playing inexplicable strokes to get out. But in the end, it was Services that came home gloating, the match being decided on the last ball.

Sumit Tomar and Yahspal Singh helped Services post a competitive total of 261. Tomar scored a century while Yashpal made a valuable 71. It was yet another debutante who showed the way to his senior counterparts for Punjab as 21-year-old off-spinner Rajesh Sharma grabbed five wickets and helped restrict Services, though at one stage they looked set to score in excess of 275.

Punjab failed to capitalise on fielding restrictions as they only garnered 68 runs from the first 15 overs. Services were more than generous on the field, dropping as many as seven catches at crucial junctures but still managed to pull off an improbable victory in this cliffhanger. Left-arm spinner Arminder Singh claimed five wickets.

Brief scores

Services: 261 for 7 (Sumit Tomar 103, Yashpal Singh 71, Rajesh Sharma 5/29, Dinesh Mongia 2/58) beat Punjab: 259 all out (Pankaj Dharmani 61, Ravneet Ricky 45, Arminder Singh 5/50).

First Published: Feb 16, 2006 22:49 IST