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Millennium Post

At last after 75 years!

Riding on a splendid bowling performance led by off-spinner Vishal Joshi, Saurashtra on Sunday thrashed Punjab by 229 runs to enter the Ranji Trophy final for the first time in 75 years.

Saurashtra scored 477 in the first innings and took a vital 178-run lead over Punjab by dismissing them for 299.

In the second essay, the hosts were dismissed for 170, setting Punjab a victory target of 349 to win the semi-final match.

However, the visitors were skittled out for 119. Saurashtra took just 21 overs to clean up the eight remaining wickets on the fifth and final day this morning.

Joshi, who scalped four wickets in the first innings, again proved to be the wrecker-in-chief, taking five wickets conceding only 43 runs. He was ably supported by Dharmendra Jadeja (3/25) and Jaydev Unadkat (2/30).

Resuming the day at 45 for 2, Punjab batsmen failed to negotiate Joshi and left-arm leg spinner Dharmendra Jadeja. The visitors surrendered meekly and the entire team was bundled out for a paltry 119 off 40 overs.

Overnight batsmen Mandeep Singh was the first man to be dismissed, outclassed by a beauty from Joshi, and then the rest of the batting order collapsed like a house of cards.

Joshi and Jadeja were simply unplayable on a track that started assisting bowlers from the final session of the fourth day.

Mandeep (33) was the highest scorer for his team in the second essay as half a dozen Punjab batsmen failed to even reach the double digit mark. Ravi Inder Singh contributed 25 runs. Joshi, who finished the match with 9 for 102 runs, was declared man of the match.


SERVICES KEEP MUMBAI AT BAY


Mumbai bowlers came out hard with an aim to defeat the weather gods in their bid to enter the final of the Ranji Trophy for the 44th time, but the bravehearts from Services batted with a lot of purpose, taking the semifinal into the reserve sixth day.

After more than 250 overs had been lost due to inclement weather and damp pitch, Services reached 164 for three in reply to Mumbai’s commendable 454 for eight declared.

While Mumbai need another seven wickets, Services require 291 runs in order to reach the summit round provided there is another short spell of shower, which can again change the script.

Brief scores: Services 164 for 3 (Swain 64*) trail Mumbai 454 for 8 decl. (Agarkar 145, Tare 120) by 290.
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