In the end,Vidharbha could walk off the PCA Stadium with their heads held high. They came into this game virtually unheralded but over a period of four days they first pushed the hosts Punjab into a corner and when Punjab threatened a counterattack,the Vidharbha batsmen showed their temperament and resolve on the last day to end the game with three points to Punjab’s one.
After conceding a 174-run first-innings lead,Punjab,led by a double century by Jiwanjot Singh and a century by Uday Kaul had raced to 469 for six declared and set Vidharbha 294 in about 58 overs for an outright win. The Punjab pacer Sandeep Sharma picked up a wicket in the very first over and when Siddharth Kaul also got one,and with Vidharbha at 46 for two,Punjab were hoping to pull off a miracle and win the tie.
However,Akshay Kolhar and Shalabh Srivastava rose to the occasion and added 140 for the third wicket. Akshay scored 91 and was unlucky to miss out on a well-deserved century but he ensured his side recovered from the initial setbacks. Shalabh scored an unbeaten 60 and when Kaul finally broke the partnership,getting Akshay’s wicket,the two captains decided to call off further play and the game ended in a draw. Vidharbha finished with 186 for three and took their overall tally to 11 points in six games.
Punjab,who came into this game hoping for full points took their tally to 17 off five games and will look back at this game with regret as this was their last home match this season and they will now have to ward off the threat posed by other teams in their group.
Akshay batted with patience,aware the PCA Stadium pitch had the tendency of eaing out and with the pace and bounce dying down on the last day,both Akshay and Shalabh played out time. Punjab tried all they could but couldn’t break the partnership.
Earlier,Punjab batted for another 24 overs in the morning and scored quick runs,adding 139 runs to their overnight 330 for one. Jiwanjot got out immediately after getting his 200 and Uday got out after scoring 133.
For Punjab,Jiwanjot scoring a double hundred and Uday Kaul a hundred was the only silver lining in the match. The Punjab opener scored an impressive 217-ball knock of 217 runs. Uday Kaul too showed class by hammering 218-ball knock of 133 runs. Jiwanjot smashed 25 fours while Uday hit 12 boundaries. Jiwanjot was declared as man of the match for his double hundred.
Brief Scores: Punjab: 184 and 469 for 6 dec (Jiwanjot 200,Uday Kaul 133; Ravi Thakur 2-84,Sandeep Singh 2-86) drew with Vidarbha 360 and 186 for 3 (Kolhar 91,Shrivastava 60 not out).
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