November 7, 2001

Tight win for Uttar Pradesh over Rajasthan

Staff Reporter

Uttar Pradesh registered an outright victory over Rajasthan in their Ranji Central Zone tie at the Kamla Club grounds in Kanpur on Nov. 3; as a result, the winners picked up the full complement of eight points while Rajasthan gained none.

Rajasthan won the toss and elected to bat, but they could not take full advantage of their time in the middle. Rahul Kanwat (63) and Sanjeev Sharma were the only batsmen to register significant scores; although many got into double figures, none could convert their starts into scores large enough to build a sizeable total. As a result, Rajasthan was bowled out for 250 just before the close of play on Day One.

Uttar Pradesh, although able to take the first innings lead, did not fare significantly better. Jyoti P Yadav, continuing his fine run of form, scored 117 off 241 balls (17 fours, one six), but the only support he got was from Mohammad Kaif, with whom he put up a 130-run partnership. Kaif scored a responsible 55, but the lower middle-order collapsed in a hurry, with the last eight wickets falling for just 62 runs. Bowled out for 281, Uttar Pradesh gained only a slender lead of 31 runs.

The batting department continued to be the bane of both teams in the second innings as well. Rajasthan, who could conceivably have wiped off the first innings deficit and set their rivals a competitive total, refused to buckle down to the task. Aside from an encore from Kanwat, who made 55, the rest of the line-up failed miserably, leaving the side bowled out for 153. Uttar Pradesh captain Gyanendra Pandey was the wrecker-in-chief, returning second innings figures of 16.4-4-33-5.

Uttar Pradesh, thus, needed to make only 123 runs in their chase to win the game; any onlooker, however, could have been forgiven for believing that the target was a mammoth one, judging by the heavy weather that the batsmen made of it. Jyoti P Yadav shone again with 48, but Kanwat, who impressed tremendously with his fighting spirit in this match, and Lokesh Jain did not make runs easy to come by. Kanwat returned figures of 15-2-34-3, picking up seven wickets in the game to go with his twin fifties; Jain's figures read 10.5-2-34-4.

The total, however, was ultimately too small to defend, and Mohammad Saif and Javed Anwar saw Uttar Pradesh safely home with three wickets to spare.