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January 27, 2006
Orissa 94 and 91 for 5 trail Rajasthan 250 ( Doru 67, Mangaraj 5-97) ) by 65 runs
A half-century from Nikhil Doru and his 76-run partnership with Ajay Jadeja lifted Rajasthan to a 156-run lead before Pankaj Singh rocked the Orissa top order to push them to 91 for 5 to propel Rajasthan to a commanding position by the end of the second day in Ranji Plate semi-final at Jaipur. Deepak Mangaraj removed both Doru and Jadeja enroute to his second five-wicket haul but by then the duo had powered their side to a position of strength.
Lalit Modi, the President of Rajasthan Cricket Association, had pumped in lots of money to improve the infrastructure in Rajasthan cricket, also drafting in Ajay Jadeja to captain the side and it has paid dividends. Jadeja, who led the batting averages for Rajasthan this season with a run tally of 493 -that includes four fifties and a hundred- once again, came up with a vital contribution yesterday. Doru chose the right moment to chip in with his second fifty of this season and the duo stretched the first-innings lead.
Pankaj Singh continued with his good first innings performance (4 for 26) with a three-wicket haul in the second to push Orissa on the back foot. Only S Sehgal put up a semblance of fight, facing 100 balls for his 34. Orissa, who led their group in the league stage with 18 points, are now looking down and almost out and barring a minor miracle Jadeja-led Rajasthan will head towards the final.
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