Ranji Trophy 2012-13, Group A, 8th Round, 4th day December 25, 2012

Gujarat No. 2 in Group A after beating toppers Punjab

ESPNcricinfo staff

Gujarat 266 (Juneja 42, Gohel 41, Sandeep 4-40) and 232 (Juneja 79, Kalaria 33*, Ladda 4-112) beat Punjab 268 (Kaul 93, Mandeep 66, Dhurv 3-51) and 193 (Dhurv 5-76)

Gujarat scored a crucial win over Group A table-toppers Punjab at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium in Valsad. Punjab would have backed themselves to chase 231 for victory, but were bowled out for 193 and fell short in what was shaping up to be a thrilling finish. Left-arm spinning allrounder Rakesh Dhurv picked up eight wickets in the match, including five in the second innings.

Punjab were on the back foot almost from the outset, losing their openers with just 11 on the board. Mandeep Singh made 42 but was short of support and Punjab slipped to 69 for 5. Gurkeerat Singh and Amitoze Singh stretched the score to 112 during their sixth-wicket stand, but Gujarat made inroads again. Dhurv removed Gurkeerat, Siddarth Kaul and Harbhajan Singh in a space of four runs. Punjab gave Gujarat a scare, though, with the last-wicket pair of Sarabjit Ladda and Sandeep Sharma putting together 63, but Dhurv bowled Sandeep to complete his five-for and seal victory for Gujarat. Punjab still lead the table, and Gujarat are second on 21 points.

Rajasthan 299 (Menaria 103) and 234 for 9 decl. (Chouhan 76, Saxena 65) drew with Saurashtra 228 (Makvana 54, Jackson 54, Pankaj 5-61) and 217 for 5 (Kotak 54) need another 295 runs to beat

Saurashtra began the day with intent, going after the remaining 295 runs, but they pulled the shutters after they lost their fifth wicket. Having settled for just the one point, Saurashtra are now placed fifth in Group A, but only three points behind Mumbai and Madhya Pradesh, who are joint-third.

Saurashtra had promoted Shitanshu Kotak and Sheldon Jackson on the third evening, and they set up a good platform through 73 runs in 22.3 overs. Cheteshpar Pujara, though, failed to make an impact for the second time in the match, and fell for 24. Kotak followed soon, and Saurashtra were now struggling at 129 for 3.

Shah counterattacked now with a 35-ball 34, but Saurashtra lost two wickets together. From 164 for 5, Kamlesh Makvana and Aarpit Vasavavda shut shop, and added 53 in 27.2 overs.

Hyderabad 337 (Ashish Reddy 82, Kartik 4-88) and 196 for 8 decl. (Bhandari 57*) drew with Railways 213 (Shinde 5-78) and 280 for 7 (Bhille 65*, Ojha 4-95)

By setting them 321 in 70 overs, Hyderabad didn't leave Railways much time to go for six points, which they desperately needed, but Railways made a fist of it before having to settle for a draw. The one point left Railways at 15 points, well behind the contenders, but not quite out of the tournament. With nine points from seven games, Hyderabad have no chance of progressing.

Kamal Sharma and Mahesh Rawat scored quick 48s to give Hyderabad nervous moments, but Pragyan Ojha accounted for both of them to set the chase back. Nitin Bhille played the anchor role, and scored an unbeaten 65 to ensure Railways salvaged the one point.