Haryana v Punjab, Ranji Trophy, Group A, 3rd day November 30, 2013

Gurkeerat, Sandeep set up Punjab win

ESPNcricinfo staff

Punjab 184 (Gurkeerat 51, H Patel 4-60, Budhwar 4-46) and 135 for 7 (Sandeep 37*, Gurkeerat 37) beat Haryana 163 (Barot 65, VRV Singh 5-38) and 155 (Sandeep 6-50) by three wickets

Guided by Gurkeerat Singh and Sandeep Sharma, Punjab overcame a torrid struggle to chase down a target of 135 and eventually beat Haryana by three wickets in Lahli.

Having reduced Punjab to 46 for 6, Haryana had the match in the bag but Sandeep and Gurkeerat put together an assured 71-run stand. Where the other Punjab batsmen, including their top-order, were bogged down under the pressure of the chase, Gurkeerat, who had scored 51 in the first innings, and Sandeep focused on settling down and playing the ball on merit.

Their stand promised to take Punjab to victory but was broken by Harshal Patel who had Gurkeerat caught behind for 37, a decision the batsman was unhappy with. Sandeep then took charge of the innings and hit the winning runs, a little more than four overs after Gurkeerat's dismissal.

Sandeep, promoted ahead of Gurkeerat in the batting order, said he was initially focused on supporting his partner. "I didn't think I could do this on my own. I was initially focused on just staying at the wicket and supporting Gurkeerat. But I learnt from his innings," Sandeep said.

Earlier, Haryana's plans of setting a challenging fourth-innings target were scuttled by VRV Singh and Sandeep. Sachin Rana and Amit Mishra pushed the score to 130 but Rana's wicket, trapped lbw, was part of a slide in which Haryana lost their last five wickets for 25 runs. Sandeep picked up three wickets on the third morning to finish with 6 for 50, while VRV Singh took three wickets for 50 runs.