<
>

Mudhasir hat-trick in vain as J&K lose thriller

File photo: Ishank Jaggi struck his seventh List A ton to help Jharkhand gun down a target of 277 against Services ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Mohammed Mudhasir took the first hat-trick for Jammu & Kashmir in List A cricket, but the medium pacer's spectacular work was in vain as Chhattisgarh held on to a narrow four-run victory in Kolkata.

J&K had won the toss, chose to bowl and Mudhasir's 6 for 33 - the best figures for his state in 50-over history - restricted Chhattisgarh to 239 for 9. He took the hat-trick off the first three balls of the 48th over, bowling the set batsman Ashutosh Singh for 31 off 42 balls and then pinning Shubham Agarwal and Rohit Dhruw lbw. Chhattisgarh at that point were 219 for 7 but they still had Abhimanyu Chauhan. The 30-year old playing only his sixth List A game struck a career-best 90 off 89 balls with nine fours and a six and managed to push the total just high enough despite being one of only four men to make a double-digit score.

J&K's reply began terribly with new-ball bowler Pankaj Rao dismissing three of the top four. Parvez Rasool and Puneet Bisht steadied the innings with a couple of half-centuries and at 203 for 6 they seemed favourites again. The equation - 33 runs off 51 balls - was quite manageable but three wickets in the next 15 balls including that of Bisht for 68 off 80 shifted the balance decisively in Chhatisgarh's favour. They used eight bowlers to pull off the heist, with Rao claiming 4 for 35, Sumit Ruikar 2 for 33 and Agarwal, Amandeep Khare, Ashutosh and Sahil Gupta chipping in with a wicket each.

Boundary-laden centuries from Saurabh Tiwary and Ishank Jaggi helped Jharkhand coast to a target of 277 and beat Services by seven wickets and 22 balls to spare. The match highlighted the importance of set batsmen making a big score for Services had four batsmen crossing 40 but none of them went past 54. Shamsher Yadav, the 22-year old, and Gaurav Kochar, the 24-year old, on debut struck the two fifties in the innings.

Jharkhand's bowlers deserve credit for their miserly display in a high-scoring match with left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem picking up 3 for 52 and fast bowler Rahul Shukla chipping in with 2 for 58. In the chase, though Services had dismissed the top three Jharkhand batsmen without sustaining too much damage, Tiwary and Jaggi came together and hammered 214 runs off only 179 balls to seal the game. Tiwary struck six sixes and four fours while Jaggi four sixes and 10 fours.

Mayank Agarwal made 89 out of Karnataka's total of 201 at Eden Gardens and the innings was put in perspective later in the day when Saurashtra's entire batting line-up could only manage 128. Agarwal spent 44.3 overs at the crease. Normally a hard-hitting batsman, his count of five fours and a six indicated he did well adapting to the match situation. Karnataka had gone from from 68 for 4 to 136 for 7 and they needed a set batsman to guide them to a total the bowlers could defend. Saurashtra were reduced to 27 for 5 in the chase and their tail was wiped out by medium pacer Ronit More, who took 4 for 20. Robin Uthappa, who was dismissed for a duck, had a much better time in the field, taking five catches as wicketkeeper.