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Lower order rally helps Saurashtra eke out lead

Priyank Panchal caresses the ball through cover AFP

Priyank Panchal, the previous season's highest run-getter, brought up his second successive century as defending champions Gujarat plundered Rajasthan in Surat. Gujarat opened up a 297-run advantage by ending the second day on 450 for 3. Bhargav Merai (110) and captain Parthiv Patel (119*) added 174 to help swell the total after Panchal's dismissal for a 223-ball 152 that had 23 fours.

A clash that could potentially decide the second qualifier from Group B was tantalisingly poised with Saurashtra's lower order rallying together to eke out a seven-run lead after Kerala's Sijomon Joseph triggered a middle order collapse. Saurashtra, cruising comfortably on the back of Robin Uthappa's 86, sensationally slipped from 148 for 2 to 178 for 7. A crucial 45-run stand between Jaydev Unadkat and Jay Chauhan gave them the cushion of a lead. Basil Thampi finished with three wickets while Joseph had 4 for 43.

Kerala then powered to 69 for 1 at stumps, with both Rohan Prem and Jalaj Saxena getting off to starts. They were ahead by 62 with two full days remaining, with the prospect of an outright result either way well and truly alive.

An intriguing battle for the first-innings lead is in store for day three in Lahli, as Jammu & Kashmir ended the day on 175 for 7, nine runs behind Haryana's 184. Despite losing opener Shubham Khajuria early on, J&K rebuilt through Ahmed Bandy (67) and Puneet Bisht (35) who added 45 for the third wicket.

From 100 for 2, J&K lost five wickets for 75 runs, with Ajit Chahal dismissing Owais Shah in the last over of the day. Chahal, Harshal Patel and Ashish Hooda finished with two wickets each. Earlier, Haryana added 65 to their overnight score of 119 for 7, with captain Amit Mishra top-scoring with 41. Harshal and Chahal chipped in with 23 and 22 respectively. J&K seamers Ram Dayal (5 for 57) and Mohammed Mudhasir (4 for 56) were the pick of the bowlers.