Punjab sure have thrown up some impressive debutants in their Ranji pre-quarterfinal against Assam played at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali. If it was Ishan Malhatra who impressed on the first two days, Friday found his new-ball partner Harish Puri warming the cockles of the discerning. The fast bowler claimed 5 for 66 in the Assam second innings as the tourists slumped to a ten-wicket defeat in under three days. Punjab now move into the quarter-finals of the premier domestic tournament in the country.
In the morning, Assam, resuming at 53 for two, lost opener Parag Das almost immediately. A 47-run fifth wicket stand between wicketkeeper Syed Zuffri (40) and Sumit Ranjan Das (31), and a 32 from Gautam Datta, were the only bright spots in an otherwise pathetic Assam reply. These cameos ensured that the visitors at least avoided the embarassment of an innings defeat. This though was replaced by the none-too-pleasurable feeling associated with a ten-wicket thumping as the Punjab openers duly notched up the 14 runs required to seal their team's quarterfinal berth.