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All the talking points from the third day of the penultimate round of the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy
Gill continues to knock on the door
Punjab are refusing to give up, and for that they have their young core group to thank for a special effort. They trounced Kerala by 10 wickets to secure seven full points to jump to third in Group B. With top five from Groups A&B qualifying, Punjab will need to also win their remaining match, while also keeping an eye on how the other games pan out.
Siddarth Kaul's second five-wicket haul this season skittled Kerala for 121 on the first day. Punjab rode on half-centuries from Jiwanjot Singh and Mandeep Singh to 96-run lead. Kerala fought back to nudge ahead by 131 courtesy Mohammad Azharudeen's century, but it needed a sterling opening stand between Jiwanjot and Shubman Gill, who made a sparkling 69 not out, to take them to a bonus-point win.
Gill's first-class tally now stands at 990 runs in eight matches and 14 innings, with three hundreds and six fifties. Gill fell 10 short of completing 1000 first-class runs in under nine matches, a feat achieved by no other Indian. Overall, Gill has at least one half-century in each of his eight outings in first-class cricket.
Mumbai knocked out
Winless Mumbai won't have a shot at a 43rd title. The winners of the 2018-19 Vijay Hazare Trophy were handed their third-largest innings defeat in first-class cricket by Vidarbha in Nagpur.
Needing to win each of their remaining games to stay in contention, Mumbai saw their one-time strongman Wasim Jaffer smash 178 in Vidarbha's 511 all out. Then with the bat, Mumbai lasted a combined 113.3 overs in both innings. The second innings, after being made to follow-on, lasted a mere 34.4 overs, in which they were shot out for 113, with Adtiya Sarvate, the left-arm spinner, picking six wickets.
Vidarbha now lead the Groups A&B points table with three wins in seven matches. Mumbai are winless this season, and have just 11 points in seven games.
Krunal Pandya, Baroda's one-man army
Walking in at 36 for 3 on the first morning, Krunal counter-attacked to smash 160 in Baroda's 313. Then he picked 4 for 40 with the ball to skittle Railways for 200. Armed with a 113-run lead, he then hit 104 in the second innings. This set Railways a daunting 271, but they could manage only 106.
Krunal's fourth-innings efforts were milder in comparison - 6-1-19-2 - but he'd left his imprint on the win. The other left-arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt walked away with a five-for too.
Meghalaya bat, bat, bat and.....bat
Meghalaya amassed 826 for 7, the fifth-highest score in Ranji Trophy history to take a vice grip of proceedings over Sikkim, who ended the third day on 72 for 2. They still trail by 535 runs. Punit Bisht amassed the season's first triple century on the second day. Yogesh Nagar and Gurinder Singh continued the run-feast, bringing up centuries of their own while adding 150 for the fifth wicket.
Both sides are out of the reckoning as far as a knockouts berth is concerned.