Ranji Trophy: Services keep Mumbai at bay, Saurashtra in final

New Delhi, Jan 20 (IANS) The Services kept Mumbai bowlers at bay to take the semi-final of the Ranji Trophy into the reserve sixth day here Sunday. In Rajkot, Saurashtra qualified for the final for the first time in 75 years after thrashing Punjab by 229 runs in the other semi-final.

Play finally resumed here after the third and fourth day were abandoned due to inclement weather. Mumbai declared their first innings on 454 for eight and their bowlers came out hard to try and wrap the game.

However, gritty innings from Soumya Swain (64 batting) and Yashpal Singh (43 batting) kept Mumbai at bay after losing three early wickets. The Services were 164 for three at stumps and trail their opponents by 290 runs.

Mumbai, who started the day at 380 for six, added another 74 runs before declaring. Services bowlers were finally able to dismiss Aditya Tare (120) and Mumbai captain Ajit Agarkar (145) after the duo bailed their team out from a precarious situation.

The Services in reply started off shakily as both openers were sent back to the pavilion with just 22 on the board. Anshul Gupta (31) put on a brief resistance before he too was dismissed to send the hosts reeling at 72 for three.

Swain and Yashpal then forged an unbeaten 92-run partnership for the fourth wicket to bring the Services back into the game.

Meanwhile, Vishal Joshi's five-wicket haul in the second innings helped Saurashtra qualify for the final in convincing fashion.

Punjab batsmen fell like nine pins and were bowled out for a meagre 119. It was a pedestrian performance from the visitors with only five batsmen going into double figures.

Joshi was well supported by Dharmendrasinh Jadeja and Jaydev Unadkat as they returned with three and two wickets respectively.

Brief Scores:

In Delhi: Mumbai 454 for eight decl in 152 overss (Ajit Agarkar 145, Aditya Tare 120, Sachin Tendulkar 56, Abhishek Nayar 70; Shadab Nazar 3/142, Suraj Yadav 2/49) vs Services 164 for three (Soumya Swain 63 batting, Yashpal Singh 43 batting; Dhawal Kulkarni 1/18).

In Rajkot: Saurashtra 477 all out and 170 all out vs Punjab 299 all out and 119 all out in 40 overs (Mandeep Singh 33, Inder Singh 25; Vishal Joshi 5/43, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja 3/25, Jaydev Unadkat 2/30) Result: Saurashtra win by 229

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