Punjab stare at defeat against minnows Odisha

Mohali: Heavyweights Punjab are staring at an outright defeat after yet another top-order collapse in their second innings against minnows Odisha in a group league encounter of the Ranji Trophy cricket tournament.

While Odisha got a slender first innings lead of 16 runs finishing on 183 due to a little 36 run cameo by wicketkeeper-batsman Haladhar Das, the seam trio of Basant Mohanty (2/16), Deepak Behera (1/18) and Alok Mangaraj (1/3) reduced Punjab to 37 for four at stumps in their second innings with Yuvraj Singh (18 batting) standing between victory and defeat.

Punjab now have an overall lead of 21 runs with six wickets in hand.

Starting the day at 54 for one, Odisha lost wickets at regular intervals due to some fine swing bowling by Siddharth Kaul (5/34) and Sandeep Sharma (3/65) but did enough to reach 183. Anurag Sarangi (47) with five boundaries and Haladhar with three fours and two sixes.

In the second innings, Behera bowled an outswinger that kissed Jiwanjot Singh (0)’s edge to be gobbled up by Haladhar while left-hander Uday Kaul got an outswinger (inswinger bowled by Mangaraj) to get out in identical fashion.

Taruwar Kohli edged one off Mohanty to Anurag sarangi in the slips while his incoming delivery got rid of skipper Mandeep Singh (4), who had hung around for 50 balls.

Yuvraj had six scoring strokes in his 36 balls with four of them being dispatched to the boundary. He has got nightwatchman Siddharth Kaul (1) for company.

Brief Scores: Punjab 167 and 37/4 (Yuvraj Singh 18 batting, Basant Mohanty 2/18)

Odisha 183 (Anurag Sarangi 47, Haladhar Das 36, Siddharth Kaul 5/34).