Punjab gains two points from drawn match

Published: Saturday, December 13, 2003, 0:06 [IST]
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New Delhi: Punjab secured two points on the basis of first innings lead as their four-day Elite group A Ranji Trophy cricket match against Railways ended in a draw in New Delhi on Friday.

After Railways' first innings folded up at 390, Punjab did well to overtake the target, making 472 in their reply, for the two points that took their tally to six from five matches.

For the visitors, overnight batsman Ankur Kakkar completed a well-deserved century and remained not out on 124 at close of Punjab innings at the Karnail Singh stadium.

Navdeep Singh stayed close to three hours at the crease for his 35 to frustrate the home side that used as many as nine bowlers to restrict the opposition. J P Yadav, finished with five for 82.

In their second innings, Railways were 114 for four with opener Amit Pagnis unbeaten on 51 and Siddharth Verma on four when the match ended.

Railways must be quite disappointed on their failure to garner any point on home ground and had to be satisfied with their pre-match tally of ten points from five outings.

After making 390, Railways bowled really well to reduce the visitors to 196 for six, brightening the chance of taking the first innings lead. But Kakkar, partnering the lower-order batsmen, proved the nemesis for the homeside. The rear-guard action saw the visitors not only pulling themselves out of the woods but also earn a 82-run lead.

Two points here could have made the task of qualifying to the semi-finals from the group easier for Railways as they will be playing their next match against defending champions Mumbai, undoubtedly the toughest side to beat in the competition.

Their seventh and last round match is against 2000 Ranji Champions Baroda, who are not in their best form and struggling at the moment.

Punjab, on the otherhand, after the morale-boosting draw in New Delhi, could look forward to beat Railways in the race though their last league match is against Mumbai.

Punjab's sixth round match will be against Andhra at home from December 17-20.

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