New Delhi: For the third match in a row, Harbhajan Singh went wicketless but his team were back to winning ways as they beat Jammu and Kashmir by 19 runs to register their second win in the North Zone leg match of the Vijay Hazare trophy.
It wasn't one of the most convincing wins for Punjab as they could manage only 224 in 49.4 overs -- courtesy 76 by former India colts wicketkeeper-batsman Chandan Madan. The other significant contribution came from Amitoze Singh who scored 54 while Taruwar Kohli contributed 31.
In reply, Jammu & Kashmir fought well but could only manage 205 for nine in their stipulated 50 overs. Harbhajan who hadn't picked any wickets during the two matches against Haryana and Delhi this time gave away 42 runs in seven luckless overs.
It was left-arm spin twins Rajwinder Singh Golu (3/34) and Bipul Sharma (2/41) who made the difference as they got five wickets amongst themselves in the 20 overs giving away only 75 runs. It was pitch where the ball wasn't coming onto the bat nicely and Harbhajan did well as bulk of the bowling was done by spinners.
For J&K, Pravez Rasool (51) and Ian Dev Singh (40) scored a few runs as most of the other batsmen struggled to come to terms with the conditions.
Brief Scores: Punjab 224 in 49.4 overs (C Madan 76, A Singh 54, R Dutta 3/47). J&K 205 in 50 overs (P Rasool 51, ID Singh 40, RS Golu 3/34). Punjab won by 19 runs.
Shukla smashes ton as Bengal register win
Kolkata: Laxmi Ratan Shukla butchered the Jharkhand bowling to smash a magnificent 151 off only 96 balls as Bengal cantered home to an seven-wicket win over defending champions Jharkhand. Chasing an imposing target of 281, the Shukla blitzkrieg led to Bengal finishing the match in only 38.1 overs maintaining a run-rate of 7.38 per over.
The former Bengal skipper, promoted at No 3, hit 16 fours and eight sixes -- mostly off left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem and a few off seamer Jaskaran Singh. He charge down and hit the left-arm spinner inside-out into the gallery.
Shukla, who was promoted up the order, showed his big-hitting prowess as he cleared the ropes at will. Even the early dismissal of Sourav Ganguly (1) didn't stop him from playing his natural game. Often known to throw his wicket away, Shukla reached his third List A ton in 70 balls with help of 11 fours and five sixes.
The win also ensured second bonus point for Bengal as they now have 10 points from two matches look like easing their way through to the knok-out stages of the tournament.
Bengal captain Sourav Ganguly opted to field and his new-ball bowler Mohammed Shami Ahmed immediately provided double breakthrough dismissing Subroto Ghosh (5) and Aakash Verma (5). However Ishank Jaggi (129, 11x4, 3x6) and skipper Saurabh Tiwary (47) added 124 runs for the third-wicket.
Shami was clobbered during his second spell as he had figures of four for 86. Jharkhand's total looked imposing but Shukla and India's Test specialist Wriddhiman Saha (55 no, 60 balls, 4x4, 1x6) added 123 runs in only 13.5 overs to clinch the issue.
Once Shukla was out, Wriddhiman and another in-form batsman Anushtup Majumdar (37 no, 31 balls, 5x4) kept the momentum going adding 74 runs in 7.4 overs to finish off the match.
Brief Scores: Jharkhand 280/6 (I Jaggi 129, Md Shami Ahmed 4/86). Bengal 282/3 in 38.1 overs (LR Shukla 151, W Saha 55 no). Bengal won by 7 wkts. Pts: Bengal 5; Jharkhand -1.