Mohali: At the PCA Stadium on Tuesday, opener Jiwanjot Singh's third century in five matches continued Punjab's relentless march in the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy season. The home team needed just 55 runs to achieve a target of 204 on Tuesday and Jiwanjot made 30 of those to finish unbeaten on 110 to give Punjab six points over defending champions Rajasthan.
This was Punjab's fourth outright win in five matches and took them to 29 points on the Group A table – 18 clear of their rivals Madhya Pradesh and 12 ahead of Group B leaders Uttar Pradesh. With this loss, their first of the season, Rajasthan remain at second from last with five points from four matches.
Jiwanjot's scores in his maiden season of first-class cricket now read 213, 158, 44, 27*, 61, 5, 1 and 100* for an average of 103.16. He is 22 years old. Also not out as Punjab coasted to 206 for 1 was Ravi Inder Singh, with 60 off 94 balls in a stand of 142 with Jiwanjot.
Bengal averted defeat against an Abhishek Nayar-inspired Mumbai, Saurashtra and Gujarat took three points from stalemates.
Brief scores: Punjab 215 and 206 for 1 in 53.1 overs (Jiwanjot Singh 110*, Ravi Inder Singh 60*) beat Rajasthan 222 and 196 by nine wickets
Bengal staved off defeat against an Abhishek Nayar-inspired Mumbai at the Brabourne Stadium, by holding out for a gripping draw when the match ended with the visitors at 198 for 7. With two half-centuries and six wickets in Bengal's second innings, Nayar so nearly bowled his team to a victory but the hosts failed to take the remaining three wickets in seven overs from the time Nayar bowled Laxmi Ratan Shukla for a duck in a double-wicket over.
Bengal resumed the day on 48 for 0, still 344 runs away from victory in a minimum of 90 overs on a good batting surface, but collapsed from 116 for 0 to 136 for 4 as Nayar ran amok. Bowling his busy medium-pace, the 29-year-old removed Bengal openers Arindam Das (54) and Rohan Banerjee (59) and No. 3 Writam Porel in the space of nine runs. His fourth wicket was Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary, bowled for 14.
Wriddhiman Saha and Subhomoy Das fought for a brief period, but once the latter was dismissed by Ankeet Chavan Mumbai sensed another collapse. Nayar came back for a second spell of 6-5-1-2 in which he added Abhishek Jhunjhunwala (9 off 73 balls) and Shukla with seven overs remaining. But with time running out, Mumbai failed to get the remaining three wickets. Saha, dropped by Kshemal Waingankar early in his innings, battled his way to an unbeaten 38 off 152 balls to earn Bengal one point. Nayar had remarkable figures of 19-12-13-6.
The 39-time Ranji champions took three points from the draw to move up to third place on the Group A table.
Brief scores: Mumbai 297 and 294 for 5 drew with Bengal 201 and 198 for 7 in 106 overs (Arindam Das 54, Rohan Banerjee 59; Abhishek Nayar 6/13)
At Rajkot, Saurashtra settled for three points in a stalemate with Railways, who were bowled out for 335 and then asked to follow-on. In reply, they made 27 for 0 in 17 overs.
In response to the home team's 576 for 9, Railways had crawled to 157 for 1 at stumps on Monday with Shivakant Shukla and V Cheluveraj combining for a stand of 99 in 55.3 overs. On the final day, the overnight stand was snapped by Kamlesh Makvana when Shukla was dismissed for 84. Ravindra Jadeja, Saurashtra's triple-centurion, then removed Cheluveraj for 53 as the pair returned to the pavilion within 12 runs of each other.
Makvana, who scored an unbeaten 100, then proceeded to take five more wickets as Railways folded for 335. PM Madkaikar remained not out on 68 and Murali Kartik hit a run-a-ball 62. Makvana finished with 6 for 102 from 40 overs, Jadeja with 3 for 109 from 47.
Brief scores: Saurashtra 576 for 9 drew with Railways 335 in 133 overs (Shivakant Shukla 84, PM Madkaikar 68*, Murali Kartik 62, V Cheluveraj 53; Kamlesh Makvana 6/102) and 27 for 0 in 17 overs
Gujarat also took three points from their match against Hyderabad in Valsad, by virtue of bowling out the visitors for 375. Hyderabad started the day on 291 for 4 but lost their remaining six wickets for 84 runs. Asked to follow on, Hyderabad reached 124 for 2 with half-centuries to skipper Akshath Reddy (53*) and Bavanaka Sandeep (56*).
The pair had also scored fifties in the first innings as Hyderabad batted their way through day three. Reddy had made 79 and Sandeep moved from an overnight 61 to 90 before he was dismissed by left-arm seamer Rush Kalaria who finished with an excellent analysis of 35-15-41-3. Rakesh Dhurv collected 3 for 127 from 47.1 overs.
In the follow-on, Reddy and Sandeep were sturdy and aggressive after Kalaria removed Kolla Sumanth (0) and Hanuma Vihari (8) in an opening spell of 2 for 13 from six overs.
Brief scores: Gujarat 566 drew with Hyderabad 375 in 145.1 overs (Bavanaka Sandeep 90) and 124 for 2 in 31 overs (Akshath Reddy 53*, Sandeep 56*)