Brijesh, Neil save the day for Serco

A face-saving unbeaten partnership for the seventh wicket between Brijesh Pujari and Neil Narvekar enabled Serco Global to recover from a precarious position and finish the second day at 158 for six against Western Railway 'A' in their Times Shield 'B' Division semifinal on Wednesday.

Serco would have been more than relieved at the end of the day after they were reduced to 37 for six at one stage in their second innings at the Western Railway ground in Mahalaxmi.

Earlier in the day, the rail-men resumed their first innings at 65 for 3 in reply to Serco's 237 and were bowled out for 265 with a crucial 30-run lead. Their main contributors too came from the lower middle-order with Mukesh Singh and Dhiren Salvi combining for an all-important 112-run stand for the sixth wicket

Mukesh was unlucky to miss out on a deserved ton though as he fell on 95, a knock studded with three sixes and 11 hits to the boundary fence and which came off 136 balls. Left-arm spinners, Amit Kadam and Narvekar, were the wreckers-in-chief for Serco as they finished with three wickets each.

Vikrant Auty (57) and Narvekar (66) were the main scorers for Serco in their first innings as they put on 237 despite left-arm spinner Atish Walinjkar finishing with a five-wicket haul. But having avoided a banana-skin position in the contest and having finished the penultimate day with a lead of 130, Serco have kept themselves in the game with four wicket still in hand. The onus will be again on Pujari and Narvekar now to take the game forward.

Mukesh Singh had once again Railways' most valuable performer, finishing with three wickets.

The other semifinal between Central Railway and Mumbai Port Trust was canceled after the Police Gymkhana ground was deemed to be unplayable. That match will now be played next week.

... contd.

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