Daylight separates Punjab, Saurashtra and rest
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Punjab have been on a roll this season. Helped somewhat by the fact that they have played three of their first four games at home, where the weather and conditions at the PCA Stadium have helped their seam attack, Punjab recorded their third outright win, this time by eight wickets against Saurashtra. They now stay atop Pool A with 23 points and have a virtual ticket to this year's knockouts. Currently in joint second place are Mumbai, Saurashtra and Bengal — all with just six points.
Saurashtra were always doing the catching up from the moment they suffered a sensational collapse on Day One — losing eight wickets for a mere nine runs to be bowled out for 90.
With a 115-run first-innings deficit, they did fare a bit better in the second, getting to 233 but a target of 119 wasn't enough to test the Punjab batting.
The young and upcoming Jiwanjot Singh — already a star in his rookie season — was dismissed for the first time for a single-digit score but fellow opener Karan Goel scored an unbeaten 75 as Punjab romped home with plenty to spare. Goel's knock came in 115 deliveries and included 13 fours and one six. Mandeep, who has had a lean season till now remained unbeaten on 18.
Earlier, in the morning the Punjab bowlers needed a mere eight overs to bag Saurashtra's last three wickets with Siddharth Kaul and Manpreet Gony picking up the remaining wickets.
Siddharth trapped the overnight batsman Sagar Jogiyani leg before wicket on 76, and followed it by dismissing Jaidev Unadkat on 2. Soon, the last man Siddharth Trivedi was sent packing by Manpreet Gony. Siddharth Kaul bagged eight while Sandeep Sharma grabbed 10 wickets in the match for Punjab.
Speaking after the win, the Punjab coach Arun Sharma said, "Our bowlers bowled in the right areas throughout the match. Apart from the first 70-odd runs that Saurashtra made in the first innings, our bowlers did not allow them to dominate. A lot can be attributed to our pacers. They have done well and made good use of the wicket and the conditions."