Jiwanjot hits ton, Punjab extend lead

Punjab has been playing like a well-oiled machine this season and almost everything has been going according to plan. As they recorded their season's fourth outright win in five games, Punjab are now not just assured of a place in the knockouts, but have also become the team to beat.

With 29 points in the bag with four wins and one draw, Punjab are well ahead of the rest. It has been 20 years since Punjab last one the Ranji Trophy title and there is a overwhelming feeling within the camp that this could just be their year.

It's been an all-round show from Punjab this season and what has been heartening is that the youngsters, both batsmen and bowlers — Siddharth Kaul and Sandeep Sharma — have stepped it up this season.

On Tuesday it was once again a Jiwanjot Singh show. Jiwanjot, who began his Ranji career with a double century and a century in his first two games, once again showed his temperament and appetite for big runs by remaining unbeaten on 110 off 171 balls.

In fact Punjab took just 12 overs this morning to get the remaining 53 runs required for the outright win.

This was Jiwanjot's third century in five games and most of his runs have been made on these bowler-friendly wickets. Ravi Inder Singh, remained unbeaten on 60 as Punjab won with nine wickets to spare. With 619 runs in eight innings, Jiwanjot averages a staggering 103.16.

The Rajasthan bowlers Pankaj Singh, Aniket Choudhary and Rituraj Singh tried to unsettle Jiwanjot with bouncers but the young batsmen either moved out of harm's way or exhibited control in executing the horizontal bat shots.

Punjab coach Arun Sharma said: "We always saw potential in Jiwanjot. We were struggling with the openers' slot also. But he fitted into the role superbly. Punjab's success this season has been a lot due to Jiwanjot's blistering form. It is not easy facing experienced and quick pacers on the PCA wicket, but he has been tremendous at the top."

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