Kuljit, Mansab put Punjab in driverís seat

Kuljit Kuhar's lethal bowling (4 for 28) and Mansab Gill's gritty knock (42) put Punjab in a commanding position against Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) in the Under-16 Vijay Merchant Trophy cricket tournament on Monday. Kuljit decimated the JKCA batting line up while Mansab helped the team take vital lead on pitch which was difficult to bat on.

Earlier, Punjab won the toss and keeping the conditions in mind, invited JKCA to bat first. Punjab met with immediate success and Kulhar striked the first blow on JKCA with mere two runs on the board. Punjab bowlers continued to make inroads into the JKCA batting line up as the batting team was soon staring down the barrel at 44 for 5.

Mansoor (10) and Latif (14) showed some resistance and added 33 runs for the sixth wicket, but they could not prevent the Punjab bowlers from dominating. JKCA lost their last three wickets cheaply and their innings folded at 99 in 47.2 overs. Farooq (24) and Tushar Gupta (17) were the main run-getters for JKCA.

Kuljit was the pick of the bowlers for Punjab as his four wickets helped the team bundle out the opposition cheaply. Resham Sharma (3 for 15) and Ekjot Singh (2 for 20) also bowled well.

In reply, Punjab also received an early jolt when skipper Sanvir Singh was caught by Farooq off the bowling of Ramandeep for duck. The team's total at that time was 2 for 1.

However, Punjab built their innings as Rajat Sharma and Mansab Gill got into the rescue act and put on 65 runs off 136 balls for the second wicket. Mansab was out for 42 which he made off 68 deliveries with the help of seven boundaries.

Shubham Chand chipped in with 26 runs off 36 balls. Rajat Sharma was unbeaten on 31 runs as Punjab were comfortably placed at 108 for 3 in 40 overs. Punjab has already taken a lead of nine runs. Ramandeep and Sunil bagged a wicket each for JKCA.

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