Services beat Assam with a bonus point, make a point
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Services players with many seasons under their belt lapsed into reminiscing about glory days soon after the end of their 10-wicket win over Assam on the third day of their Ranji tie. Eventually they managed to recall that the last time they had won a match with a bonus point was six years back against Tripura in the 2006 season.
But while that win was against a team of minnows, Monday's triumph at the Palam ground came against the table toppers of Group C. And while neither Shadab Nazar nor Rajat Paliwal were part of the Services setup at the time of that win, their performances in the last few days were integral to make the one against Assam possible.
The game had been set up by Rajat Paliwal's 167, which had given the home team a big lead and on the penultimate day it was Shadab Nazar, who provided the finishing touches with the ball.
Playing his maiden First-Class season, Nazar picked up his second consecutive six-wicket haul to bowl out Assam for just 170 runs to set up a small chase.
Resuming on an overnight score of 302 for 8, Services lasted just 9 overs in the morning for the addition of 24 runs with Paliwal — starting the day on 143 — scoring all of them.
Although Assam wrapped up the tail quickly, it proved to be a double edged sword. Over the past three days it had been observed that the newly-laid Palam ground had been providing early assistance to the seamers and Services would make the most of that advantage.
Nishan Singh, who had earlier been involved in a crucial 92-run partnership for the ninth wicket, struck early removing Assam stalwart Dheeraj Jadhav for one in the second over of the innings. Suraj Yadav then bowled next man Gokul Sharma with a ball that nipped in. Opener Pallav Das and Amit Sinha tried to stick around but Nishan prised out Das lbw as Assam went into tea at 45 for 3.