Services clinch crucial session, win to stay top

In a match in which momentum shifted after every other session, Services swung it their way in the first session of the final day of the match, wrapping up a 5-wicket win over J&K at the Palam ground on Tuesday.

Chasing 134, Services, who had resumed on an overnight 71/4, lost only one wicket and that just six runs short of victory, getting home in 21.3 overs. Yashpal Singh, the man to be dismissed, scored a crucial 62. Rajat Paliwal, who had scored a match shaping 121 in the first innings, was unbeaten on 47.

While statistics suggest the chase was easy, J&K indeed put up a strong fight. Throughout the match, the wicket had offered considerable help to the seamers in the first hour, and the first few overs would be crucial. Yashpal and Paliwal however were solid in defence and the danger from seam passed. That from uneven bounce however posed a constant threat.

While one ball would carry at chest height to the keeper, the very next pitched just a few inches away would draw the batsman into exaggerated defence as it scooted close to the ground.

praise for J&K

Yashpal payed tribute to his opponents who kept an accurate line throughout the match. "They made sure we were playing at every delivery. I can't remember the last time I was able to leave the ball. If we had to chase even 200 or 250 to win, it would have been tricky," he said.

And just when batsman hit a shot of confidence, as Paliwal did with an uppercut for four off pacer Ramdayal Punia that took him to 24, the very next ball would force him to revert to a state of caution — Paliwal edged the subsequent delivery between keeper and a wideish first slip.

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