Ranji Trophy: Tamil Nadu earns three points against Punjab

Punjab, trailing from the first innings, resumed at 121 for two, and declared at 369 for five, presenting Tamil Nadu a target of 306 in a minimum of 52 overs, but Tamil Nadu safely played out a draw.

Manpreet Gony provided some entertainment as he smashed eight sixes on the final day.   -  PTI

Spectator presence can be such a novelty at domestic cricket, worthy of celebrations indeed. Manpreet Grewal took entertainment to the sparse audience at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium here on Thursday with a flurry of robust hitting. His eight sixes apart, there was little of note on the final day of the Ranji Trophy match with Tamil Nadu garnering three points and Punjab one from the drab draw.

>Scorecard

Punjab, trailing from the first innings, resumed at 121 for two, and declared at 369 for five, presenting Tamil Nadu a target of 306 in a minimum of 52 overs. Improbable given the fact that Tamil Nadu was not to be tempted having secured the first innings lead to boost its tally to 23 from six matches, three less than Mumbai in similar matches. The next best in the group are Gujarat with 21 points from five matches and Punjab 17 from six.

An outright result was hardly on the minds of the Tamil Nadu players even as Punjab looked to make something out of the final day’s play. Uday Kaul made 65 (157 balls, 7x4), Mandeep Singh 128 (160 balls, 17x4, 2x6), Gurkeerat Mann 55 (45 balls, 9x4) and Grewal 66 (36 balls, 3x4, 8x6). The scoring rate was brisk and Tamil Nadu was hard-pressed to check the flow of runs.

Grewal, popularly known as Gony, belted the Tamil Nadu attack with disdain. He followed the instructions to score fast with an electric assault. It did not matter if seamers K. Vignesh and Aswin Crist pitched the ball at the right slot. They all came within Grewal’s firing range and were dismissed in a sledgehammer impact, the resounding sound of the ball exploding off the face of Grewal’s bat so prominent at this calm venue.

In one over of Crist, the hefty frame of Grewal got into a furious mode and smashed four sixes in four directions. One of the shots needed the ball to be replaced as it landed out of the stadium. The spectators, even if just a handful, loved it but the game was to slip into a meaningless zone soon. Punjab did not have the wherewithal to create a victory and Tamil Nadu was too happy to close shop and hop home with confidence recharged before regrouping for the final league game at Belgaum against Gujarat from December 7.