Ranji Trophy: Haryana faces uphill task for improbable win

Haryana had the better of Andhra on the third day of the Ranji Trophy Group C encounter in Mumbai. It bowled Andhra out for 220, but still faced an uphill task to get to a target of 371 to win. It finished the day needing 243 more runs with seven wickets in hand.

Shubham Rohilla kept Haryana in the hunt with an unbeaten 75, a knock he rates as the best of his career so far.   -  P. K. Ajith Kumar

Sunday will dawn with all four results possible at the Wankhede Stadium.

It is never an easy task to score 371 in the fourth innings, but 18-year old opener Shubham Rohilla has ensured Harayana remained in the hunt in the Ranji Trophy Group C match here on Saturday.

>Scorecard

He was batting on 75 (137b, 7x4) when the stumps were drawn on the third day. Haryana was 138 for three, needing 243 more runs to pull off what would be a remarkable victory, after being bowled for 103 in the first innings.

Haryana would have been even better placed had Rajat Paliwal had not been run out towards the close; he fell to a direct hit from Ashwin Hebbar. He had scored 25, but more importantly, had added 67 for the third wicket with Rohilla.

Earlier, Andhra resumed its second innings at 95 for three. It suffered an early setback when it lost its captain Hanuma Vihari on the fourth over the day off seamer Harshal Patel, for 50 (82b, 8x4). It was his second fifty of the match.

Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals, and Andhra was all out for 220, 45 minutes after lunch. Only D. Siva Kumar, who had taken five wickets in the Haryana first innings, could make some significant contribution; he struck 42 off 63 balls, with four fours and two sixes.

A little later, he was in the thick of actions with the ball too, trapping Nitin Saini in front to provide the breakthrough for Andhra, as Haryana began its chase of a daunting target. Rohilla, of course, made that target look a little less daunting with his fine innings.

'Best innings'

“This has been the best innings of my career so far,” said the left-hander who had made his highest score of 92 earlier in the season. “I am not thinking of the result tomorrow, I just plan to bat on.”

Andhra coach N. Sanath Kumar admitted the day did not go well for Andhra. “We should have got more runs in the second innings, but our batsmen failed to capitalise after getting starts,” he said. “Then we didn’t bowl tidily in the second innings of Haryana. Now, Monday’s morning session is going to be very crucial.”

It sure will be crucial for both sides.