Match hangs in balance as Haryana need 170 with 8 wkts in hand

Match hangs in balance as Haryana need 170 with 8 wkts in hand

An intriguing third day is on the cards as hosts Haryana need another 170 runs to win with eight wickets in hand against defending champions Rajasthan in the Ranji Trophy semi-final, being played at Bansi Lal Stadium.

Rajasthan batsmen gave a better account of themselves in the second innings scoring 192, after Haryana's first innings folded at 97 providing the hosts a slender lead of eight runs.

The hosts were precariously placed at 15 for two at stumps chasing 185, with in-form opener Rahul Dewan (0) and experienced No 3 Sunny Singh (1) both back in the hut.

A target of 185 is certainly achievable but what makes the total look competitive has been the lack of technique to battle it out on a seaming track.

The manner in which Dewan and Sunny poked at away-going deliveries without any feet movement, it showed that hosts were batting with a defensive mindset. Promoting Harshal Patel as night-watchman was another indication.

Probably Haryana can do themselves world of good if they can take a leaf out of veteran Rajasthan opener Vineet Saxena's (58, 119 balls, 10x4) book.

Saxena is not one of the most attractive players but he had the guts to fight it out on a challenging strip where each and every run was important. Saxena looked good for a big score but an unfortunate misunderstanding with Robin Bist (44, 109 balls, 4x4, 1x6) saw him get run-out. Rajasthan's chance for a bigger lead vanished with Saxena's dismissal.

Bist along with senior-pro Rashmi Ranjan Parida (23) and Puneet Yadav (22) all got out after getting set. Sachin Rana's military medium stuff got him four scalps while Harshal Patel and skipper Amit Mishra got two wickets each.

Harshal thus had career-best match-figures of 10 for 79. But tomorrow a few runs with willow would certainly help his cause.