Ranji Trophy: Musaif’s 89 goes in vain as Baltej, Abhishek, Mandeep power Punjab to victory


JAMMU: Promising middle-order batsman, Musaif Ajaz’s magnificent 89 runs went in vain as medium pacer Baltej Singh produced a superb bowling show before the duo of talented opening batsman Abhishek Sharma and skipper Mandeep Singh shone with the willow to power Punjab to a 4-wicket win over Jammu and Kashmir in the Ranji Trophy Elite Group-D match at IS Bindra Cricket Stadium, PCA, Mohali on Friday.
Needing 205 runs to win in 38 overs, Punjab rode on a power-packed innings of 83 runs by Abhishek Sharma and scored the required runs in just 24.5 overs by losing 6 wickets, thus won the match by 4 wickets. Abhishek scored 83 runs in just 47 balls, studded with 9 fours and 4 sixes, while skipper Mandeep Singh remained unbeaten on valuable 45 runs off 39 balls with 3 fours and one six. Prabhsimran Singh (31), Anmol Malhotra (17) and Mayank Marka de 5-ball unbeaten 14 were the other contributors. Abhishek, in particular, shaped the win for his team by sending the bowlers on a leather hunt from the word go.
For J&K, Abid Mushtaq took 4 wickets by giving away 56 runs in his 8 overs, while Taizeem Younis Tak claimed one wicket.
Earlier, resuming their second innings from an overnight score of 18/1, J&K sailed on a superb knock by Musaif Ajaz to score 260 runs in 63.4 overs and set a target of 205 runs for Punjab. Musaif showed elegance, brilliance, solidity and sublimity to score 89 runs off 122 balls, studded with 10 fours and 2 sixes, while Fazil Rashid contributed 46 runs to the total. Vivrant Sharma (26), Shivansh Sharma (23) and Auqib Nabi (21) were the other contributors.
Baltej Singh was the wrecker-in-chief for Punjab, who took another 5-wicket haul in the match to set the tempo for victory. Baltej took 5 wickets by conceding 45 runs in his 19 overs, while Mayank Markande bagged 4 wickets by giving 61 runs in his 15.4 overs. Sidharth Kaul also claimed 1 wicket.
Punjab earned six points from this outright victory, while J&K failed to secure any point.