Surprising everyone, Himachal Pradesh registered emphatic five wicket win over J&K on the last day of the Ranji trophy match at JSCA International Stadium Complex at Ranchi in Bihar on Tuesday.
Himachal was set target of 209 runs to win after JK folded out for 417 runs in second innings. In first inning J&K were bundled out for 162 runs and in reply Himachal Pradesh had posted 370. With that J&K had conceded 208 run lead. Despite putting up brilliant display of batting in second inning by posting 417 runs on board, it was the first inning deficit that was always going haunt J&K. After folding out quickly on last day of play, Himachal needed 209 runs to win which they did for the loss of only five wickets. Robin Bist, who walked in at 91 for 3, took them over the line with 52 off 67 balls.
Prashant Chopra (43) and Ankit Kalsi (47) built Himachal’s innings after the early loss of Ankush Bains for 8. However, it was Bist who stood at the crease despite a mini collapse in middle of the innings orchestrated by Samiullah. S Verma was other batsman who remained unbeaten for Himachal after scoring crucial 21 of 20balls.
Earlier J&K were hoping to score some quick runs in order to push for win. However, whole team was bundled out for 417 runs. Overnight batsman Puneet Bisht got out after scoring 40 while as Manhas fell for 28. Samiullah scored 46 down the order. HP earned six points from the match that took them to second place on points table. J&K with this defeat dropped to ninth place.
The defeat is wakeup call for J&K side as outside state players led by Mithun Manhas have failed miserably throughout the season. It is time to introspect for the selectors and team management whether they want to go ahead with the outside State players in team or give chance to our own cricketers give them platform to prove themselves. The spotlight would be on Manhas as he again failed to deliver for the team.
There are too many youngsters waiting in J&K to replace these outstation players and they have been proving themselves in various events from time to time.