Sandeep Sharma, along with Manpreet Gony and Barinder Sran, rattled the Himachal Pradesh batting lineup with the match ending in a draw. © Getty Images

Sandeep Sharma, along with Manpreet Gony and Barinder Sran, rattled the Himachal Pradesh batting lineup with the match ending in a draw. © Getty Images

The Punjab bowlers made life difficult for Himachal Pradesh the second time around, while Services fought hard to get a point out from the game against Bengal, and Chhattisgarh got Goa to follow-on but couldn’t pull off a win, as all three games in Group D of the Ranji Trophy 2017-18 ended in stalemates on Monday (October 9).

Himachal Pradesh v Punjab in Dharamsala
There shouldn’t have been any real fear of HP losing their game against Punjab after scoring 729 for 8 declared in their first innings, but they got a big fright by losing wickets in a rush in the second dig after Punjab scored 601 in their only hit at Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium.

Paras Dogra (45 not out) and Akash Vasisht (23 not out) took HP to safety in the end after Sandeep Sharma (2 for 54), Manpreet Gony (2 for 20) and Barinder Sran (2 for 38) reduced Sumeet Verma’s men to 81 for 6. Dogra and shared an unbroken 64-run stand to help HP end on 145 for 6 in 40 overs.

Earlier, Punjab rode on the 202 from Abhishek Gupta, the debutant, to stop 128 short in the first-innings exchanges.

Resuming the day at 424 for 6, Abhishek Sharma fell early to Akshay Chauhan on 94. He missed his century by just six runs, but the 17-year-old added 239 crucial runs with the double-centurion for the seventh wicket.

Having lost his ally at the other end, Abhishek Gupta, the wicketkeeper-batsman, found some support from Sandeep Sharma (17) as the two put on 65 for the eighth wicket, but soon after completing his double, he was knocked over by Vasisht.

Gurvinder Singh, the offspinner, finished with 6 for 162, while Vasisht, Chauhan, Rishi Dhawan and Pankaj Jaiswal picked up a wicket each.

Points: Himachal Pradesh 3, Punjab 1

Services v Bengal in New Delhi
Services put up a tremendous display of resilience over 77 overs in their second innings to save their first match of the season against Bengal at Palam A Stadium. They finished the game at 212 for 7 in 77 overs after Bengal had set them a 353-run target.

Bengal, having started the day on 77 for no loss in their second innings, scored at a good pace to declare on 161 for 5, the runs coming in just 22 overs. Despite losing Abhishek Raman at his overnight score of 40, Abhimanyu Easwaran (39 in 46 balls), Sudip Chatterjee (19 in 14) and Manoj Tiwary (22 not out in 25) chipped in with vital contributions as Bengal pushed for a win.

Mohammed Shami made sure that the Services chase got off to a poor start by getting rid of Nakul Verma in the sixth over. Navneet Singh, who scored 121 in the first innings, batted with patience before falling to Kanishk Seth for 49.

But Vikas Hathwala, the No. 6 batsman, stepped up with a 71-ball 64 and Muzzaffaruddin Khalid, the legspinner who came in at No. 7, batted out 99 balls for nine runs to deny Bengal an outright win.

Points: Services 1, Bengal 3

Goa v Chhattisgarh in Porvorim
Shadab Jakati and Amit Yadav stood firm for 80 balls to help Goa secure a draw against Chhattisgarh after being asked to follow-on at the Goa Cricket Association Academy ground.

Starting the day at 223 for 4 in their first innings, Goa folded for 277 and were asked to bat again after Chhattisgarh had scored 458 in their first innings. It could have gotten tricky for them at 142 for 7 in the second hit, but they survived to end the game at 170 for 7.

In the morning, Reagan Pinto was the first to depart without adding anything to his overnight 25, and things happened quickly after that. Sumit Ruikar, the offspinner, removed Jakati and Amit Yadav in quick succession on his way to returns of 5 for 72 before Shahnawaz Hussain (2 for 43) finished the innings off.

Ruikar was once again the destroyer-in-chief. The 27-year-old finished with yet another five-wicket haul – 5 for 29 – to leave Goa in a mess by the 54th over. Sumiran Amonkar (53) did show some steel at the top of the innings, but had it not been for Jakati (22 not out in 64) and Amit Yadav (12 not out in 43) it could have gone totally wrong for Goa.

Points: Goa 1, Chhattisgarh 3