Cuttack: Odisha are very much in the race for a place in the knock-out stage of the ongoing Ranji Trophy as they need another 92 runs for an outright win over Uttar Pradesh after the second days play in a Group B encounter here on Sunday.
Chasing 145 runs to win, Odisha were 53 for four at stumps on the second day at an unpredictable Barbati Stadium pitch, where wickets fell like nine pins for the second successive day.
A thrilling session or so awaits on the third and penultimate day of the match tomorrow as a whopping 34 wickets have fallen in two days.
Unbeaten on 24, Govind Podder holds the key for Odisha, while giving him company was Deepak Behera on 5.
Medium-pacer Imtiaz Ahmed (3/11) scalped three wickets for UP, while left-arm spinner Ali Murtaza accounted for the other Odisha batsman.
Earlier, resuming their first innings at the overnight score of 70 for five, Odisha were bowled our for 127 in reply to UP`s 160 with Ahmed (5/45) turning out to be the wrecker-in-chief for the visitors with a five wicket haul.
If Odisha`s batting in the first innings was below-par, UP`s effort in their second essay was pathetic as the visitors` were folded out for a meagre 111.
Basant Mohanty picked up four wickets for 31 runs while Deepak Behera, who registered figures of 6-37 in UP`s first innings, scalped three more wickets to return with a match haul of nine for 64.
Such was UP`s struggle in the second innings that only three of its batsmen -- Umang Sharma (37), Murtaza (25) and skipper Mohammad Kaif (23) -- managed double digit scores.
If Odisha can pocket six points from the game, they will put themselves in a very good position to progress to the quarterfinals with 22 points in their kitty.
UP, on the other hand, can afford to relax as they have already secured their place in the knock-out stage before the start of the ongoing match with 27 points.
Uttar Pradesh: 160 & 111 all out in 40.1 overs (Umang Sharma 37, Ali Murtaza 25; Basant Mohanty 4/31, Deepak Behera 3/27).
Odisha: 127 & 53 for four in 20 overs (Govind Podder 24 not out; Imtiaz Ahmed 3/11).