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

Updated: Jan 11, 2012, 18:27 PM IST

Rohtak: 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.