Kanpur: Uttar Pradesh lower-order batted with purpose to force a draw against a dominant Punjab, but could not deny the visitors' three points on the basis of first innings lead in the Group B Ranji Trophy cricket league match, here today.
Chasing 342 for a win at Green Park, UP lost their top four batsmen early, but Akshdeep Nath (76 not out), Eklavya Dwivedi (27) and Piyush Chawla (58) made sure the hosts do not fizzle out against Punjab as they ended on 204 for six.
After losing Almas Shaukat (6), Himanshu Asnora (0) and skipper Suresh Raina (4) UP were 10 for three and then slumped to 96 for five before they saw a fightback.
The sixth-wicket 89-run partnership ensured that the match ended in a draw with UP picking up a point on the fourth and final day of the game.
Pace spearhead Brainder Sran and skipper Harbhajan Singh bagged two wickets apiece.
Earlier starting the day on 244 for six, Punjab declared their second innings on 295 for seven with Uday Kaul making an unbeaten 109.
But it was Punjab batsman Mayank Sidhana's gritty 85 that earned him the Man of the Match award for helping his team post a fighting 272 in the first innings.
UP bowlers also made it count in both the innings with Praveen Kumar (6-171) and Ankit Rajpoot (6-127) picking crucial scalps, but it was the first-innings effort of their batsmen that let them down. UP were all out for 226.
Fourth-placed UP (18 points) might have given the third spot to Punjab (20 points) in the league table, but are still in contention for a quarter-final berth with 18 points.
Punjab 272 and 295/7 (Uday Kaul 109 not out, Mandeep Singh 84; Ankit Rajpoot 3-67)
Uttar Pradesh 226 and 204/6 in 72 overs (Akshdeep Nath 76 not out, Piyush Chawla 58; Harbhajan Singh 2-57).
Points: Punjab 3, Uttar Pradesh 1.