A spirited Services stunned favourites Uttar Pradesh by five wickets to enter the semifinals of the Ranji Trophy today.
Chasing a small target of 113 to win in the second innings, Services were rocked by UP pacer Ankit Rajpoot's fiery spell (5/36) to be reduced 54 for five before skipper Soumik Chatterjee and Rajat Paliwal came to the Armymen's rescue to pocket the five-day match well inside three days.
Services managed to chase the remaining target without further hiccups, courtesy first-innings centurian Rajat Paliwal's unbeaten 32 and injured Chatterjee unconquered 34.
Not before young UP pacer Rajpoot, after bagging a five-for in the first innings, created flutter in the opposition camp as Services slumped from 29 for no loss to 54 for five. He removed Services' top-order to bring UP back into the game.
The 19-year-old, however, could not prevent Paliwal and Chatterjee, unable to walk with a badly injured left knee, from driving Services home and book a semi-final berth.
The injured skipper finished the run-chase in style with a huge six over mid-on off spinner Ali Murtaza. The duo shared an unbeaten partnership of 62 runs for the sixth wicket to ensure the memorable victory for Services. Earlier, resuming day on 138 for four, UP were bowled out for 241 in 78 overs.
Overnight batsmen Arish Alam and Eklavya Dwivedi added 40 runs before being dismissed. Right-handed Alam (50), however, completed his half-century before getting run out.
UP paceman Imtiaz Ahmed played an aggressive cameo of 40 runs off just 37 deliveries during which he hit two boundaries and four sixes.
However, wickets continued to tumble at the other end for UP as their innings folded for 241 runs, giving their bowlers a paltry 112 runs to defend.
For Services, right-arm pacer Suraj Yadav accounted for seven UP batsmen and ended the match with career-best match figures of 9/106.
MUMBAI IN COMMAND
Riding on three centuries Mumbai posted a mammoth 645 for nine declared and then reduced Baroda to 167 for five on the third day of their Ranji Trophy quarter-final match today.
Replying to Mumbai's huge first innings' total, Baroda were struggling at stumps with half the team already out, still trailing by 478 runs and needing 279 more to avoid the follow on.
At close, Ambati Rayudu was unbeaten on 10 and giving him company at the other end was Pinal Shah at 6. Having declared at 645 for nine, the 39-time champions equalised their previous record total against the same opponent scored in 1945-46.
Resuming the day on 524 for six, Mumbai added 121 runs by losing three more wickets before deciding to declare almost 35 minutes before the end of the first session. Both the overnight batsmen -- Abhishek Nayar, who started at 122, and Ankeet Chavan, resuming on 17, got out early scoring 132 and 22, respectively.
After dismissing Chavan in the second over of the day, Baroda prevented the in-form batsman, Nayar from accumulating more runs and the all-rounder was caught behind off Murtuja Vahora in the ninth over.
The left-hander Nayar's knock came off 243 balls, laced with 12 fours. Skipper Ajit Agarkar, who came into bat after Chavan's dismissal, accelerated the run rate as he scored an unbeaten 52 off 53 balls.
He was well supported by the number 10 batsman, Javed Khan, who struck four sixes and two boundaries for his 43. After Agarkar reached his 16th first class half-century, Mumbai declared their innings.
Baroda started off well as both their openers -- Saurabh Wakaskar and Aditya Waghmode -- completed half-centuries to put up a solid 102-run stand for the opening wicket, even as Mumbai bowlers struggled hard till 39th over.
But after debutant Vishal Dabholkar provided the much needed breakthrough to the hosts when he got rid off Wakaskar, wickets kept falling at regular intervals. Wakaskar's 51 came off 123 balls, including 10 fours. Dhawal Kulkarni then took the second and third wicket in quick succession to push the visitors on to the backfoot.
First he castled Abhimanyu Chauhan for a duck and then saw off Waghmode for a well made 53 off 153balls. The opener, who had survived earlier when wicket-keeper Aditya Tare missed a stumping opportunity off Vishal Dabholkar while he was batting on 45, had hit eight fours in his knock. Agarkar then dismissed his Baroda counterpart Yusuf Pathan (21 off 18 balls) to put Mumbai in driver's seat.
For Mumbai, Kulkarni (2 for 41) and Dabholkar (2 for 43) were the pick of the bowlers on the day.
Mumbai vs Baroda: Mum 1st inngs: 645 for nine decl (Wasim Jaffer 150, Abhishek Nayar 132, Sachin Tendulkar 108, Aditya Tare 64; Murtuja Vahora 4/119).
Baroda 1st inngs: 167 for five in 64 overs (Aditya Waghmode 53, Saurabh Wakaskar 51; Dhawal Kulkarni 2/41, Vishal Dabholkar 2/43).
UP vs Services: UP 134 & 241 (Tanmay Srivastava 55, Arish Alam 50; Suraj Yadav 7/71) lost to Services 263 & 116/5 (Soumik Chatterjee 34 not out, Rajat Paliwal 32 not out; Ankit Rajpoot 5/36).
Punjab vs Jharkhand: Jharkhand 1st innings 310/6 (IR Jaggi 126*, Sunny Gupta 8*)
Saurashtra vs Karnataka: Punjab 1st innings 150/1 (Jiwanjot Singh 77*, T Kohli 26*)
Saurashtra 1st innings 272/5 (AV Vasavada 49*, CS Jani 13*)