By our Sports Reporter
GUWAHATI, Feb 6: Scripting history, medium pacer Arup Das wreaked havoc with figures of 8 for 83, ripping apart the Punjab batting order to take Assam to their first ever semi fil berth in Ranji trophy.
Needing 288 for victory, Punjab were precariously placed at 224 for eight, needing 64 runs to win with just two wickets in hand at the start of play today at Valsad (Gujarat). Punjab were ultimately bowled out for 236, succumbing to a 51-run loss.
Unfancied Assam led by Gokul Sarma took just 20 balls to remove the remaining two wickets. Arup picked up both the wickets and in this process he also bettered his previous best first class performance with the ball. Arup was adjudged man of the match award.
Punjab's G Khera (35) added just one run in his overnight score before Arup sent him back with a beautiful delivery that trapped Khera in front of the stumps. B Saran (16) and D Bansal (3) added 6 runs for the last wicket partnership when Arup wrapped up the Punjab innings, picking the wicket of Bansal.
Talking to The Sentinel, Assam captain Gokul Sarma described the win as "historic" and one of the best in his career. "We have been performing consistently this season in the championship and it's nice to see that those performances have started to pay dividends. All the team members should get equal credit for this performance."
He said there were two brilliant individual performances in the match - one from Arup ( 8-83) in the second innings and the other one from Syed Mohammed (121). "I feel Syed's hundred needs applause. It was not easy to bat on the track, but Syed played a marvelous knock in the first innings and that too coming into bat at number seven. I also want to give credit to Arup as picking eight wickets in an innings is always a laudable performance."
Arup was in a jubilant mood after the game. When contacted, the right-handed seamer said, "I am really happy to be a part of this win. We have entered the semi fils and from here we don't want to look back. We should qualify for the fil this season and I will try my best to take my team to the title clash.
Commenting on his individual performance in the game, the Barpeta boy said, "I am happy that I was able to make some contribution in the team's victory. "
Even though Assam were skittled out for 101 in their second innings, they did well enough to get a huge first innings lead of 186 runs which ebled them to set a defendable target.
When asked if the team was a little under pressure before the start of Punjab's second innings, Arup said, "There was no pressure on us. We knew that pitch will help us a lot and if we can mage to pick a few wickets early, Punjab would come under pressure."
Assam will now face Saurashtra in the first semi fil on February 13 in Vadodara.
Assam: 323 (Syed Mohammad 121, Pallavkumar Das 46; Kaul 4/99) & 101 (Arup 31, Sran 5/43, Kaul 4/25)
Punjab: 137 (Sidha 80, Arup 3/41) & 236 (Gurkeerat 64, Arup 8/83)