A spirited Services team stunned favourite Uttar Pradesh by five wickets to enter the semifinals of the Ranji Trophy here on Tuesday.

Chasing a small target of 113, Services was rocked by Ankit Rajpoot’s fiery spell (five for 36) to be reduced to 54 before skipper Soumik Chatarjee (34 not out) and Rajat Paliwal (32 not out) came to the rescue to pocket the five-day match well inside three days.

For Services, right-arm paceman Suraj Yadav ended up with career-best match figures of nine for 106.

Glorious chapter

For a team that has always been considered as just one of the competitors, it was a glorious chapter for Services cricket. Led by Soumik Chatterjee, who was bred on Delhi pitches, and coached by the hard-working Raju Singh, it was a realisation of a dream for a dedicated bunch.

“It was team work. We played like a unit right through,” said Soumik, a Sergeant posted at Air Force Station, Palam. We had planned and worked for this day. Normally the team would assemble a fortnight before the Ranji Trophy and that hardly helped. Thanks to Air Commodore M. Baladitya, we were well prepared this time,” said the Services captain.

Air Commodore Baladitya praised the team for its stupendous show. “I am glad they excelled as a team. It is now a team that competes and wins.”

It helped the team that the Services championship was advanced to May. “We stayed together and jelled together to became a fighting unit. I just told the team that if we played to our potential we would get there.

“The important feature was that whenever we were at our lowest point someone stood up and delivered,” said Soumik, who learnt his cricket under the guidance of coach Sanjay Bhardwaj.

It was a sterling show indeed by Services which was banned for a season in 2009 for skipping a match against Jammu & Kashmir.

The scores: Uttar Pradesh — 1st innings: 134.

Services — 1st innings: 263.

Uttar Pradesh — 2nd innings: Tanmay Srivastava c Sarabjit Singh b Yadav 54, Mukul Dagar c Sarabjit b Yadav 0, Mohd. Kaif lbw b Yadav 33, Parvinder Singh b Yadav 0, Arish Alam (run out) 50, Eklavya Dwivedi lbw b Nishan 26, Piyush Chawla c Yashpal b Nazar 9, Ali Murtaza c Yashpal b Yadav 12, Imtiaz Ahmed (not out) 40, Ankit Rajpoot lbw b Yadav 0, Sudeep Tyagi b Yadav 0; Extras (b-2, lb-2, w-4, nb-9): 17; Total (in 78 overs): 241.

Fall of wickets: 1-3, 2-61, 3-63, 4-127, 5-171, 6-176, 7-198, 8-200, 9-207.

Services bowling: Yadav 32-7-71-7, Nishan 24-6-70-1, Nazar 17-1-76-1, Verma 5-1-20-0.

Services — 2nd innings: Nakul Verma c Srivastava b Rajpoot 20, Anshul Gupta b Rajpoot 17, Avishek Sinha b Rajpoot 0, Soumya Swain c Srivastava b Rajpoot 10, Yashpal Singh lbw b Rajpoot 0, Rajat Paliwal (not out) 32, Soumik Chatarjee (not out) 34; Extras (lb-3): 3; Total (for five wkts. in 27.3 overs): 116.

Fall of wickets: 1-29, 2-31, 3-49, 4-49, 5-54.

Uttar Pradesh bowling: Imtiaz 11-2-41-0, Rajpoot 11-3-36-5, Tyagi 1-0-11-0, Chawla 1-0-6-0, Parvinder 2-2-0-0, Ali Murtaza 1.3-0-19-0.

Keywords: Ranji Trophy

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