An unbeaten 156 by wicketkeeper-batsman Nakul Verma helped Services declare their second innings at 340 for seven and set a challenging target of 285 for Chhattisgarh on the penultimate day of their Group C Ranji Trophy match here. Services, who were trailing by 56 runs in their first essay, had a terrible start to their second innings at the MCA's Bandra-Kurla Complex ground here as opener Aanshul Gupta was dismissed on four and one down Ravi Chouhan (4) too fell cheaply with the scoreboard reading 8 for two. Amit Pachhra (2) also did not lost long and Services were in deep trouble at 19 for three. However, Verma was joined by Shamsher Yadav (40) and two played responsible knocks to stitch a crucial 110-run-stand for the fourth wicket to steady the boat. Even after Yadav's dismissal, Verma continued to play well and found an able partner in Rahul Singh, who missed his century by just one run. Verma and Rahul ensured that the team cross the 300-run mark with a solid 175-run partnership for the fifth wicket. Verma scored 156 not out off 224 balls, studded with 19 fours and a six, while Rahul was caught by Shivendra Singh off Pankaj Rao on 99 that came off just 109 balls. His valiant knock comprised 12 fours and three sixes. For Chhattisgarh, both Pankaj Rao and Abhuday Kant Singh scalped three wickets each while Sumit Ruikar bagged one. At stumps, Chhattisgarh were 6 for no loss.
They now need 279 runs to win the match with all wickets intact. Brief Scores: Services: 225 & 340 for seven decl ((Nakul Verma 156 not out, Rahul Singh Gehlot 99). Chhattisgarh: 281 & 6/0. Summarised scores of other Group C matches: 1) Andhra v Goa at Dhanbad Goa won by 34 runs Goa: 115 & 276 Andhra: 159 & 198 all out in 59.2 overs (Ricky Bhui 71; Rituraj Singh 4/24, Shadab Jakati 3/70). Points - Goa 6, Andhra 0. 2) Haryana vs Himachal Pradesh at Valsad Haryana: 402 Himachal Pradesh: 233 all out (Sumeer Verma 66; Sanjay Pahal 5/71) & 142 for one (Prashant Chopra 89 batting). 3) Jammu and Kashmir vs Hyderabad at Vadodara Hyderabad: 328 & 244 for 2 decl (Tanmay Agarwal 103 not out, S Badrinath 66) J&K: 169 & 42 for 4 in 17.0 overs (M Ravi Kiran 2/14). 4) Kerala vs Tripura at Cuttack Tripura: 213 & 162 all out (Sumit Patel 54; Akshay Chandran 4/16, Iqbal Abdulla 3/32). Kerala: 193 & 117 for no loss in 29 overs (Mohammed Azharuddeen 80 batting).
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