Mohali: Seamer Basant Mohanty's incisive bowling with brilliant match haul of 10 for 85 enabled Odisha to shock a fancied Punjab team by six wickets to take giant leap towards avoiding the relegation in the Ranji Trophy cricket tournament, here today.
Mohanty, who had taken 4/43 in the first essay again tormented the Punjab batsmen as his 6/42 was primarily responsible for the hosts being shot out for 141 in their second innings. He was ably supported by another right-arm seamer Deepak Behera (3/44), who also had an impressive match-figures of 7/91 as Odisha now climbed to eighth spot with 14 points and four clear of bottom-placed Saurashtra.
Only Yuvraj Singh with a gritty 56 off 113 balls with 10 fours and Gurkeerat Singh Mann with a 45-ball-43 tried to beef up the total with other batsmen having no clue about the swinging deliveries from Mohanty-Behera combination.
Requiring 126 to win, Odisha batsmen kept their composure as Govinda Poddar anchored the chase to perfection with a well-compiled unbeaten 60 off 137 balls with seven fours and a six to show for his efforts.
Left-handed opener Paresh Patel (29) also gave Odisha the start that they needed despite losing other opener Girija Rout cheaply. With this loss, Punjab are now in a spot of bother with 19 points from seven games and dropped to fourth place as last year runners-up Maharashtra, who are likely to get a point against Gujarat are now in third place.
Punjab will now have to win their last match against Delhi at home in order to assure themselves of a quarter-final berth.
Brief Scores: Punjab 167 and 141 (Yuvraj Singh 56, Basant Mohanty 6/42). Odisha 183 and 127/4 (Govinda Poddar 60 no). Odisha won by 6 wickets. Points: Odisha 6; Punjab 0. PTI