Karnataka and UP post easy victories
Elite Championship Sixth Round
Karnataka 353 and 30 for 0 beat Gujarat 210 and 172 (Joshi 6-59) by 10 wickets
At Ahmedabad, Karnataka needed just 9.3 overs to run through the Gujarat lower order, with Udit Patel's offbreaks proving too hot to handle. Nilesh Modi added only 10 to his overnight 53, before Sunil Joshi had him caught behind, then Patel gobbled up the rest for close to nothing. The Karnataka openers knocked off the 30 required for victory, thereby earning themselves a bonus point for their 10-wicket win. Dodda Ganesh gave Karnataka the edge on the first day, when he broke the spine of the batting with a rich haul of 5 for 61. The spinners, Joshi and Patel, took over in the second innings as Gujarat hurtled to their third defeat of the season. But sandwiched between these bowling feats, was a composed 150 from Barrington Rowland - a fine effort, considering that the next-highest score in the match was 63.
Uttar Pradesh 473 beat Baroda 249 and 217 (Mongia 88*) by an innings and 7 runs
UP got themselves in contention for a semi-final berth after inflicting an innings defeat on Baroda at Vadodara. Nayan Mongia's 88 was the lone bright spot in an innings wrecked by Nikhil Chopra and Praveen Gupta. Chopra, the former Indian offspinner, finished with 4 for 75 and handed UP the crucial bonus point. Mongia, who had hit 85 in the first innings, ran out of partners and remained the only Baroda batsman to pass 40 in the entire match. All this was after Rizwan Shamshad stamped his authority with a massive 168 and virtually batted Baroda out of the game.
Mumbai 388 and 168 (Kambli 64) drew with Railways 198 and 121 for 4 (Raja Ali 58*)
Vinod Kambli kept his head while the rest fell around him at the Wankhede Stadium as Mumbai crumbled to 168 in their second innings. Kulamani Parida and Shreyas Khanolkar, the offspinners, took six of the seven wickets that fell this morning. But that was hardly of any consequence, since Mumbai had already amassed a massive first-innings lead. Railways were set a near-impossible 359 to get, with a session and a half remaining, and Raja Ali helped himself to 58 as the game meandered to a draw. The match changed course on the second morning, when Ramesh Powar thrilled with his hundred. He carried on the good work with four wickets. Railways will have to get at least two points from their last match against Baroda. They will also hope that Mumbai deny Punjab any favours at Amritsar and Kerala deny UP an outright victory: it all sets up an exciting final round of matches.
Kerala 371 drew with Delhi 375 for 6 (Bhatia 104, Gambhir 78, Jadeja 60)
Delhi just managed to gain the first-innings lead at the Harbax Singh Stadium, but it might be too little too late in the season. Rajat Bhatia slammed 104 and, along with Gautam Gambhir and Ajay Jadeja, ensured that they nudged ahead. The first two days were hampered by wet weather before Ajay Kudva's patient 123 helped Kerala reach 371 in their first innings. Sarandeep Singh and Rahul Sanghvi snapped up four wickets apiece.
Hyderabad 447 drew with Tamil Nadu 240 and 239 for 4 (Viswanathan 70*, Badrinath 56)
At Hyderabad, Tamil Nadu staved off defeat after following on - for the second time this season - with Sunil Viswanathan leading the defiance with an unbeaten 70. S Badrinath, Sridharan Sriram (41) and Somasetty Suresh (30) also played their part in the rearguard action. Hyderabad's solid batting exhibition on the first two days had swung the momentum with Vinay Kumar (93) playing the stellar role. Sankinani Vishnuvardhan, the medium-pacer, then picked up the baton with a breezy 59, which he followed with a fine 5 for 79. But all that counted for only two points, and Hyderabad join Karnataka and Gujarat in a three-horse race for a semi-final berth. Tamil Nadu are almost assured of topping the group and have no such hassles.
Assam 306 and 102 for 3 (Saravanan 52) beat Rajasthan 288 and 115 (Raghuram 5-25) by 7 wickets
Assam notched up their first win of the season by beating Rajasthan by seven wickets at Guwahati. Needing 98 for victory, S Mathur reduced Assam to 11 for 3, but an unbroken 91-run stand between Vasanth Saravanan and Kiran Powar, imports from Tamil Nadu and Mumbai respectively, took them home. Earlier, Diwakar Vasu and R Raghuram polished off the Rajasthan tail and finished with eight wickets between them. Raghuram's was a spell reserved for fantasy as he conceded only 25 runs in 18 overs and grabbed five wickets in the process. Rajasthan had put up a respectable show first time around, on the back of Abhijeet Sharma's 92. Assam then gained a slender lead on the third day, largely due to Rajagopal Sathish's fine 108.
This match finished earlier
Punjab 209 (Sahabuddin 5- 52) beat Andhra30 and 84 (Gagandeep 5-32, Sharma 4-32) by and innings and 95 runs
After being skittled for 30 on the first day, Andhra were demolished again as Punjab wrapped up the match (with a bonus point) at Mohali with two days to spare. Punjab's batting was characterised by some quick cameos by Yuvraj Singh (38), Dinesh Mongia (38) and Pankaj Dharmani (39), which gave them a mammoth lead of 179. That proved to be more than enough, as Andhra crumbled to only 84 with none of the batsmen passing 25. The bowling heroes were again Gagandeep Singh and Vineet Sharma, who took nine wickets between them.
Plate Championship Fourth Round
Madhya Pradesh 454 drew with Tripura 266 (Chanda 74) and 177 for 7 (Mahesh 59)
Madhya Pradesh took away two points from their draw against Tripura. After being all out for 277 in their first innings, and conceding a lead of 177, Tripura could only limp to 177 for 7 in their second innings. Narendra Hirwani (4 for 52) got stuck into the batting line-up, and only S Mahesh, the allrounder from Tamil Nadu (59), resisted. Tripura were under pressure throughout the final day, and could easily have lost the match outright. At the end of the fourth round, Tripura languish at the bottom of the table, alongside Jammu & Kashmir, with four points. Madhya Pradesh (10 points) edge past Vidarbha (9) to head the table.
Goa 312 and 80 for 4 beat Himachal Pradesh 111 and 280 (Mannu 97, Dani 5-73) by 6 wickets
Goa tasted victory for the first time this season as they completed a six-wicket win at Dharamshala. Amit Dani finished with 10 wickets in the match after Ajay Mannu's heroics helped HP add 50 runs in the morning. But the real damage was done on the first day, when Dani and Avinash Aware bowled unchanged for 42.2 overs and bulldozed HP for a paltry 111. Goa mustered 312 on the back of half-centuries from Robin D'Sousa (74) and Shadab Jakati (66), and took a firm grasp of the match. HP put up a better show when they batted again, but Dani ensured that it wasn't good enough.
Orissa 320 for 8 dec drew with Saurashtra 228 and 206 for 6 (Waghela 93, Kotak 50)
Orissa had to be content with first-innings points at Cuttack, as Kanaia Waghela and Shitanshu Kotak lead the Saurashtra resistance. Orissa declared on their overnight total, having gained a 72-run lead, but Deepak Mangaraj and Debasis Mohanty couldn't match their first-innings exploits, when they had shared seven wickets. Waghela's dogged knock lasted 384 minutes, and he stroked 12 fours, while Kotak and Prakash Bhatt (43) provided him with valuable support. Waghela missed out on a hundred in the first innings too, when he was stranded on 95 when the last man fell. Orissa had no problems in overhauling the Saurashtra score, with Sanjay Raul's 107 being the pivotal effort.
This match finished yesterday
Vidarbha 379 beat Jammu & Kashmir 111 and 163 (Mahajan 51, Gandhe 5-49) by an innings and 112 runs
Dhruv Mahajan made a sedate 51, but that only delayed the inevitable as Vidarbha wrapped up the match at Nagpur with a day to spare. The J&K batsmen fell to the wiles of Pritham Gandhe, the offspinner, who bagged five wickets. J&K had folded for 111 on the second day and none of their batsmen could match the exploits of Vidarbha's Faiz Fazal, who hammered 151 on the first one. And that was after Vidarbha lost the toss...