Rayudu boosts Hyderabad's chances
Elite group Seventh Round
Hyderabad 323 for 7 (Rayudu 124, Yadav 52, Anirudh 50) v Rajasthan
At Hyderabad, Rajasthan might just have blown all their chances of staying alive in the Elite group after winning the toss and conceding 323 on the first day. Ambati Rayudu slammed 15 fours in his fine century and received good support from Anirudh Singh and Arjun Yadav - his fourth-wicket partnership of 161 with Yadav was especially crucial. After this solid start, Hyderabad was well placed to hunt for a bonus point and challenge Karnataka for a semi-final berth.
Mumbai 152 for 6 (Muzumdar 55) v Punjab
Punjab seized the initiative on the first day at Mohali and enhanced their chances of clinching a semi-final slot. Play began only after lunch, due to heavy fog enveloping the ground. Punjab vindicated their decision to field first with three quick wickets within the first 15 overs. Amol Muzumdar's patient 55 held things together while Robin Morris remained unbeaten on 45 when stumps were drawn. But these were the only two batting performances of note, with Gagandeep Singh and Vineet Sharma picking up five wickets between them.
Kerala 13 for 0 trail Uttar Pradesh 214 (Raina 74) by 201 runs
Uttar Pradesh needed a big win in the last league game to stand an outside chance of entering the semi-finals, but they folded for only 214 on the first day at Palakkad. Things began very well, though. They opted to bat first and, after a solid 59-run opening stand, were cruising at 166 for 2, with Suresh Raina playing anchor. Then Rahat Elahi fell for 24 and the rest followed. The last six UP batsmen mustered only 28 runs between them and if not for the 25 extras, the total would have turned out to be even more modest. Sreekumar Nair, the left-arm spinner, finished with 4 for 43 while Prasanth Chandran's medium pace yielded 3 for 43.
Assam 209 for 7 v Karnataka
At Bangalore, Karnataka justified their decision to bowl first after picking up seven wickets on the first day. Four Assam batsmen made it past 30 but none kicked on to a sizable score. Rajagopal Sathish enlivened proceedings with a 29-ball 37, including six fours and a six. But the spinners, Sunil Joshi and Udit Patel, snapped up two wickets each and ensured that a semi-final spot was well within their sight.
Bengal 35 for 0 trail Gujarat 179 (Thaker 87*) by 144 runs
Ranadeb Bose's medium pace helped Bengal bundle out Gujarat for just 179 at Ahmedabad. Bhavik Thaker, with six fours and a six, stood tall amid the ruins and watched the rest cave in for close to nothing. Sandip Sanyal, the medium-pacer, complimented Bose with 3 for 51 in his 18 overs. The match will mostly end up as a dead rubber, with both teams struggling to make the knock-out phase.
Plate Championship Fifth Round
Madhya Pradesh 135 for 3 (Ojha 50) v Jammu & Kashmir
Only 50.3 overs were possible on the first day at Jammu as MP, after winning the toss, gained some useful batting practice. Naman Ojha, the wicketkeeper, helped himself to a round half-century, and his 68-run stand with Amay Khurasia propped up the total.
Vidarbha 161 for 4 (Vivek Naidu 54, Alind Naidu 52*) v Haryana
Vidarbha scored at little more than two per over on the first day of their do-or-die clash against Haryana at Rohtak. After losing the toss, they were reduced to 46 for 3 until the two Naidus, Vivek and Alind, rescued them with a 103-run stand. Both hit sedate half-centuries, exercising caution, in their most important match of the season. Sunny Singh and Amit Mishra chipped in with two wickets apiece and left the game evenly balanced at the end of the first day. The winner of this match will join MP in the last four.
Services 134 for 5 v Orissa
Services, after being sent in, crawled to 134 and lost half their side at the end of the first day in Delhi's Air Force ground. The 63 put on by Amit Pal Singh (26) and Krushnasinh Chawda (36) was the highest partnership of a day, with all the Orissa bowlers returning economical figures - Srikanth Jena's 2 for 23 stood out.
Maharashtra 373 for 4 (Jadhav 151*, Aphale 95 ) v Himachal Pradesh
Maharashtra have already qualified for the last four stage, but their batsmen made merry on the festive day at Ichalkaranji. Having consistently amassed 400-plus totals this season, Maharashtra were propelled by Deeraj Jadhav's 151 not out towards another huge score. Jadhav's 279-ball unbeaten innings included 15 fours and a six and served as the pivot around which the rest revolved. Kaushik Aphale's 96-ball innings of 95 (with 15 fours) was the prominent supporting act.
Saurashtra 220 (Waghela 86, Aware 6-85) v Goa
Avinash Aware, the medium-pacer, enabled Goa to restrict Saurashtra to 220 at Margao. The result of this match is purely of academic interest as Maharashtra and Orissa have already gone through to the last four. Kanaia Waghela's 86 was solely responsible for the total passing the 200-mark. Aware bowled 29 overs in the day, after his captain had opted to field first, and had four batsmen caught behind by the wicketkeeper.