Ranji round-up, Elite Group, Sixth Round, 4th day December 25, 2004

Bhandari and Gambhir power Delhi to win

Cricinfo staff

Points Table

Delhi 251 and 222 for 2 (Gambhir 126, Chopra 62*) beat Bengal 240 and 232 (Dasgupta 56, Shukla 51, Bhandari 5-61, Kunal 4-72) by 8 wickets

Amit Bhandari and Gautam Gambhir combined to power Delhi to a superb win against Bengal at the Eden Gardens. Bhandari took 5 for 61 as Bengal, resuming at a comfortable 190 for 3, were shot out for 232, losing seven wickets in just 11.3 overs this morning. Delhi then raced to their target of 222 in less than 50 overs, with Gambhir, coming in at No. 3, blasting 126 off just 111 balls with 20 fours and a six. Aakash Chopra played the sheet-anchor's role to perfection, scoring an unbeaten 62 and adding 170 for the second wicket with Gambhir. With this win, Delhi moved to second in Group A and significantly increased their chances of making it to the last four, while Bengal slumped to last place and were in danger of relegation.

Mumbai 292 and 264 for 8 dec beat Karnataka 166 and 185 (Joshi 45*, Powar 5-84) by 205 runs

Mumbai further consolidated their position at the top of Group A, beating Karnataka by a convincing 205-run margin at the Wankhede Stadium to register their fourth win in six games. Requiring an improbable 391 for victory after Mumbai declared at their overnight total of 264 for 8, Karnataka lost wickets at regular intervals and never had a chance. Sunil Joshi, Karnataka's most successful bowler with nine wickets in the match, made a defiant unbeaten 45, but the rest of the batsmen crumbled against Mumbai's spin duo of Ramesh Powar and Nilesh Kulkarni. Powar took five for 84 to add to the four wickets he took in the first innings, while Kulkarni's three wickets gave him a match haul of eight.

Uttar Pradesh 282 and 234 for 5 (Shamshad 78, Yadav 50) beat Maharashtra 394 and 119 by 5 wickets

Rizwan Shamshad and Jyoti Prakash Yadav led Uttar Pradesh as they completed a superb come-from-behind win at Karad. Trailing by 112 runs in the first innings, UP bundled Maharashtra out for 119 in the second innings, and then confidently achieved the victory target of 232, losing only five wickets. Shamshad made 78 and Yadav struck 50, but the crucial partnership came between Shamshad and Anurag Shukla. The two added 114 for the fourth wicket, taking UP from a wobbly 92 for 3 to a safe 206 for 4. From there, it was a canter.

Railways 263 and 270 for 4 dec (Pagnis 145, Bangar 51) beat Andhra Pradesh 202 and 198 (Varma 50, Jai P Yadav 4-38) by 133 runs

Railways won their first Ranji game of the season, beating Andhra Pradesh by 133 runs at Anantapur. Amit Pagnis powered Railways' second innings with a 175-ball 145, which allowed them to declare on 270 for 4 and give their bowlers enough time to take ten wickets. They managed that, thanks to Jai P Yadav, who took 4 for 38 as AP were bowled out for just 198. The win lifted Railways to fourth in Group A, while AP slid to sixth spot.

Gujarat 353 and 124 for 1 (Joshipura 68*) drew with Madhya Pradesh 280 (Tomar 55*, Makda 5-69)

Gujarat took the first-innings points after their match against Madhya Pradesh ended in a tame draw at Ahmedabad. Resuming at their overnight total of 242 for 7, MP were bowled out for 280, 73 short of Gujarat's first-innings total. A Makda and Hitesh Majumdar shared nine wickets, with Makda taking a five-for. For MP, B Tomar battled bravely to score an unbeaten 55. With nothing at stake once the first-innings lead had been obtained, Gujarat eased to 124 for 1 in their second innings.

The following matches ended yesterday:

Baroda 64 and 272 for 6 (Powar 90*, Yusuf 81*) beat Tamil Nadu 152 and 183 by 4 wickets

Baroda completed a stunning fightback and enhanced their prospects of reaching the semi-final stage after a four-wicket win against Tamil Nadu at Vadodara. Having completed all their league games, Tamil Nadu will now await the results of the last league round. Chasing 272 for victory, Baroda were in a deep hole at 113 for 5 but Kiran Powar and Yusuf Pathan added 159 in an unbeaten seventh-wicket stand and sealed the win. Powar stroked 11 fours in his steady 90 while Yusuf, Irfan's brother, cracked 81 in 124 balls with 11 fours and two sixes. For the second successive game Baroda came back from a low first-innings score to triumph in a thrilling chase. They take on Uttar Pradesh in the final league game, beginning on December 31, and need to win with a bonus point to ensure a place in the last four.

Hyderabad 233 and 149 (Laxman 60, VRV Singh 6-40) beat Punjab 105 and 217 (Gupta 87*) by 60 runs

Hyderabad's 60-run win in a low-scoring scrap gave them a great chance of entering the semi-finals. Chasing 278 for victory, Punjab couldn't manage sizeable partnerships as Gaurav Gupta, who made a solid 87, lost partners at regular intervals. Gupta was stranded on 87 when the last wicket fell. Narender Pal Singh, the medium pacer, snapped up four wickets while Inder Shekar Reddy, the left-arm spinner, picked up three. Earlier VRV Singh, Punjab's 20-year-old fast bowler, completed a great match with six wickets in the second innings, and finished with 13 for 115 for the game. The Punjab batsmen, though, faltered in both innings and though they were still favourites to make it to the semi-finals, big wins for Baroda and Hyderabad in the final league game would snuff out their chances.