Jesuraj routs Bengal despite Ganguly's efforts
An enterprising 88 from Sourav Ganguly could not stop Tamil Nadu from inflicting a 222-run victory over Bengal on the final day at Kolkata, as Rajamani Jesuraj's six-wicket haul stunned the home side. Jerusaj, who picked up five wickets in Bengal's first innings, put in a fine spell today to make it 11 for the match. Resuming the day on 109 for 3, Bengal lost the wicket of Abhishek Jhunjhunwala (39) in the second over. From here on, it was only Ganguly and Deep Dasgupta (49), the wicketkeeper, who showed any resolve in their approach. Aashish Kapoor, the veteran offspinner, chipped in with 3 for 44. The four points gained from this comprehensive win put TN third in the points table, just behind Bengal. And they have successfully avoided relegation to the Plate division. Ganguly, with two fighting fifties and some key wickets, would have gained confidence as he travels to Pakistan to join the Indian team for the upcoming Test series beginning on January 13.
Mumbai 207 and 214 for 2 (Indulkar 72*, Marathe 64) beat Gujarat 200 and 220 (Powar 6-65) by 8 wickets
Fifties from Vinit Indulkar and Sushant Marathe highlighted Mumbai's eight-wicket victory over hosts Gujarat and maintained their side's dominance atop the Elite Group A points table going into the final round of matches. Mumbai began the final day by winding up the Gujarat innings for 220 in the morning session, as Ramesh Powar capped a fine bowling performance by picking up his sixth wicket - and 10th of the match. Set 214 to win, Mumbai were given a 50-run start by Marathe and Sahil Kukreja, who became the first of two wickets to fall en route to a convincing victory. Marathe departed for a good 64, but Indulkar continued on in authoritative fashion to take Mumbai home with more than 13 overs remaining. Amol Muzumdar partnered Indulkar in a 91-run stand with an unbeaten 42.
Karnataka 283 and 280 for 8 (Naidu 58) beat Delhi 258 and 138 (Joshi 3-24, Kumble 3-63) by 167 runs
Sunil Joshi and Anil Kumble, Karnataka's veteran bowlers, shared the spoils of a comprehensive final-day victory over Delhi at Bangalore. Karnataka, with their second win of the season, sit just behind Group A-leading Mumbai with 12 points. Thilak Naidu, the wicketkeeper, and Balachandra Akhil (47) extended their overnight stand for the sixth wicket to 59 before Joshi chipped in with a quick 26 to allow Sujith Somasunder to declare Karnataka's innings on 280 for 8. Set 306 to win, Delhi were in trouble from the start, losing Shikhar Dhawan in the first over, caught by Kumble off the bowling of Vinay Kumar. A 49-run stand for the third wicket between Aakash Chopra and Mithun Manhas was the only positive session of play for Delhi, as Joshi and Kumble then combined to bag six wickets and dismiss Delhi for just 138. This dismal performance highlights a poor season by Delhi, who have plenty to improve before the next round of matches.
Uttar Pradesh 340 and 32 for 0 beat Hyderabad 142 and 227 by 10 wickets
Uttar Pradesh gained its first win of the season with a ten-wicket victory over Hyderabad early in the final day's play at Lucknow. UP gained 5 points and are now third in the Group B points table, behind Punjab and ahead of Hyderabad. Piyush Chawla, the young legspinner, was the star yesterday, taking his third five-wicket haul in as many games as Hyderabad were bowled out for 227. UP knocked off the required 29 in easy fashion.
Punjab 316 and 185 for 7 drew with Andhra 237 and 166 for 6
Ten wickets fell in the final day but Andhra secured with a draw against Punjab at Visakhapatnam after Reetinder Singh Sodhi's sporting declaration set the hosts 265 to win from a possible 77 overs. Punjab, 98 for 3 overnight, put up a healthy 185 for 7 in 48 overs with Reetinder Sodhi top-scoring with 45. Lakshman Kishore, Andhra's offspinner, took 3 for 62. MSK Prasad and Venugopal Rao, who batted with promise in the first innings, scored 46 and 37 not-out respectively as Andhra adopted a cautious method throughout the final two sessions of play. Punjab's two points from the match puts them second in the points table, with 11.
Baroda 449 for 4 and 35 for 0 drew with Services 388
A drawn match against Baroda ensured Services were relegated to the Plate Group without a single victory this season. Always behind the gun following Baroda's mammoth first innings total, Services did well to put up a competitive total over the course of the last day-and-a-half. Their 388 was down to decent, if unattractive, performances from the middle and lower orders after Jasvir Singh fell for 67 early in the morning. Irfan Safi Pathan, the opening bowler, Rajesh Pawar, and Yusuf Pathan shared the bulk of the wickets to fall. Baroda then batted out the remaining 12 overs to maintain their position atop the points table with 15.
Maharashtra 237 and 230 for 9 decl (Kale 111*, MS Yadav 4-105) drew with Railways 140 and 110 for 5
A fine hundred from Abhijit Kale was enough to send Railways to the Plate Group as Maharashtra secured a draw on the final day's play at the Karnail Singh Stadium. Kale, who began the day on 32, went on to record his 25th first-class hundred as Maharashtra successfully batted Railways out of the match. Given that the next highest score was 30, Kale's contribution to his side was all the more a fine effort. Madan Yadav, the slow left-arm bowler, returned figures of 4 for 105. Set an imposing 328 from 56 overs, Railways were slow off the blocks and eventually ended on 110 for 5 after key strikes from Sairaj Bahutule and Rohit Jadhav rocked the top order.