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December 28, 2006
Madhya Pradesh 223 and 261 for 7 (Abbas Ali 102*) beat Goa 223 and 240
Syed Abbas Ali propelled Madhya Pradesh to their first win of the season, helping them hunt down 259 on the final day at Indore. MP were in early trouble during the chase, falling to 149 for 5, but Abbas Ali, who cracked 15 fours and a six, steered them home. Goa ended their miserable campaign with a loss and remain the only team in the Plate Group not to have notched up a single point after five games.
Tripura 275 and 171 (Banik 54) drew with Jharkhand 310 and 58 for 8
Fourteen wickets tumbled on the final day at Agartala as Jharkhand held on for a thrilling draw. Tripura, thanks to Rajesh Banik's 54, managed a 136-run lead and nearly pulled off a sensational win. Jharkhand, left with a meager target at a comfortable run-rate, stumbled miserably and ended on a precarious 58 for 8. It was left to Mihir Diwakar, the No.9, to play out 39 balls and seal the draw. Neither team had any chance of qualifying for the knock-out stage and ended level on four points at the bottom of the Group B table.
Kerala 264 and 177 (Ramesh 55) drew with Railways 184 and 41 for 0
Kerala gained two points from a drawn encounter in Delhi but it was Railways who would have been the happier team at the end of the fourth day. With Vidarbha unable to force the issue against Assam, Railways were ensured of their place in the semi-finals and didn't need to worry too much about this result. For the record, Sadagoppan Ramesh followed up his first-innings hundred with a 55 in the second innings to extend Kerala's lead to 257. Railways batted out the remaining 20 overs without the loss of any wicket and will now face Himachal Pradesh at Dharamsala in the semi-final.
Orissa 552 and 281 for 4 (Behera 97, Biswal 95) drew with Jammu & Kashmir 198
Niranjan Behera and Subit Biswal led a confident Orissa batting performance as the game at Cuttack meandered to a draw. Orissa had already assured themselves of two points for the encounter and decided not to enforce the follow-on yesterday. Behera and Biswal both missed out on hundreds but their 153-run stand was the talking point of the day. Behera complied his 96 in 196 balls while Biswal, the more aggressive partner, struck 13 fours and a six in his 133-ball knock.
Assam 308 and 243 (Saravanan 51, Khare 4-57) drew with Vidarbha 244 and 15 for 2
Assam ended as the most dominant team in Group A, ending with two points in their final league game against Vidarbha at Nagpur. Vasanth Saravanan led a positive batting display on the final day, stitching together vital partnerships and consolidating their stranglehold. Vidarbha, who needed an outright result in the game to have a chance of qualifying, were thwarted and left to chase an impossible 308 in the final hour. Assam will now face Orissa at Cuttack in the semi-final.
Himachal Pradesh 315 and 186 for 8 (Dogra 99) drew with Services 191 and 133 for 1 (Mohammed 67)
Himachal Pradesh expectedly earned the two points from the drawn encounter in Delhi but were unable to force a result on the final day. Paras Dogra's 99, with 13 fours, stretched their lead to 310 but it left them little time to bowl Services out. Services batted out the 34 remaining overs in the day, ending on 133 for 1, with wicketkeeper-opener Imtiaz Mohammed ending with a half-century.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Why the Indian opener would be well advised to shelve the hook and pull in Australia