Hyderabad clinch a one-wicket thriller
Hyderabad 251 and 137 for 9 (Anirudh 40, Gagandeep 4-28) beat Punjab 142 and 245 (Dharmani 78, Kaul 61) by 1 wicket
Hyderabad prevailed in a one-wicket thriller against Punjab at Uppal, huffing and puffing to a target of 137. Anirudh Singh top-scored with 40 but it was Ibrahim Khaleel's unbeaten 21 under pressure which steered his side to victory, after the Punjab seamers threatened to pull off the unexpected.
Earlier, Punjab were staring at an imminent defeat at the end of the second day but it was wicketkeeper Uday Kaul who fought back bravely after captain Pankaj Dharmani fell early for 78. Harbhajan Singh and VRV Singh gave Kaul good company with a couple of cameos, helping Punjab add 100 to their overnight score. Kaul's 61 gave Punjab a fighting chance, and their seamers, Gagandeep Singh, VRV and Luv Ablish, responded immediately as Hyderabad panicked in a low-scoring chase. Gagandeep was the most effective, taking four wickets while Ablish and VRV picked up two each. Both teams, though, stand only a slim chance of making it to the semi-final with Mumbai well-placed to leap over them in the table.
Maharashtra 190 (Agarkar 5-41) and 148 for 6 (Takawale 52, Sriram 52) trail Mumbai 515 for dec by 177 runs
Ajit Agarkar and Nilesh Kulkarni put Mumbai within touching distance of sealing a spot in the semi-final, with Maharashtra struggling to avoid an innings defeat at Nasik. Agarkar's five-wicket burst shot out Maharashtra for 190 in the first innings, allowing Mumbai to enforce the follow on. Maharashtra were in a deep hole the second time around, reduced to 24 for 3, before Sridharan Sriram and Yogesh Takawale compiled 52 apiece to delay the inevitable.
Delhi 382 beat Haryana 113 and 251 (Rawat 73, Joginder 44, Nanda 6-112) by an innings and 18 runs
It was a day of mixed fortunes for Joginder Sharma, the Haryana captain. His single-handed showing with both bat and ball this season earned him a call-up to the Indian one-day squad for the home series against West Indies and the World Cup probables. Despite the highs, he had a bitter pill to swallow as far his state team was concerned, going down by an innings and 18 runs against Delhi, all but relegating them to the Plate Group.
The odds were stacked against them at Rohtak when they resumed at 105 for 6, needing a further 164 for Delhi to bat again. Joginder and Mahesh Rawat brought some respectability after the first-innings capitulation, scoring 44 and 73 respectively in a stand of 80 for the seventh wicket. Virender Sehwag was among the wickets, finishing with four to complement his century. Rawat was the last man to be dismissed, but his half-century was not enough to prevent an innings defeat.
Uttar Pradesh 346 beat Andhra 111 and 132 (Sahabuddin 61, RP Singh 5-49) by an innings and 103 runs
Andhra crashed to an embarrassing innings and 103-run defeat at the hands of Uttar Pradesh at Kanpur. Syed Sahabuddin made his second half-century in as many games, but lacked support as the rest collapsed. Venugopal Rao added just four to his overnight score, and from there on, Sahabuddin played the lone hand in the brief duration of play. His 60-ball 61 included 12 fours and a six, before he was caught off the bowling of Rudra Pratap Singh, who picked up five wickets. Singh had another reason to smile as his performance caught the national selectors' eye, earning himself a recall to the Indian squad for the West Indies ODIs.
Rajasthan 193 and 202 for 4 (Doru 60*, Jhalani 62*) trail Bengal 583 for 6 dec (Jhunjhunwala 115, Tiwari 181, Ganguly 122) by 188 runs
Fresh from an impressive tour of South Africa, Sourav Ganguly continued his good run as he helped himself to a century against Rajasthan at Kolkata, the third in the Bengal innings. His breezy 122 off only 118 balls included 21 fours, and it helped Bengal take the score past 550 and enable the declaration. Rajasthan put up a much better batting effort in their second outing but were still left with plenty to do, trailing by 188 with six wickets in hand. Nikhil Doru with 60 and wicketkeeper Rohit Jhalani with 62 were at the crease till stumps.
Tamil Nadu 342 (Pathan 4-59) and 26 for 1 need another 87 runs to beat Baroda 263 and 191 (Ashwin 6-64)
Ravichandran Ashwin's second five-wicket haul of the match enabled Tamil Nadu to move closer to an outright win in Chennai and avoid relegation to the Plate Group. Ashwin's 6 for 64 spun out Baroda for 191, leaving Tamil Nadu with a modest 113 needed for a win. Baroda, who've already qualified for the semi-finals, struggled in the second innings - most of their batsmen got starts but couldn't kick on to a big score. Irfan Pathan's run-a-minute 36, including six fours, stood out but Ashwin and Ashish Kapoor, the Indian offspinner, snared nine wickets between them and stole the initiative.