Bengal slide to third straight defeat
Jharkhand ended Assam's unbeaten run and continued their own at the Tata Digwadih Stadium in Dhanbad. Their seven-wicket win in a chase of 139 was set up by a 92-run opening stand in a little more than 13 overs between Rameez Nemat (62 not out) and captain Saurabh Tiwary (46). Assam struck back with three wickets in fairly quick succession, but Nemat stayed through to the end, and was supported by a quickfire cameo from wicketkeeper Shiv Gautham to win with 11 balls to spare. Assam were earlier boosted by a 53-ball 69 from Dheeraj Jadhav, but the effort was in vain as Jharkhand overhauled the target comfortably.
Orissa handed Bengal their third consecutive defeat, beating them by seven runs in a tense contest. Paresh Patel bagged 3 for 29 to stop Bengal in their tracks after they had reached 121 for 4 in the 18th over while chasing 148. Dibyendu Chakrabarty top scored for Bengal with a 22-ball 37, and was backed up with contributions from the top and middle orders, but failed to see his team home. Pravanjan Mullick (34 not out) and Alok Sahoo (32 not out) had boosted Orissa to a match-winning score in their innings, adding 40 in quick time for the sixth wicket.
Madhya Pradesh reached the top of the Central Zone standings with a comfortable five-wicket win against Uttar Pradesh, who slipped to their second consecutive defeat, in Indore. Anand Rajan was the star player for MP, taking 4 for 26 to keep UP down to a chaseable 136. Only Mohammad Kaif, the captain, offered a significant challenger, making 57. In their reply, MP were boosted by a fiery 77 from opener Naman Ojha, who remained unbeaten to guide his team to victory with 13 balls to spare.