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October 24, 2009
Orissa beat Jharkhand by 16 runs in Dhanbad. Jharkhand, though, top the East Zone Group and, along with Assam, have qualified for the knockout stage of the tournament. Niranjan Behera (57) and Pravanjan Mullick (45) added 75 for the third wicket, and helped Orissa reach a challenging 170. The Jharkhand bowlers conceded way too many runs by way of extras - 24 of them - and that made the difference in the end. Saurabh Tiwary led the Jharkhand response with 42 and Shahbaz Nadeem showed some fight at the death with a quickfire 30, but Paresh Patel and Rakesh Mohanty grabbed three wickets each to seal an Orissa win.
The Tata Digwadih Stadium in Dhanbad played host to a high-scoring fixture, as Bengal trumped Tripura by 24 runs to win their first game of the competition. Half-centuries from opener Wriddhiman Saha (71) and Manoj Tiwary (57) boosted Bengal to a sizable 219. Saha added 102 for the first wicket with Deep Dasgupta, while Tiwary and captain Laxmi Shukla put on 64 for the third. Five of the six Tripura bowlers conceded over ten an over. The Tripura batsmen, though, gave a strong reply, but timely strikes from Bengal ensured the target wasn't overhauled. Kaushik Aphale (51) and Sukanta Reang (53) kept them in the hunt, but without adequate support from the rest, Bengal's score proved too daunting.
Himachal Pradesh raced to a comfortable six-wicket win over Jammu and Kashmir to notch up their third victory of the tournament. J&K were boosted by important contributions from their middle order, as they posted a score of 150. However, in hindsight, they would have wanted one of their batsmen - five scored in the excess of 20, but the highest was only 33 - to go on to get a substantial score. For HP, Sangram Singh top scored with 65 and wicketkeeper Ajay Mannu chipped in with 41 to help seal the game with 11 balls to spare.
A hat-trick by medium-pacer Sumit Narwal set up Delhi's comfortable seven-wicket win over Haryana at the Palam A Ground. Haryana were propped by a solid opening stand of 77 between Rahul Dewan and Ankit Rawat but stumbled. Yogesh Nagar and Farman Ahmed got the early breakthroughs before Pradeep Sangwan and Narwal took over. Narwal took the wickets of Amaradeep Sonkar and Yuzvendra Chahal off the last two balls of one over and completed the hat-trick by dismissing Joginder Sharma off the first ball of his following over. Haryana lost their last eight wickets for 30 runs to finish on a disappointing 128 for 9. Delhi opener Shikhar Dhawan smashed an unbeaten 75 off 64 balls to guide his side home.
The Palam B Ground was the scene of yet another hat-trick, this time by Punjab seamer Manpreet Gony, who starred in his team's 55-run win over Services. The Punjab top order stumbled after being put in to bat but the side recovered to post an impressive 173 thanks to two half-century stands. Chandan Madan, the wicketkeeper, was involved in both, adding 58 with Mayank Sidhana and an unbeaten 70 with Gony, who blazed a 17-ball 34. Madan was unbeaten on 69. Services' hopes rested on Yashpal Singh who made 52. But when he fell in the 16th over, the rest collapsed. Gony clean bowled Mumtaz Qadir, Sachin Nadkarni and Ritesh Negi in the 17th to claim his hat-trick and complete an all-round effort. Services, in the end, could manage only 118. Delhi and Punjab are now tied at 12 points.
Samir Quereshi's blistering 80 off 47 balls was not enough to prevent Saurashtra from sliding to their third consecutive defeat, as Baroda stormed home by eight wickets in Poona. Saurashtra were in a dominant position at one stage, with the openers Quereshi and Sagar Jogiyani adding 103 in quick time. But the batsmen who followed failed miserably, adding only 51 more to the score with the loss of eight wickets. Yusuf Pathan played an important role in restricting Saurashtra, taking 3 for 30. In reply, Azhar Bilakhia blitzed an unbeaten 80 off 55 balls, and was supported by Yusuf (27) and Shatrunjay Gaekwad (32 not out), to see his team home with seven balls to spare.
Maharashtra edged Mumbai by ten runs at the Poona Club Ground, thanks to a quickfire 75 from opener and captain Harshad Khadiwale and a three-wicket burst from medium-pacer Sajin Sureshnath. Khadiwale boosted Maharashtra to a formidable 177, earning solid support from wicketkeeper Rohit Motwani (36). Sureshnath, in the Mumbai reply, took made early breakthroughs to limit them to 77 for 5 at one stage but Abhishek Raut (43) and Ankeet Chavan (23 not out) fought hard, only to be held back at the death.
Vidarbha slid to their third successive defeat but it was a close affair at the Maharani Usharaje Cricket Ground in Indore. Chasing 119 against Uttar Pradesh, they fell short by five runs. UP were progressing well at 70 for 3 in the tenth over before left-arm spinner Ravi Jangid struck and continued to chip away at the middle order. Parvinder Singh top scored with 37 before falling in the final over. Jangid finished with 5 for 11. Vidarbha struggled in their chase and failed to get on top of Ali Murtaza, who conceded just nine runs off his four overs and picked three wickets. A last-ditch effort for the eighth wicket between Shrikant Wagh and Azhar Sheikh took Vidarbha close but they just fell short by five runs.
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