Maharashtra ease through to quarter-final
Mahrashtra ensured their qualification for the knockout stage of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy with a comfortable eight-wicket win over Baroda at the Poona Club Ground. Shatrunjay Gaekwad's 31-ball 45 along with a blistering 33 from Ketan Panchal took Baroda to a competitive score of 152 but it proved highly inadequate, as Maharashtra chased it down with little difficulty. Kedar Jadhav and Rohan Bhosale struck half-centuries, adding an unbeaten 94 for the third wicket, to seal victory with three overs to spare. Maharashtra take on Madhya Pradesh in the quarter-final.
Saurashtra prevailed by two runs in a thrilling game against Gujarat at the Deccan Gymkhana Ground. Chasing 149 for victory, Gujarat faltered at the start but were propped up by the middle order, Bhavik Thaker (34) and Jay Desai (32) leading the recovery. But in a see-saw game, three wickets fell for five runs before Sunny Patel (29) and last man Siddharth Trivedi added 18 to bring their team within two runs of Saurashtra's score. Earlier, wicketkeeper Sagar Jogiyani had smacked 55 to take Saurashtra to a total they just about managed to defend.
Delhi qualified for the second stage of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy following their eight-run win over Services at the Palam B Ground. After being put into bat, Delhi were off to a sound start with their openers adding 51. Aakash Chopra and Rajat Bhatia then came together for a stand of 50 for the third wicket. Bhatia was the top scorer with 44 off 37 balls and Delhi eventually posted 153. Sachin Nadkarni, the offspinner, took three middle order wickets. Services were progressing steadily till the 11th over, when they were 70 for 1. However, Delhi fought back to pick three wickets for three runs. Services had lost the well-set duo of Yashpal Singh and Imran Khan and two further strikes by the offspinner Yogesh Nagar helped Delhi maintain the momentum. Nadkarni took Services close to the target in the final over but Delhi prevailed after he was dismissed.
Three early strikes by Haryana's Joginder Sharma hurt Jammu and Kashmir early in their chase of 164 and it turned out to be a one-sided affair at the Palam A Ground. Haryana posted a strong 163 thanks to contributions by Rahul Dewan and Sunny Singh. Joginder's early burst reduced J&K to 22 for 3 and the situation got worse when half the side departed by the eighth over. Manvinder Bisla top scored with 37 but had no support as his team folded up for 105.
Himachal Pradesh booked a spot in the pre-quarter finals with a 12-run win over Punjab at the Palam A Ground in New Delhi. Himachal overcame a shaky start to post 165 for 6 thanks to Paras Dogra's unbeaten 58 and Mukesh Sharma's 41. The pair added 72 for the fifth wicket to lift the team from 53 for 4. The Punjab openers began briskly, adding 53 in 5.5 overs before Sarandeep Singh broke the stand. Punjab lost wickets at regular intervals and the pressure was right back on them. Vikramjeet Malik leaked runs but finished with three wickets to stem Punjab's resistance. Himachal will now face Jharkand in the second round.
Madhya Pradesh recorded their third successive win, beating Railways by four wickets in Indore. Both teams have qualified for the knockout stage. MP captain Jalaj Saxena (38) and Abbas Ali (33) added 64 for the third wicket to set up a successful chase of 140, while Rahul Bakshi, unbeaten in 19, sealed victory with two balls to spare. Asad Pathan (35) and Jai P Yadav (33 not out) had enabled Railways reach a competitive score, but it didn't prove enough. Railways take on Assam in the Pre quarter-finals.