Delhi, Punjab, Assam enter knock-outs
Punjab qualified for the knock-outs and maintained their unbeaten run in the tournament with a crushing 10-wicket win over Himachal Pradesh in Dharamsala. It was their fourth win in the tournament. The win was set up by 19-year-old seamer Sandeep Sharma, who picked up his first List A five-wicket haul. Himachal were 65 for 1 in the 11th over, but Sadeep triggered a batting collapse which saw the home side stumble to 83 for 8 in the 20th over. They soon folded for 129 in the 31st over.
In response, Punjab openers comfortably overhauled the target in the 25th over. Chandan Madan remained unbeaten on 40, while Ravi Inder Singh, the more aggressive of the two, scored 76 with 10 fours and a six. Punjab took five points from the game and are placed at the top of the North Zone table.
Delhi joined Punjab in the knock-outs after cruising to a 35-run win (by VJD method) against Services, who scored 205 for 7 in 38 overs (reduced due to fog) in Bilaspur.
Delhi took advantage of the moist conditions and chose to field, reducing Services to 55 for 3 after Pradeep Sangwan struck first and Sumit Narwal picked the subsequent two wickets. Rajat Paliwal and Yashpal Singh took the score past 100 and Yashpal went on to score 52. A knock of 44 from Devender Lochab took Services to a respectable score. Delhi lost their opener Dhruv Shorey early, but Unmukt Chand (64) and Puneet Bisht (78) took the match away from Services with a 129-run partnership. Once Chand was dismissed in the 30th over, the match was stopped due to bad light, at which point Delhi had to be 138 to win and they were 172 for 3 already.
Haryana got a consolatory victory in the tournament when they beat Jammu & Kashmir by 40 runs in Nadaun. The win was set up by two lower-order fifties from Rahul Dalal (56) and Harshal Patel (69) after the hosts were reduced to 102 for 7, because of three wickets from Parvez Rasool and two each from Zahoor Sofi and Manik Gupta. Dalal and Patel put on 109 for the eighth wicket and Haryana finished at 230 for 9 in 50 overs.
After J&K were given a steady start by their openers, Amit Mishra struck twice within seven balls. Spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Sonu Rathee took three wickets each after that and dismissed J&K for 190. Ahmed Bandy (53) and Rasool (47) did the bulk of the scoring at the top of the order but their efforts went in vain.
Bengal's place in the knock-outs is still uncertain after they lost to Tripura by two wickets in a low-scoring thriller in Kolkata. Put in to bat first, Bengal were dismissed for a meagre 121 in 33.3 overs, as Udit Patel finished with figures of 4 for 17 and Bunti Roy and Timir Chanda took two each.
Shami Ahmed made sure Tripura's chase was not a smooth ride with two wickets in his second over. Sanjib Sanyal also chipped in with two wickets, leaving Tripura at 62 for 5 after Gaurav Bhatia made 32. However, an unbeaten knock of 34 from Timir Chanda took Tripura home even though they were losing wickets at the other end.
Assam stormed into the knock-outs when they won a low-scoring match against Jharkhand by six wickets. Jharkhand were put in to bat, but lost wickets regularly throughout their innings. Only Ishank Jaggi (27) and Sunny Gupta (26) provided some resistance as the rest of the batting wilted, being dismissed for 116. Offspinner Gokul Sharma finished with figures of 4 for 32.
Assam's reply was shaky at the start, when they were 44 for 3 after 9.3 overs. However, a 69-run stand for the fourth wicket between Gokul and Tarjinder Singh effectively quashed Jharkhand's chances of staging an upset. Assam reached their target in the 26th over and won their third match in a row.