Bengal open their account, Haryana win again
A fine bowling effort led by Ranadeb Bose and a strokeful hundred from Shreevats Goswami handed Bengal their first win in two games, while Jharkhand's fortunes swung the other way at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack. After a reasonably sound start from the Jharkhand openers, Bose vindicated Bengal's decision to field by dismissing Sachin Prasad for 9. Ashok Dinda quickly removed Ishank Jaggi for a blob to put the skids on the innings. Saurabh Tiwary tried to counterattack with Siddhartha Sinha, but Sayan Mondal dismissed both in the 16th over of the innings, after which survival became the need of the hour for Jharkhand. Rajiv Kumar dropped anchor to score an unbeaten 69, but Bose skittled the rest to ensure that the innings folded under 200. With little scoreboard pressure, Goswami settled for a big innings, and struck 16 fours and a six in an attractive innings. Wriddhiman Saha supported him will with a chirpy 51, and their 133-run stand took their side home with a bonus point.
Tripura made Orissa sweat every inch of the way, but the hosts eventually prevailed by two wickets at the Ravenshaw College Ground in Cuttack. Debasis Mohanty was the hero, as he seized the opportunity to bowl first to finish with exemplary figures of 4 for 14 in his 10 overs. Wickets fell at regular intervals and only a fighting 30-ball 45 from Sukanta Reang lifted the score to 199. Orissa's chase got off to the worst possible start, with Wilkin Mota trapping Bikas Pati in front first ball. Natraj Behera calmed the nerves in the company of Subit Biswal and Halhadar Das, to put his side in command at 120 for 2, before things started to go awry. Mota prised out three, while Tushar Saha accounted for two, as the score sank to 158 for 7. Rakesh Mohanty and Alok Chandra Sahoo then played calm hands to take their side home.
Haryana romped to their second successive win with a comprehensive show against Himachal Pradesh in a low-scorer at the Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium in Rohtak. Hopes of a Haryana win were rather bleak at the halfway mark after they had stuttered along to 188, in the face of some impressive bowling. Ashok Thakur went for just 15 in his spell of ten overs, but the damage was done by left-armer Kuldeep Diwan, who picked 5 for 39. Defending a modest target, Haryana required a strong allround effort, and the opening bowlers - Sanjay Budhwar and Joginer Sharma - produced exactly that. Wickets fell at regular intervals, four of them to Budhwar and two to Joginder, as Himachal folded dramatically for 88 in the 34th over.
Punjab outlasted Delhi in a run-fest at the Shah Satnam Ji Stadium in Sirsa. Delhi's openers gave their side a superlative start, raising 153 in 20 overs before Unmukt Chand fell for a ballistic 59-ball 74. Shikhar Dhawan was equally punitive in his 70-ball 83, but he fell soon after, as Delhi under-achieved in the latter part of their innings. Virat Kohli kept the attack going with a typically stroke-filled 71, but his dismissal in the 42nd over was crucial in letting Punjab claw their way back into the game. Jaskaran Singh picked four scalps in the last ten overs to contain the score - if such a verb can be used in the context - to 338. Karan Goel and Ravi Inder Singh set about the chase, by launching a stable platform for the middle order to charge from. Their 124-run stand was in contrast to the one between the Delhi openers, and came off 140 balls when Goel fell for 68. Ravi Inder blocked one end up, while Mandeep Singh launched a terrific charge in which no bowler was spared. After Ravi Inder fell, two short of a well-deserved hundred, Bipul Sharma walked out and matched Mandeep shot for shot, as 61 runs came in 46 balls. Mandeep's dismissal at 270 triggered Bipul to up the ante even further as Punjab blasted 72 off 45 balls to finish the game in the final over.
Jasvir Singh's unbeaten 112 obliterated the efforts of Ian Dev Singh who also scored the same number of runs, as Services handed Jammu & Kashmir their second successive defeat at the Tata Energy Research Institute Oval in Gurgaon. After electing to field, Services struck in the very first over, as Imraj Thakur fell to Fazil Mohammed for a duck. After a couple of steady stands, worth 43 for the second wicket and 80 for the third, the J&K innings lost its way. That they managed 232 was down to the efforts of Ian Dev who carried the innings on his shoulders. He hit nine fours and a six off 141 balls before falling in the 48th over. Despite losing their openers early, Services barely broke into a seat, thanks to Jasvir's calm knock. He was supported well by Yashpal Singh who contributed 63 in a partnership worth 130 that took their side to the threshold. Jasvir stayed on till the end to secure a seven-wicket win.