Jadeja helps Saurashtra qualify for next stage
With Rajasthan Royals opting to do without Ravindra Jadeja's services for the third season of the IPL, the allrounder decided to bring out his best for Saurashtra as they thrashed Baroda by seven wickets at the Sardar Patel Stadium B Ground. Baroda were gritty in their approach, after being put in, and managed to reach 105 for 4 in the 30th over. But Jadeja, along with Jayesh Odedra, had other plans as they ran through the rest of the batting line-up. While Jadeja picked up four wickets with his left-arm spin, Odedra partnered well with 3 for 18, as Baroda were shot out in 40.2 overs. Captain Jaydev Shah's dismissal during the reply gave Baroda some hope, only for Chirag Pathak (47) and Cheteshwar Pujara's second-wicket stand of 53 to snuff it out soon. Pujara brought up his fifty, including seven fours and two sixes, and remained unbeaten with Jadeja to complete formalities by the 32nd over. Saurashtra are the only unbeaten team in the West Zone and will no doubt look to extend their supremacy when they play Gujarat on Tuesday.
A classy century from captain Wasim Jaffer laid the foundation for Ranji champions Mumbai's crushing win against Maharashtra at the Sardar Patel Stadium C Ground. Maharashtra wilted in the 40th over in reply to Mumbai's imposing 308, with Ramesh Powar and Avishkar Salvi sharing the majority of the spoils. Choosing to bat, Mumbai were given a strong start by opener Sushant Marathe (53), before Jaffer and Rohit Sharma (96) took centrestage. The 172 run-stand for the third wicket had them in pole position early on. Sharma hit five fours and six sixes during his 78-ball stay, while Jaffer smashed eight boundaries during his 128-ball 109. Twin fifties from Sangram Atitkar and Kedar Jadhav were not enough as Maharashtra failed to cope with Powar (4 for 44) and Salvi (3 for 21) during the reply. The negative point they earned added more sorrow to another disappointing campaign.
A fascinating high-scorer at the Ravenshaw College Ground went Bengal's way as they beat Assam by seven wickets in a match that witnessed over 600 runs being scored. Bengal's choice to field first looked to have backfired as Assam openers Dheeraj Jadhav and Parvez Aziz took the score to 176 in the 32nd over. Though Aziz departed for 83, Jadhav continued the charge, finishing unbeaten on 148 off 150 balls, comprising 15 fours. Ashok Dinda's 3 for 57 in the late overs kept Assam to just below 300. It was once again Shreevats Goswami who was the star for Bengal as they maintained a terrific pace during the chase. Goswami hit a breezy 133 off 114 balls, smashing 18 fours and three sixes, and figured in two key partnerships with Sourav Ganguly (64), who returned for this fixture, and Abhishek Jhunjhunwala (83 not out). The fast rate of scoring worked well in Bengal's favour as Jhunjhunwala and Wriddhiman Saha completed the victory with more than seven overs to go.
Middle-order masterclasses were on display as Orissa edged out Jharkhand by 11 runs at the Barabati Stadium. Put in by Jharkhand, the hosts were struggling at 68 for 5, thanks to Varun Aaron's early strikes, before wicketkeeper-captain Haladhar Das and Rashmi Das combined for a 173-run stand. While Haladhar exercised control during his 98-ball 88, Rashmi was merciless during his hurricane 104, which included 15 fours and two sixes. The target of 279 looked all the more imposing when Jharkhand stuttered to 37 for 3, but Ishank Jaggi led a spirited revival which had Orissa sweating. His fluent 109 from 111 balls though, failed to inspire any of the remaining batsmen. Debasis Mohanty was Orissa's most successful bowler with 4 for 56, as Jharkhand could manage only 267.
Rashmi Parida and Rajasthan must have fancied their chances getting to 303 after being put in, but Naman Ojha's sparkling century ensured unbeaten Madhya Pradesh took the honours at the Emerald High School Ground. Rashmi's run-a-ball 122, comprising 11 fours and a six, along with Robin Bist's 57 proved to the highlights of Rajasthan's innings, with the two adding 93 for the third wicket. During the reply, it was the stand of 146 between Ojha and Monish Mishra (83) which lent the initial momentum. Having lost fellow-opener Jalaj Saxena early, it was Ojha who rose to the occasion and tore into the opposition bowling with 12 fours and four sixes, before falling with the score on 216 for 4. But Shadab Khan's quick unbeaten 40, coming in at No.7, took them home with four balls to spare.
Uttar Pradesh made amends for the loss in their opening match with a thumping nine-wicket win against Vidarbha at the Maharani Usharaje Trust Cricket Ground. Choosing to field, Uttar Pradesh were lifted by Sudeep Tyagi, who was recently axed from India's Test squad to take on South Africa. The right-arm fast bowler finished with a five-for and repeatedly dented the Vidarbha batting line-up to ensure their downfall for 141 in the 38th over. The below-par target was never going to trouble Uttar Pradesh and twin fifties from wicketkeeper Eklavya Dwivedi and Ali Murtaza helped them wrap up the win in 24.4 overs.
Himachal Pradesh picked up their first win of the campaign, an impressive seven-wicket defeat of Delhi at Shah Satnam Ji Stadium in Sirsa. After being put in, Delhi were floundering at 58 for 4, with Virat Kohli and Mithun Manhas dismissed. Rajat Bhatia and Puneet Mehra started a recovery with a 65-run stand, before half-centuries from Puneet Bisht and Joginder Singh pushed Delhi to 234. Himachal were never in trouble during the chase, with opener Sangram Singh making a century and adding 127 runs for the third wicket with captain Paras Dogra. The target was reached with 21 deliveries to spare, Dogra remaining unbeaten on 70.
At the Tata Energy Research Institute Oval in Gurgaon, Punjab brushed aside Jammu & Kashmir's challenge, cruising to a eight-wicket victory with 97 deliveries remaining. Punjab's new-ball bowlers Jaskaran Singh and Manpreet Gony reduced J&K to 13 for 3, and except for a 53-run stand between Parveez Rassol and Obaid Ahmed for the fifth wicket, it was a steady procession. Rassol held the innings together with an unbeaten 81 but no one else passed 25, and J&K could manage only 170. Punjab captain and opener Karan Goel's unbeaten century and a 57 from wicketkeeper Uday Kaul made short work of the target, reaching it in the 34th over.
A meltdown from the Services' lower-order handed Haryana a five-run victory in a 49-over-a-side match at Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium in Rohtak. After choosing to bat, Haryana slid to 11 for 2 before a stabilising 118-run partnership between opener Rahul Dewan (76) and Sachin Rana (45). The pair used up more than 33 overs to add those runs, and Haryana needed captain Joginder Sharma's 29-ball 44 to get them to 209. Services' chase got off to a similarly dreadful start, but Jasvir Singh's 78 kept them afloat. With Soomik Chatarjee on a 31-ball 33, and Services on 196 for 6 with 11 balls to go, Haryana's chances were fading. Chatarjee was then run-out and Services lost two more wickets over the next eight deliveries to end up five short.
Defending champions Tamil Nadu pulled off a thrilling two-run win over Karnataka in a high-scoring top-of-the-table clash at the Indian Institute of Technology Chemplast ground in Chennai. The Tamil Nadu top order delivered yet again, this time Abhinav Mukund being the standout performer with a near run-a-ball 89. Saturday's centurion S Anirudha blitzed a 43 before being run out and No. 4 K Vasudevadas chipped in with 65 to help Tamil Nadu to 316. Karnataka's chase got off to a poor start when R Jonathan was dismissed for a duck in the first over. Their other opener, Robin Uthappa, though made his first century of the season to drive the reply. He and Manish Pandey (57) put on 120 for the third wicket and at 208 for 2 in the 32nd over, it was Karnataka who were on course for a victory. However, both were dismissed in the space of eight runs and the run-out of a rampaging Vinay Kumar in the 45th over turned the match Tamil Nadu's way. Karnataka needed 13 off the final over, but Raju Bhatkal could only manage ten in the company of last man KP Appanna. Both teams have already qualified for the next round.
In another batsmen-dominated game, at the India Cement Limited Guru Nanak College ground, it was the chasing team that won, Goa picking up their second victory of the weekend. Powered by opener Akshath Reddy's 121, and half-centuries from Ambati Rayudu and Neeraj Bist, Hyderabad piled on 310 for 7. The cornerstone of Goa's reply was opener Amit Yadav's maiden century, assisted by S Sriram's 32-ball 48. Still, Goa were at 285 for 8 in the 47th over and only made it past the finish line thanks to No. 8 Shadab Jakati's 19-ball 25.
Andhra slumped to their four straight defeat, going down by six wickets to Kerala at the MRF Pachyappas Ground. Their batsmen turned in a decent effort: Y Venugopal Rao made 113 and was supported by Y Gnaneswara Rao's 67, the pair bailing Andhra out from 22 for 3 and taking the side to a competitive 269. A solid effort from the Kerala top-order, though, dampened Andhra's chances of a first victory. Opener VA Jagadeesh went on to make a century, and No. 3 Robert Fernandez scored 62 to take Kerala to 193 for 1. It could still have been a close finish had it not been for a hurricane 18-ball 41 from P Prasanth, who ensured the game ended with 14 deliveries remaining.