Haryana pip Services on net run-rate
Delhi crushed Services' hopes of qualifying for the knock-out stage with an easy nine-wicket victory at the Palam B Ground. Delhi overhauled Services' score of 124 with 18 balls to spare, leaving them tied on points with Haryana, but behind on net run-rate in the North Zone table.
Medium-pacer Kapil Yadav took 3 for 18 for Delhi, while opener Irfan Khan was the only Services' batsman to get going, with a score of 46 off 39 balls. The rest of Delhi's attack supported Yadav well as Services finished with a below-par score. Opener Puneet Bisht set the tone for Delhi's chase with 24 off 16 balls, and after his exit Chetan Sharma settled down to finish unbeaten on 65. Mithun Manhas stayed with Sharma as Delhi eased home by nine wickets, giving them a spotless record going into the next round.
Haryana qualified past the group stage despite a nine-wicket loss to Himachal Pradesh in their final group match at the Palam A Ground. Choosing to bat, Haryana stumbled to 14 for 4 in the fifth over before a lower-order recovery took the score into triple figures. Left-arm spinner Kuldeep Diwan finished with 3 for 25, while Ashok Thakur supported him with 2 for 19, leaving Himachal chasing 109 for a win.
Sangram Singh scored 58 of 57 balls, and his 92-run opening stand with Manvinder Bisla put the result beyond doubt, but Haryana managed to qualify for the next round on net run-rate courtesy of Delhi beating Services by a similar margin. Himachal finished fourth in the North Zone table.
Punjab beat Jammu & Kashmir by 29 runs in the battle of the North Zone also-rans, at the Palam A Ground in Delhi. Punjab chose to bat and were sent on their way by a 40-run opening stand off 4.2 overs between Jaskaran Singh and Sarul Kanwar. Ravi Inder Singh, Amit Parashar and Bipul Sharma ensured that the momentum was maintained as Punjab surged to a strong score. Abid Nabi suffered the most, conceding 40 runs in his four overs as J&K faced a chase of 141.
Opener Arshad Bhatt held one end up with a steady 43, but the steady loss of wickets at the other end meant that J&K gradually lost steam. Seamer Manpreet Gony finished with 3 for 17 as Punjab closed the J&K innings at 111 for 6.
Baroda frittered away a dominant position against Maharashtra and the chance to make the knock-out stage at the Reliance Stadium in Vadodara, falling short of the target of 153 by five runs, after being 99 for 1 at one stage. Pinal Shah's half-century got Baroda off to a strong start, and they needed 54 off 53 deliveries with nine wickets remaining. However, offspinner Ganesh Gaikwad ran through the middle order, taking 4 for 28, including the wicket of Pinal for 61. With 12 needed off the last over, Baroda lost two wickets to finish at 147 for 7.
Openers Harshad Khadiwale and Nikhil Paradkar had smashed 109 in 71 balls to give Maharashtra a solid platform. Khadiwale was the more aggressive of the duo, slamming 59 off 34 balls while Paradkar made 49 off 40. But Baroda's spinners picked up six wickets as Maharashtra's middle order collapsed to 131 for 7. They recovered somewhat to post 152, which proved just enough to take them through.
Left-arm seamer Jaidev Unadkat's incisive three-wicket burst gave Saurashtra a three-run win in a low-scoring scrap against Gujarat in Vadodara. Defending a paltry 89 on a pitch where run-scoring was not easy, Saurashtra's fast-bowling attack, led by Unadkat, struck at regular intervals to reduce Gujarat to 56 for 5. A watchful 18-run stand between Rujul Bhatt and Rohit Dahiya brought Gujarat back in the game, but Unadkat removed both off successive balls before a spate of run-outs left the hosts three short.
Siddharth Trivedi was the main threat when Saurashtra batted, as he picked two of three early wickets that left the visitors gasping at 3 for 3. Shitanshu Kotak and Jaydev Shah then featured in the best partnership of the game, but Saurasthra stumbled again following their 41-run alliance. No. 8 Sandip Maniar's late onslaught lifted them from 64 for 8 to their final score of 89, which in the end analysis proved just enough for Saurashtra's first win in the tournament, while Gujarat finished their engagements winless.
Madhya Pradesh surged into the top spot of Central Zone with a hard-fought nine-run win against Railways who were bowled out with one over to spare in Jaipur. Needing a win to progress to the knock-out stage, MP began well with Naman Ojha anchoring their innings with a boundary-filled 49 off 38 balls. Sanjay Bangar slowed down proceedings in the middle overs with a tight spell of 3 for 22, but Amarjeet Singh went on the attack in the end overs, smashing five fours and two sixes in his 37 off 15 balls.
Railways' chase was derailed early as opening bowlers TP Sudhindra and Anand Rajan reduced them to 40 for 6 in seven overs. However, a late counterattack led by tail-enders DP Salvi, Shadab Khan and Murali Kartik brought them roaring back into the game. Kartik and Shadab lifted the score from 81 for 8 in the 13th over to 139 in the 19th. With 10 needed from eight balls, Kartik was run-out before Amarjeet, who had bled 40 runs in his first 3.5 overs, finished the game by castling Shadab with his last ball.
Amit Paunikar's unbeaten half-century took Vidarbha to the knock-outs with a 34-run win against Rajasthan at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. Paunikar didn't let the loss of two wickets in the first two overs bother him, and added 65 runs in 43 deliveries with Ravi Jangid. After Jangid fell for a quick 36, Paunikar carried on, hitting three sixes and six fours in his unbeaten 78 off 56. Vidarbha surged to 169 as 36 runs came off the last three overs.
Rajasthan began well, with Dishant Yagnik hammering three sixes in his 36 off 22 balls to lift the score to 49 in the sixth over. Aakash Chopra's steady 42 kept them in the chase, taking them to 110 for 2 with six overs to go. However, offspinner Akshay Wakhare took two wickets in three balls to stem the scoring, and also effected two run-outs to turn the tables. Rajasthan managed only 25 runs off the last six overs as Vidharbha completed their third win in four group games.