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February 10, 2011
Bengal snuck past Orissa by one run with two balls remaining in a thrilling finish at the Maharaja Bir Bikram College Stadium in Agartal. Orissa looked to have things under contorl at 196 for 5, needing just another 22 runs for victory with more than five overs to go. But RR Das' dismisal set the cat among the pigeons, and they lost four wickets for 10 runs. The last-wicket pair then inched towards their target, but Laxmi Shukla bowled No.10 Alok Mangaraj with the fourth ball of the last over to give Bengal an unlikely win. Bengal's total of 217 had been built around Manoj Tiwary's patient 88, while opener Natraj Behera topscored for Orissa with 81.
Amit Sinha's unbeaten 97 trumped Yogesh Takawale's century as Assam beat Tripura by three wickets at the Polytechnic Institute Ground in Agartala. Tripura had slumped to 48 for 4 after being put in to bat, but Takawale counterattacked to make 108, and together Kaushal Acharjee, who made 41, carried the side to 221. Assam got a good start from their top three, including Sinha, but the middle order collapsed, with five wickets tumbling for 54 runs. But Sinha found an able ally in Sujay Tarafdar, who made 16, to take Assam to their target with 10 balls to spare.
India allrounder Irfan Pathan made a golden duck on his return to competitive cricket after recovering from a back injury, as Mumbai posted a comfortable seven-wicket win over Baroda at the Moti Bagh Stadium in Vadodara. Pathan came into bat with Baroda in a little trouble at 85 for 4, but his long awaited return was short lived, as he was bowled by left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla, who finished with 5 for 38. Pathan was more successful with the ball, striking in his first over, but Abhishek Nayar blasted 45 from 26 balls, with four fours and four sixes, and Mumbai romped home with 24.2 overs to spare.
Gujarat failed to capitalise on a strong start by their openers, but their total of 244 was good enough to defeat Mahrashtra by 25 runs at the Alembic Ground in Vadodara. Parthiv Patel and Avi Barot both made half-centuries, adding 126 in 25.5 overs, but only two other Gujarat batsman made more than 20 as the spinners ran through the middle and lower orders. Mahrashtra lost both openers with 26 on the board, and though Nikhil Paradkar (58) and Ankit Bawane (41) added 70 for the fourth wicket, three run-outs doomed the side and were bowled out in 46.3 overs.
Kerala eased to a 69-run win over Andhra at the Fort Maidan in Palakkad, marking an impressive start to their Vijay Hazare Trophy campaign. Opting to bat, Kerala posted 243 for 9 in their 50 overs, with Rohan Prem top-scoring with 77. Opener Abhishek Hegde chipped in with 41 and Padmanabhan Prashanth, down the order, scored a quickfire 45 to help set up a competitive score. In their reply, Andhra were dealt some early blows and seamer Prasanth Parameswaran rattled them with four wickets. Bodapati Sumanth's half-century and some useful contributions from the lower-order batsmen were in vain as Andhra were skittled out for 174.
Karnataka inflicted a six-wicket defeat on Goa at the Perintalmanna Cricket Stadium in Mallapuram. Captain R Vinay Kumar starred with four wickets to help bowl out Goa for 180. Reagan Pinto, Rahul Keni and Shadab Jakati each got starts but were unable to go past 50, and had to eventually settle for a below-par score. It failed to measure up to Karnataka's response as opener Ganesh Satish and Manish Pandey struck half-centuries to seal victory with more than 16 overs to spare.
Delhi's consistent batting and Ishant Sharma's four-wicket haul handed them a 81-run win over Jammu and Kashmir at the Dhruve Pandove Stadium in Patiala. Delhi opted to bat and openers Shikhar Dhawan and Unmukt Chand delivered an attacking start. J&K tried to pull things back, reducing the opposition to 176 for 5 at one stage, but Rajat Bhatia's 62 and Sumit Narwal's quickfire 42 propelled Delhi to 296. Ishant put J&K under pressure, having them 55 for 4 at one stage, and despite Parvez Rassol's 70 amid support from the middle order, Delhi were comfortable victors.
Haryana upstaged neighbours Punjab by 52 runs at the PCA Stadium in Mohali. It was a collective batting effort from Haryana who, boosted by wicketkeeper Nitin Saini's 85-ball 87, and steady contributions from the rest, posted 286. The openers, Mukul Dagar and Rahul Dewan, added 67 while Pardeep Sahu and Hemang Badani chipped in with valuable cameos. Ravi Inder Singh and Mayank Sidhana struck half-centuries in the chase but lacked the back-up Haryana's batsmen had been able to provide Saini, resulting in defeat.
Manvinder Bisla's century set up a four-wicket win for Himachal Pradesh against Services at the Sector 16 Stadium in Chandigarh. Bisla struck six fours in a well-paced innings, receiving support from VA Indulkar and Mukesh Sharma, as Himachal chased down 235 with four overs to spare. Earlier, an economical bowling display had helped overcome an aggressive century from Services captain Yashpal Singh, who smashed 16 fours and a six in his 85-ball 105. But the other batsmen struggled to force the pace and had to eventually settle for a gettable total.
Vidarbha crushed Madhya Pradesh by eight wickets at the Kamla Club Sports Ground in Kanpur. In a dramatic collapse, MP lost eight wickets for 26 to be bowled out for 157. Spinners Akshay Wakhare and Himanshu Joshi shared seven wickets as MP lost their way after looking good at 131 for 2. Vidarbha's openers, Amit Paunikar and Akshay Kolhar, struck half-centuries and added 108 to shut out MP.
Railways managed to overcome newly crowned Ranji Trophy champions Rajasthan by three wickets at the Green Park in Kanpur. Rajasthan chose to bat, and the top three all got starts, with Ashok Menaria topscoring with 63, but none of the other batsmen made more than 11, and the side folded for 171 in 44.5 overs. Railways were in early trouble, as Deepak Chahar and and Pankaj Singh reduced them to 26 for 3, and when legspinner Vivek Yadav picked up three quick wickets, they were tottering at 119 for 7. But Jai Yadav and Musavir Khote came together to add 56 and see their side to victory.
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