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February 14, 2011
Siddharth Chitnis continued his blistering start to the tournament with a blazing century against Maharashtra to rescue Mumbai from a precarious position in their chase of 218 at the Moti Bagh Stadium in Vadodara. Chitnis' 100 from 70 balls ensured Mumbai won with 51 balls to spare, but things looked tricky for them at 94 for 5. Seamers Shrikant Mundhe and Samad Fallah had done the early damage, but Chitnis took the game away from Maharashtra with his aggressive knock that included a whopping 10 sixes. He dominated a 63-run sixth-wicket stand with wicketkeeper Aditya Tare, who scored just 13, and then finished the game with Ajit Agarkar for company. Mumbai would have hoped for a more relaxed chase after left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla took 4 for 29 to help bowl Maharashtra out in 48.4 overs. Chitnis, who made his List A debut in the first game against Baroda, is now the second leading run scorer in the tournament, having made 224 runs at a strike rate of 143.58. Abdulla is the leading bowler, having taken 15 wickets in four games.
Baroda picked up the victory and a bonus point from their match against Saurashtra at the Reliance Stadium in Vadodara. They reached 246 after electing to bat and then dismissed Saurashtra for 180. Baroda were given a solid start by opener Kedar Devdhar, who scored 63 off 87 balls, and some handy contributions from the middle order ensured they reached a competitive total, though they would not have been pleased with the three run-outs in their innings. Seamer Murtuja Vahora dented Saurashtra's chase early, taking three wickets to help reduce the visitors to 64 for 4. The left-arm spinners took over from there, with Swapnil Singh bagging 4 for 26 and Bhargav Bhatt taking 2 for 28.
Delhi made heavy weather of a target of 166, beating Himachal Pradesh by three wickets at the Sector 16 Stadium in Chandigarh. Having been put in to bat, Himachal were rocked early, losing two wickets to consecutive balls from Sumit Narwal in the fifth over. They never recovered, the innings' highest score of 46 coming from opener Hemant Dogra. Delhi began their chase shakily, collapsing to 29 for 4, before spirited rear guard efforts from Puneet Mehra (42 not out) and Narwal (37) saw them home.
Haryana completed their third straight win of the tournament in as many matches, defeating Services by 28 runs at the Dhruve Pandove Stadium in Patiala with a solid all-round performance. Choosing to bat first, Haryana built their innings around opener Mukul Dagar, who top scored with 50, and 30-something cameos from Rahul Dewan and Sunny Singh. Medium-pacer Sumit Singh ran through Haryana's middle order, taking 4 for 42 to restrict them to 246 for 8. Services' best partnership was a 92-run stand between middle order batsmen Yashpal Singh and Madhusudhan Reddy. But with no other batsman passing 26, and Joginder Sharma and Amit Mishra bowling tight spells to take five wickets between them, Haryana always held the upper hand.
A big opening stand, followed by an explosive 44 off 18 balls by Manpreet Gony, saw Punjab defeat Jammu & Kashmir by eight wickets with 15 overs to spare at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali. After electing to field, Punjab bowled out J&K for 220. The pick of Punjab's bowlers was Rahul Sharma, who finsihed with 4 for 28 from 9.3 overs. Only two J&K batsmen played noteworthy innings - opener Imraj Thakur with 52 and Amit Pal Singh with 60. Punjab's openers Karan Goel and Ravi Inder Singh scored half centuries, after which Gony - promoted to No. 3 in the line-up - pummelled the bowlers for five sixes and a four in his short stay at the crease, to take the game firmly away from J&K.
Five wickets from seamer Yaju Krishanatry and an unbeaten century by opener Akash Verma helped Jharkhand cruise to an eight-wicket victory against Bengal at the Maharaja Bir Bikram College Stadium in Agartala. Krishanatry gave Jharkhand the ideal start after they chose to field, reducing Bengal to 25 for 3. While he was the one who took the wickets, his new-ball partner Kuldeep Sharma was economical, finishing with figures of 1 for 26 from 10 overs. After the early flurry of wickets, Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary and wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha rebuilt the innings with a 102-run partnership. Tiwary was out for 59, while Saha made 60, but the lower order didn't contribute much and Bengal only managed 216. Jharkhand needed just 43.2 overs to reach their target, with Verma scoring 116 not out, and Ishank Jaggi getting 75.
Orissa completed a convincing win over Tripura at the Polytechnic Institute Ground in Agartala, with Biplab Samantray performing with both bat and ball. Samantray's 80 off 88 balls helped take Orissa to a total of 255 after they elected to bat. He put together 98 runs for the fifth wicket with Rashmi Das, who scored 51. Bibhudutta Panda smacked an unbeaten 38 off 25 balls to give Orissa's innings momentum towards the end overs. In reply, Tripura slumped to 10 for 3, with Alok Mangaraj picking up two early wickets. Yogesh Takawale's 61 was the only resistance as Tripura were bowled out for 186, with Samantray chipping with two wickets.
Uttar Pradesh moved into a three-way tie at the top of the Central Zone points table with a narrow three-wicket win over Madhya Pradesh at Green Park in Kanpur. Put into bat, MP got off to a poor start, losing both openers inside six overs. UP continued to take wickets at regular intervals and at 107 for 6, it looked like MP would struggle to get 200. Rameez Khan (55) then added 61 for seventh wicket with Harpreet Singh (33) and 32 for the eighth Ankit Sharma (20) to push the score to 213. UP openers Rohit (60) and Tanmay Srivastava (55) started well, adding 119 for the first wicket, and though the middle and lower orders wobbled a little, the result was never in doubt after that. UP is now tied with MP and and Vidarbha, though MP has played one game more.
Sanjay Bangar and Shreyas Khanolkar made centuries at the top of the order to lead Rajasthan to a 31-run win over Vidarbha at the Kamla Club Sports Ground in Kanpur. Justifying the decision to bat first, Khanolkar and Bangar added 182 for the first wicket before the former was trapped leg-before to Shrikant Wagh for 103, an innings studded with 12 fours and a six. Bangar pushed on to make 139, falling with just two balls left in the innings, as Rajasthan piled up 312. Vidarbha made a decent fist of the chase, but no one was able to go on and make a big score - Shalabh Srivastava top scored with 64 - and ultimately came up short.
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