Ranji Trophy 2012-13, Group A, 9th Round, 3rd day December 31, 2012

Rajasthan push Hyderabad into relegation

ESPNcricinfo staff

Rajasthan 384 (Saxena 84, Menaria 63, Reddy 5-67) and 103 for 2 lead Hyderabad 349 (Jhala 75*, Rituraj Singh 4-86) by 138 runs

Defending champions Rajasthan avoided relegation narrowly as they recovered from the cameos from Ashish Reddy and Amol Shinde just in time. Hyderabad fought hard against the relegation, but came short by 35 runs.

However, beginning the day at 160 for 5, they stood a much less chance than they gave themselves. Parth Jhala dropped anchor as Ashish Reddy and Shinde scored 62 off 84 and 33 off 36. Those two stands with Jhala took Hyderabad to 321 for 8, but they had left themselves too much to do. Jhala remained unbeaten on 75.

Bengal 157 (Karan Sharma 4-22) and 13 for 1 need another 359 to beat Railways 214 (Paunikar 50, Sarkar 4-62) and 314 for 9 decl. (Rawat 75*)

Railways began the match with an outside chance of making it to the quarters, and they kept that outright chance alive by building on their first-innings lead and declaring just before stumps on the third day. In the six overs possible, Railways took one Bengal wicket.

Railways need to win outright, which will take them to 21 points and then hope that Gujarat lose outright and the match in Rajkot ends in a draw. Even then they will need a better run quotient than Gujarat's.

Madhya Pradesh 135 (Ojha 44, Joshi 3-17, Unadkat 3-20, D Jadeja 3-51) and 89 for 2 need another 322 runs to beat Saurashtra 242 (Vasavada 54, Pandey 3-43) and 303 for 4 (Pujara 203*, Pandey 3-51) decl.

Saurashtra had been 23 for 3 in the morning. Cheteshwar Pujara's dominating double-century crushed whatever pressure that scoreline suggested, reducing it to an entry on the card. By lunch, Saurashtra were 128 for 3. By tea, they had bolted to 303 for 4 and declared to set Madhya Pradesh a target of 411. The stunned visitors gifted two wickets to Saurashtra, leaving them with eight more to take on the final day to reach the quarter-finals.

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Gujarat 244 (Parthiv 101, Chavan 3-54) and 159 for 5 () trail Mumbai 447 (Jaffer 171, Shah 82) by 44 runs

During tea time on the third day of their last Group A game against Mumbai, a couple of the Gujarat support-staff members were keeping a close watch on the proceedings in Rajkot. And it was quite understandable. With an outright loss hovering over their heads at the Dr DY Patil Sports Stadium, Gujarat will be keeping their fingers crossed for Madhya Pradesh to draw the game against Saurashtra in Rajkot ...

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