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January 1, 2013
Karnataka 572 for 9 decl. (Gautam 264*, Binny 168) and 92 for 2 (Rahul 42*) beat Maharashtra 99 (Mithun 6 for 36, Binny 4-37) and (f/o) 561 (Bawne 155*, Khadiwale 136, Atitkar 78) by eight wickets
After a disappointing season, Karnataka needed a host of things to go their way - not only in their match, but in their group - for them to qualify. They needed Odisha to lose. Odisha lost. If they didn't win by a bonus point, they needed Delhi to take a first-innings lead but not win their match. That happened too.
As Delhi failed to take their opponents' wickets, Karnataka were running out of time too, but they somehow kept producing the wickets on a flat Pune pitch against a determined Maharashtra side. After they managed to wrap Maharashtra's second innings up for 561, Karnataka were left with 89 to chase in 13 overs. Not without drama, they did so with eight balls to spare, and progressed into the next round.
At the start of the day, Maharashtra were 315 for 2, a deficit of only 158. Ankit Bawne began the day on 80 not out, and would remain undefeated. Karnataka kept pegging away at the other end. In the first session, HS Sharath picked up two wickets.
After lunch, Maharashtra looked comfortable, but Syed Moinuddin broke through with the wicket of the dangerous Kedar Jadhav. Another partnership followed, this time between Bawne and Rahul Tripathi, but Sharath got rid of Tripathi before tea.
Going into the final session, though, Maharashtra had already taken a lead of 40 runs, and had four wickets in hand. Karnataka's state was not at all enviable. They had to take the wickets, and then wipe off all the additional runs. The clock kept ticking away.
Abhimanyu Mithun, who took six wickets in the first innings, now provided the inspiration with the wickets of Shrikant Mundhe and Stayajit Bachhav in back-to-back overs. Still, Maharashtra had got 62 ahead by then. A little over 20 overs remained in the day's play.
To Karnataka's annoyance, No. 10 Sachin Chaudhari swung his bat, and scored 14 off 19 balls, taking the lead to 84. It was all getting away from Karnataka, but Stuart Binny's inspired move to get Amit Verma to bowl worked. The legspinner trapped Chaudhari, and Mithun finished the innings off in the next over.
With Robin Uthappa not well, Karnataka opened with Kunal Kapoor and Lokesh Rahul. Kapoor managed just 8 off 12, and his wicket meant Karnataka would not win with a bonus point. That ensured Baroda, seven points adrift of Karnataka, were ensured qualification, but also that Karnataka would need Delhi to draw their game.
Delhi fell short by three wickets in Nagpur, and Rahul and Binny hit their way towards a win. Rahul scored an unbeaten 42 off 34. Binny fell for 25 off 17, but fittingly their record-breaking wicketkeeper-batsman CM Gautam finished it off with 16 off eight balls.
In the quarter-finals, Karnataka will face Saurashtra in Rajkot, and Baroda will be hosted by Mumbai. Maharashtra were relegated.
Delhi 523 for 9 decl. (Rawal 104, Chand 82) drew with Vidarbha 257 and (f/o) 216 for 7
Delhi needed to win their final game to progress to the next round or hope that Karnataka don't won theirs, but were disappointed on both counts. On a flat track in Nagpur, having somehow enforced the follow-on on Vidarbha, Delhi could prise out only seven wickets on the final day. And in exceptional circumstances, Karnataka won their game moments after Delhi were denied.
Shalabh Shrivastava provided the resistance for Vidarbha, who came into the match with a realistic chance of progressing but were frustrated by the flat pitch. Pradeep Sangwan, Vikas Mushra and Sumit Narwal picked up the wickets, but not fast enough. Delhi even got in 95 overs on the day, but couldn't get past Shrivastava, who batted for five hours and 11 minutes.
Vidarbha's captain, Sairaj Bahutule, announced his retirement from first-class cricket after the match.
Tamil Nadu 571 for 6 decl. (Karthik 187) drew with Haryana 180 for 3
In the rain-affected, inconsequential match in Chennai, even a first-innings result was not possible. Haryana finished with 180 for 3 in response to Tamil Nadu's 571 for 6 declared.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Sidharth Monga
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