Anureet, Mali give Railways big win
Railways 283 (Bhille 60, Pankaj 4-96) and 150 (Bhille 50*, Chahar 3-33) beat Rajasthan 178 (Saxena 73, Mali 3-36) and 136 (Saraf 39, Anureet 5-52, Mali 4-34) by 119 runs
Medium-pace bowlers Anureet Singh and Ranjitkumar Mali skittled Rajasthan for 136 to push Railways to the top of the Group B table with six points. Chasing 256, Rajasthan fell short by 119 runs as their middle order had no answers to the challenges posed by Anureet and Mali.
The Rajasthan openers put on 23 for the opening stand which was broken by Krishnakant Upadhyay in the 20th over. Siddharth Saraf resisted a bit more with a patient 39 off 121 but became Anureet's first victim 20.4 overs later. Rajasthan were 87 for 2 in 44 overs before the collapse started.
Once Robin Bist was dismissed by Anureet for 19, Rajasthan lost their next seven wickets for 36 runs. Ashok Menaria, Chetan Bist, Dishant Yagnik and Deepak Chahar fell for single-digit scores before some resistance from Rituraj Singh and Pankaj Singh. But they were dismissed in successive overs as Anureet finished with 5 for 52, his sixth five-for, and Mali took 4 for 34.
Tamil Nadu 297 (Prasanna 118, Imtiaz 4-79) and 128 for 2 (Mukund 56*, Chawla 2-17) drew with Uttar Pradesh 500 for 9 dec (Chawla 153, Srinivas 4-168)
Uttar Pradesh were happy to let the game drift towards a draw after they had already taken the first-innings lead against Tamil Nadu on the third day in Meerut. But UP captain Piyush Chawla made most of the time by scoring his fifth first-class century as the team stretched the score from overnight 411 for 7 to 500. With the result from the game not likely, Chawla started the day without any pressure before launching three sixes in an Aushik Srinivas over, the third of which took him past 150. However, he was soon dismissed attempting another big hit off the same bowler for a career-best 153.
The pitch had flattened out, but Tamil Nadu had a nervy start to their innings. M Vijay had a reprieve when he was on four runs after he was caught behind off debutant Amit Mishra. He started walking off but stopped midway as the umpire checked for a no-ball. The suspense lasted for about four minutes, after which the no-ball was signalled. Vijay, however, could add only 34 more before being trapped lbw by Chawla. The bowler struck soon when he had S Badrinath bowled, but Abhinav Mukund scored an unbeaten half-century to prevent any further damage.
Bengal 303 (Shukla 155, Jani 3-62) and 194 (Majumdar 69, Bhatt 6-47) drew with Saurashtra 225 (Pujara 102, Dinda 4-65) and 189 for 4 (Shah 104*, Vasavada 50*)
A hundred from captain Jaydev Shah and fifty from Aarpit Vasavada helped Saurashtra draw with Bengal after their top-order had collapsed at Eden Gardens. Chasing 273, Saurashtra ended at 189 for 4 to take one point from the draw, two less than Bengal because of their first-innings lead.
Bengal were 194 for 8 overnight and lost their last two wickets, without adding a run, to Abhishek Bhatt, who took his maiden first-class five-for. Saurashtra were in danger early on when Sourav Sarkar removed both openers within four overs and Ashok Dinda took the wickets of Cheteshwar Pujara and Sheldon Jackson, leaving them on 38 for 4 in the first session of the day.
However, Shah and Vasavada rescued them with an unbeaten 151-run partnership. While Shah scored his fifth first-class hundred with the help of 16 fours, Vasavada played a more patient knock, scoring 50 off 188 in over four hours.
Saurashtra are now placed second in Group B, behind Railways, with one win and three draws and Bengal are fifth.
Madhya Pradesh 239 (Ojha 63, Yadav 4-63) and 385 for 7 (Ojha 211, Rao 3-82) drew with Services 391 (Yashpal 142, Paliwal 99, Jatin 4-47, Jalaj 4-83)
Madhya Pradesh batted out the fourth day for the loss of only four wickets to draw their match against Services in Delhi. Naman Ojha scored his second double-hundred, and along with with the middle and lower order, took MP to 385 for 7. Services took three points for the first-innings lead but are still third from bottom in Group B, while MP took one point to be placed fourth.
MP started the day on 127 for 3, still behind by 25. Ojha and Devendra Bundela stretched their fourth-wicket partnership to 109 before Bundela was run-out for 40. Udit Birla couldn't survive for too long as he was caught off Rahul Kanojia for 8. Ojha then built two patient stands - of 85 with Rameez Khan (21) for the sixth wicket and 72 with Jatin Saxena for the seventh wicket. Khan was also dismissed by Kanojjia but Ojha brought up his double-hundred before finally falling for 211, a knock which featured 21 fours and five sixes and ensured there was no late drama in the game.