Ranji Trophy 2015-16, Group A, 8th round, 2nd day November 24, 2015

Easwaran, Dinda help Bengal throw hat into qualifying race

ESPNcricinfo staff

Bengal 142 (Eswaran 88, Dhiraj 5-58) and 135 (B Mohanty 5-20) beat Odisha 107 (Gani 6-34) and 37 (Dinda 7-19) by 133 runs

File photo: Ashok Dinda's best figures in Ranji Trophy helped Bengal climb to the top of the points table © PTI

Forty wickets fell in a little over a day and a half as Bengal beat Odisha by 133 runs in Kalyani to throw their hat into the qualifying race for the knockouts. Ashok Dinda ran riot by picking up 7 for 22 on a surface that was termed a "paddy field" by Rashmi Parida, the Odisha coach, as the visitors were bundled out for 37.

Bengal, who made 142 in the first innings thanks largely to Abhimanyu Easwaran's 88, were shot out for 135 in the second innings, with Basant Mohanty taking five wickets. Chasing 170, Odisha faced the danger of finishing with their lowest-ever score in the tournament's history at 22 for 9. But such an ignominy was avoided thanks to the 15-run alliance between Jayanta Behera and Dhiraj Singh for the last wicket, which incidentally was the highest partnership for Odisha. Their previous lowest was 35 against Bihar in 1958-59.

The win helped Bengal move to 25 points, which meant five teams were in with a chance of securing three quarter-final berths from the group.

Delhi 60 for 1 trail Karnataka 542 (Uthappa 148, Agarwal 118, Pandey 81) by 482 runs

Defending champions Karnataka held the aces in their marquee clash in Hubli as Delhi were buried under an avalanche of runs. Karnataka, who resumed on 358 for 3, were bowled out for 542 a little after tea, with Manish Pandey (81) and R Vinay Kumar, the captain, (50) continuing the good work done by Robin Uthappa and Mayank Agarwal on the opening day.

All the middle order batters - Karun Nair (39), CM Gautam (37) and Shreyas Gopal (29) - were guilty of frittering away starts as Delhi looked set to dismiss Karnataka inside 450. But Vinay's defiance helped the hosts drive forward, even as the new ball pair of Navdeep Saini and Pradeep Sangwan impressed again by picking up three wickets apiece. S Aravind then broke a 47-run opening stand by sending back Unmukt Chand, but Gautam Gambhir (33) and Dhruv Shorey (4) ensured they would be no further casualties. As things stand, it looks like there is only one team with a realistic chance of pressing for full points from this fixture.

Haryana 112 (Pankaj 4-10, Bhatia 3-41) and 62 for 0 trail Rajasthan 279 (Menaria 47, M Sharma 5-56) by 105 runs

As many as eight batsmen got into double figures, with the highest being Ashok Menaria, who made 47, as Rajasthan finished with 279 to open up a 167-run lead over Haryana in their quest to avoid being the bottom scrappers of the group. The 71-run stand for the fifth wicket between Menaria and Siddharth Dobal (43) was the highest of the innings. That the lead was restricted to below 200 was largely due to the efforts of Mohit Sharma, who finished with 5 for 56, after Haryana were bowled out for 112 on the opening day.

Their openers began well in the second dig to end the day at 62 without loss, thereby bringing the deficit down to 105 when stumps were drawn in Lahli.

Assam 223 for 4 (Karthik 105*, Gokul 59*) v Maharashtra

Arun Karthik brought up his third century of the season as Assam overcame a top-order meltdown at the MCA Stadium in Pune. They were tottering at 18 for 3 after being sent in to bat on a green top, with Anupam Sanklecha and Samad Fallah doing the early damage. Karthik found able assistance from Gokul Sharma, the captain, who was unbeaten on 59. Their fifth-wicket stand of 130 went a long way in restoring parity for Assam, who are in the mix for a quarter-final berth after securing three wins in the tournament so far.