Ankit's 13 wickets keep MP hopes alive
Madhya Pradesh 279 (Rameez 89, Harpreet 81, Ayyappa 5-66) beat Andhra 56 (Ankit 6-17) and 214 (Pradeep 62, Kaif 51, Ankit 7-91) by an innings and nine runs
Madhya Pradesh kept their hopes of a quarterfinal berth alive with a bonus-point victory - an innings and a nine-run win - against Andhra in Indore. Ankit Sharma picked up his second five-for of the match to finish with match figures of 13 for 108. MP's qualification will depend on results from the Mumbai-Gujarat game as well as the match between Uttar Pradesh and Baroda.
Andhra were up against it from the start of the day as they still required 74 to stave off an innings defeat with five wickets in hand. That task, it proved, was too hard as Andhra were bundled out for 214. Overnight batsman AG Pradeep completed his half-century before Ankit quashed any hopes of a comeback by having him caught for 62.
Substantial partnerships were hard to come by, with the highest being 26 between Shankara Rao - who stuck around for 61 balls - and Pradeep for the eighth wicket.
Uttar Pradesh 466 for 7 (Umang Sharma 195*, Praveen Kumar 83*) lead Baroda 321 by 145 runs
Umang Sharma marshalled a sterling effort from the Uttar Pradesh lower order with his maiden first-class century, which is on course to become his maiden first-class double-century. His unbeaten 195 off 398 balls included 18 fours and ensured a first-innings lead over Baroda in Greater Noida. No less important were Eklavya Dwivedi's contribution at No. 7 - 90 off 179 balls - Praveen Kumar's at No. 9 - 83 not out off 81 balls as the hosts finished on 466 for 7 at stumps on the second day. Both teams need a bonus-point win to give themselves a chance at moving into the knockouts.
Baroda's, however, are already nearing extinction, and have only themselves to blame for that. At the start of the day, they needed only five UP wickets to wrap up the innings and were ahead by 246 runs. But Umang and Dwivedi were immovable. Their sixth-wicket stand - 166 runs in 58. 4 overs - erased much of their deficit and if Baroda thought Irfan Pathan breaking through would give them respite, out walked Praveen and began bashing the ball to all parts. He hit seven fours and six sixes during his 11th first-class half-century to put UP into the lead - at 145 runs, with three wickets in hand, it is a substantial one too.
Gujarat 354 for 7 (Merai 150*, Axar 88, Thakur 4-75) trail Mumbai 531 by 176 runs
Gujarat's place in the quarter-final is under threat after their slow progress at Wankhede stadium. Bhargav Merai, the overnight batsman, continued on to make a century. He is unbeaten on 150 while Axar Patel came in at No. 7 to strike a solid 88. But they are still 177 runs behind Mumbai and if they cannot claim a first-innings lead, they will join Madhya Pradesh on 24 points and will need to worry about net run-rate calculations.
Shardul Thakur and Badre Alam played the greatest part in increasing the sense of uncertainty for Gujarat. They took 6 for 142 in 52 overs, which meant the batsmen were not able to get away and in their efforts to do so, most of them ended up back in the pavilion. Rujul Bhatt was the first man dismissed with only 33 runs added to the overnight 102 for 3. Then Gujarat captain Parthiv Patel came out to bat despite a rib injury and although he managed a boundary, he fell after facing six deliveries.
At 139 for 5, Merai got together with Axar and they batted over 50 overs together to put on 155 runs. It was certainly what Gujarat needed at the time and they would have preferred the pair to remain unbeaten at stumps, but Axar was dismissed for 88 and so too Rush Kalaria, both men victims of a late burst from Thakur.