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November 6, 2011
Mumbai took 65 overs on the fourth day to complete a ten-wicket victory against Railways at the Karnail Singh Stadium in Delhi. It was the only outright win in the first round of matches in the Elite division and Mumbai have a headstart on the competition as they picked up six points. Railways had batted with resolve on the third day to give themselves a chance of saving the match but it started to go wrong from the second ball of the final day, when Suryakumar Yadav dismissed Anureet Singh for a duck. When Shivakant Shukla, who started the day 64 not out, was dismissed by Ramesh Powar for 77, Railways were in trouble.
Sanjay Bangar and Nitin Bille battled, batting out 39 overs together, but Iqbal Abdulla dismissed them in quick succession, and then got another wicket two balls after Bille was dismissed to break Railways' resistance. Mumbai did not waste time getting rid of the tail and bowled Railways out for 244, leaving themselves just 18 to win, which they knocked off in 4.2 overs.
Rajasthan's batsmen battled through the whole of the fourth day and hung on for a draw against Karnataka at the Field Club Ground in Udaipur. Rajasthan had got through 27 overs at the end of the third day but still had another whole day to survive, after Karnataka had managed a 368-run first-innings lead and made them follow on. The top order saw out the first two sessions but in the final one Karnataka's seamers picked up four wickets within eight overs to set up a tense finish. Karnataka needed four wickets in just under 20 overs, but Robin Bist lasted 51 balls and wicketkeeper Rohit Jhalani stayed unbeaten off 60 balls to stave of defeat.
The early work had been done by openers Vineet Saxena, who scored 99 off 283 balls, and Vaibhav Deshpande (52 off 150). After Deshpande departed 21.2 overs into the fourth day, captain Hrishikesh Kanitkar made a solid 45 off 84 and Ashok Menaria lasted 38 balls too. It was only when Saxena and Menaria fell in consecutive overs that Rajasthan began to wobble but luckily for them the lower-middle order saw things out.
In another battling performance, Punjab earned a draw against Uttar Pradesh by losing just five wickets on the final day in Mohali and wiping out the first-innings deficit. Punjab started the day on 26 for 2, still trailing by 220 runs, and managed to get to 280 for 7. They lost opener Sarul Kanwar in the fourth over of the day but Karan Goel played steadily and scored 55 off 153 balls. Mandeep Singh did not completely curb his natural attacking instincts and hit five fours and two sixes in his 79-ball 51. Unlike in Rajasthan's case, runs mattered as much as time for Punjab as they had a chance to wipe out the deficit and avoid some awkward overs at the end of the day. Their batsmen's contrasting approaches served them well.
Mayank Sidhana came to the crease at the fall of Mandeep's wicket and scored a crucial 76 not out off 146 balls. Punjab kept managing to string together partnerships and finally took a lead when Sidhana was batting with captain Harbhajan Singh, who scored 24 off 35. UP had to settle for three points for the first-innings lead.
Orissa and Saurashtra both took no points from their match at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack after Orissa's first innings was left incomplete and they had not managed to pass Saurashtra's first-innings score. Saurashtra needed six wickets at the start of the day to secure three points for a first-innings lead while Orissa needed an unlikely 300 runs to get the first-innings points. Natraj Behera converted his century into a double-hundred and Orissa's middle and lower-middle order batted gutsily to take them to 494 for 7 in response to Saurashtra's 545, meaning both sides are still on 0 points after the first round of matches.
After Ravinra Jadeja's triple-hundred over the first two days, Orissa had crawled along at a snail's pace on the third day and started the final one on 246 for 4. Behera and Abhilash Mallick started at a slightly brisker pace on Sunday and Mallick was eventually dismissed for 64 off 175 balls. Saurashtra could not make use of that opening though and Paresh Patel came in and played a stodgy hand of 48 off 149 balls. Behera reached his maiden first-class double-hundred and when he was dismissed for 209 Saurashtra needed to take four wickets in just under 30 overs. Deepak Behera and Alok Sahoo resisted with an unbeaten 60-run stand.
Four wickets from Ashok Dinda helped Bengal bowl Gujarat out for 495 on the fourth day at Eden Gardens and secure three points for a first-innings lead. After having amassed 560 in their first innings, Bengal were given cause for worry on the third day when Gujarat played their way to 315 for 2. However, on the fourth day they picked wickets in clusters and made sure Gujarat fell 65 runs short of their first-innings score.
Bengal got off to the ideal start on Sunday, with Ranadeb Bose dismissing Rikin Chauhan in the third over of the day and Dinda bowling Niraj Patel in the fourth. Gujarat did not collapse though, and Bhavik Thaker and Pratharesh Parmar both scored half-centuries and got the visitors to 430 for 4. Bengal would have been worried at that stage but Dinda gave them the breakthrough, trapping Parmar lbw and bowling Sunny Patel for a two-ball duck. Thaker was removed by Bose shortly after and there was not much more resistance from Gujarat as Dinda finished with 4 for 87.
With Haryana having already conceded the first-innings lead against Delhi at the Roshanara Club Ground in Delhi, they used the final day as batting practice and Sunny Singh helped himself to a century. Haryana started the day on 94 for 2 in their second innings and with the first-innings lead just 59 it would have taken a dramatic collapse to give Delhi any chance of an outright win. Delhi got an early wicket but Sunny Singh and Sachin Rana stitched together a 111-run stand to kill the game off. Sunny Singh scored 157 out of Haryana's 318 for 8 in the second innings but had to retire hurt in the afternoon.
After three days of rain, there was finally some play between Tamil Nadu and Baroda at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai but it was only 12 overs before the match was called off. Baroda won the toss and reached 38 for 0. Both teams were awarded two points each since the match was affected by weather.
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