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November 30, 2011
A maiden double-century from Suryakumar Yadav, his first three-figure score, and an all-round performance from seamer Dhawal Kulkarni put Mumbai on top against Orissa at the DRIEMS Ground in Cuttack. Yadav scored his runs at a fair clip on the second day - Mumbai were 311 for 3 at stumps on the first - striking 28 fours and a six with a strike-rate of 86.20. Orissa struck early, however, grabbing the first three wickets to fall on the day for just 30 runs. But Yadav and Dhawal added 174 for the seventh wicket, Dhawal the more patient of the two on his way to 61, and Mumbai eventually declared on 529 for 8. Orissa were in all sorts of trouble in their response. Dhawal cut through the batting, nipping out four wickets before the close to leave Orissa tottering at 57 for 7. Zaheer Khan, returning from injury and trying to get in shape for the tour of Australia, picked up one wicket, dismissing opener Bikas Pati.
Delhi fought back strongly on the second day against Baroda at the Feroz Shah Kotla, ensuring the game was even at stumps. Ashish Nehra starred for the hosts, taking 6 for 102 to run through the Baroda line-up after they had been sitting pretty on 273 for 3 when play began. The overnight batsmen, centurion Rakesh Solanki and captain Pinal Shah, were well set, but Nehra began the slide by having Solanki caught behind for 113. Nehra picked up five of the seven wickets that fell during the collapse, and Baroda only managed 34 runs after the 165-run stand between Solanki and Pinal was broken.
After his batsmen had managed 318, Irfan Pathan put Baroda in control with his third five-for of the competition, reducing Delhi to 74 for 5 at one stage. He separated the Delhi openers after they had added 44, and dismissed Rajat Bhatia and Yogesh Nagar off successive deliveries. But on a day of twists, Delhi fought back via a counter-attacking century from wicketkeeper Puneet Bisht and a determined knock from their captain Mithun Manhas. Bisht smashed 21 fours, while Manhas kept one end occupied during his innings of 49. The pair added 136 before Manhas fell to Irfan, but Bisht remained unbeaten on 114 to take his team to 250 for 6, still 68 behind.
The contest between Haryana and Bengal was also even at the Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium in Rohtak. Centuries from Rahul Dewan and Sunny Singh had helped Haryana reached 258 for 5 on the first day but they were bowled out for 358 on the second, seamer Ashok Dinda picking up a five-wicket haul. Haryana were 270 for 7 at one stage but Sachin Rana, who made 64, in the company of Harshal Patel at No.9 took them past 350. Bengal progressed very slowly in their response, reaching 113 for 2 in 51 overs by the close. Opener Arindam Das was unbeaten on 70; Haryana captain Amit Mishra took both the wickets.
Karnataka moved into a strong position against Saurashtra at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. Most of the first day had been lost due to a wet outfield, and Karnataka reached 369 for 4 at stumps on the second. KB Pawan continued his prolific run this season, scoring his second century and adding 154 for the second wicket with Ganesh Satish. There was also a half-century for Bharat Chipli, who returned to his first-class side after a considerable gap and remained unbeaten at the close in the company of Stuart Binny.
Madhya Pradesh remained in control of a low-scoring encounter against Gujarat at the Emerald High School Ground in Indore. MP began the day on 51 for 2, having bowled out Gujarat for 130 on day one, but Gujarat fought back superbly. Seamers Mehul Patel, who took 5 for 54, and Ishwar Chaudhary, who grabbed four, ran through the MP batting line-up, reducing them to 117 for 9. Captain Devendra Bundela made a half-century but when he fell, the momentum was with Gujarat. The last-wicket pair of TP Sudhindra and Ishwar Pandey, the bowlers who had skittled Gujarat on the first day, came to their team's rescue, adding 88. Sundhindra contributed 51 while Pandey smashed three fours and a six in a counter-attacking run-a-ball 36. Their efforts gave MP a 75-run lead, crucial under the circumstances.
Sudhindra was not going to be kept out of action, and he nipped out two wickets in Gujarat's second innings. Gujarat's batsmen got starts but didn't push on; by the close they were 133 for 5, only 58 ahead.
Punjab took control of their game against Railways at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali on an eventful second day. The hosts, for the second time this season, were at the receiving end of a hat-trick, this time from medium-pacer Krishnakant Upadhyay, who took a career-best 7 for 76. Overnight batsman Uday Kaul progressed to a century but eventually fell for 131, the first of Upadhyay's three hat-trick victims. He was dismissed on the final ball of the 129th over and Upadhyay dislodged Taruwar Kohli and Manpreet Gony, both caught behind, off the first two balls of his next over. Punjab were bowled out for 366 but Gony led their charge with the ball, and was on a hat-trick himself. He trapped Yere Goud and wicketkeeper Mahesh Rawat in front, but was unable to make it three in three balls. He finished the day with four wickets, leaving Railways struggling at 89 for 5.
A collective batting effort took Uttar Pradesh to 492 against Rajasthan at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur, but their opponents responded well. There were a total of five half-centuries in the UP innings, three of them playing a part on the second day. Overnight batsmen Parvinder Singh and Arish Alam went on to make 91 and 69 respectively, and Piyush Chawla smashed 88 in 71 in a knock that included 16 fours and a six. Deepak Chahar picked up four wickets and Vivek Yadav a five-for, but UP had built up a challenging first-innings score. Rajasthan began poorly, losing their openers Aakash Chopra and Vineet Saxena to Bhuvneshwar Kumar but Robin Bist and Rashmi Parida steadied the ship and took their team to 119 for 2 at stumps, still 373 behind.
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