Ranji Trophy Plate League round-up, 5th round, 3rd day December 11, 2007

Kerala boost chances of semi-final berth

Cricinfo staff

Kerala 340 and 27 for no loss (Gomez 17*, Sebastian 9*) need another 47 runs to beat Gujarat 154 and 259 (Parthiv 74, Popat 59*, Cheruvathur 5-95)
Scorecard

In Surat, a defeat is imminent for hosts Gujarat, with Kerala needing a further 47 to complete a convincing win. Gujarat, behind by 186 on the first-innings scores, were bundled out for 259 in the second.

Sony Cheruvathur, the Kerala captain, bagged five wickets to finish the match with a total of 12 - the best match-haul in the Plate League so far this year. Gujarat captain Parthiv Patel top scored for his side with 74, as the rest of the Gujarat batsmen - barring Digant Popat and No. 11 Hitesh Majmudar - failed to make more than 15.

Tinu Yohannan and Prasanth Chandran took two wickets apiece for the visitors, while Popat fought for Gujarat with his 59 not out. The last-wicket pair added 40 runs, with Majmudar adding a quick 24-ball 26, which included three boundaries and a six.

Chasing 74, Kerala were at 27 for no loss at stumps. They can gain a bonus point if they win without losing a wicket, which might prove decisive in helping them gain a semi-final slot. Gujarat have already qualified as the top team from Group A.

Services 91 and 100 for 4 (Yashpal Singh 34*, Mohanty 16*, Naidu 2-14) need another 373 runs to beat Vidarbha 163 and 400 for 8 dec (Paunikar 102, Naidu 102, Fazal 80, Shrivastava 61*, Rakesh Kumar 5-122)
Scorecard

Set a target of 473, Services were struggling at 100 for 4 at stumps on day three against Vidarbha in Nagpur.

Mohammad Hashim, who wrecked Services with his 7 for 26 in their first innings, bagged two of the wickets to fall, while offbreak bowler Alind Naidu took the others. Yashpal Singh and Ashish Mohanty put on 37 runs for the fifth wicket before the close of play.

Earlier, Naidu's third first-class hundred helped Vidarbha build on their overnight 237 for 4, as the hosts declared on 400. A 118-run stand between Naidu and Shalabh Shrivastava took Vidarbha to 341 for 4, before three wickets fell with six runs added. No. 9 Sandeep Singh scored 29 off 33 in a 53-run stand with Shrivastava before his wicket saw the hosts declaring. Rakesh Kumar finished with 5 for 122 while Shrivastava remained unbeaten on 61.

Assam 245 for 4 (Palash Das 104*, Sharath 52*) trail Tripura 460 by 215 runs
Scorecard

A dull batting display - 177 runs off 90 overs - in Guwahati saw Assam reach 245 for 4 in reply to Tripura's imposing first-innings score of 460.

Assam lost their second wicket on the overnight score of 68, and two more batsmen fell before they reached 150, but opener Palash Das - resuming on 35 - remained resolute to reach his maiden first-class hundred. Das was unbeaten at 104 - which needed 380 deliveries - at stumps, and was involved in an unbroken 91-run partnership with S Sharath, who made 52 off 133 balls.

With 11 points, Assam are currently in second place in Group A, but are in danger of losing out to Kerala on a semi-final berth if they fail to take the first-innings lead.

Haryana 302 and 75 for 7 (Pandey 3-23, Dholpure 3-34)lead Madhya Pradesh 215 (Ojha 45, Mishra 4-61) by 162 runs
Scorecard

The race for second place in Group B of the Ranji Plate League is set for a gripping finale after a day of fluctuating fortunes in the match between Haryana and Madhya Pradesh in Rohtak.

After being bowled out for 215 to concede the first-innings lead, MP struck back through their opening bowlers, Sanjay Pandey and Sunil Dholpure. They took three wickets each to leave Haryana tottering at 75 for 7, with an overall lead of 162 runs.

With Goa's match heading towards a stalemate, Haryana can clinch a spot in the semi-finals with an outright win while a draw is sufficient for MP to go through.

Railways 361 for 4 dec (Bangar 121, Rawle 98, Sanyal 51*) beat Jharkhand 183 (Hashmi 66*, Kumar 51, Bangar 4-36) and 131 (Gupta 33, Saxena 3-26) by an innings and 47 runs
Scorecard

Railways ensured they finish on top of Group B of with an emphatic innings-and-47-run victory over Jharkhand in Delhi.

Railways' overnight batsmen Sanjay Bangar and Harshad Rawle extended their partnership to 268 runs; Bangar going on complete his tenth first-class century, while Rawle fell on 98. Sanjib Sanyal made a brisk 51 before Railways declared on 361, a lead of 178 runs.

In reply, the Jharkhand batsmen were unable to string together any meaningful partnerships as a collective effort from the Railways' bowlers saw them being skittled out for 131. This loss means Jharkhand finish on eight points, ahead only of Jammu and Kashmir.

Goa 104 for 4 (Joglekar 24*, Ratra 29*, Sharma 3-29) trail Jammu and Kashmir 147 (Bhatt 31, Bandekar 5-49, D'Souza 3-32) by 43 runs
Scorecard

Overnight rain washed out the third day's play of the match between Jammu and Kashmir and Goa in Jammu. Goa are well placed to secure the three points a first-innings lead fetches; they are 33 short of the hosts' 147 with six wickets in hand.