Desperate Haryana fail to make semi-final cut
Jammu & Kashmir 314 (ID Singh, Javed Ahmed 55, Budhwar 5-69) and 173 (ID Singh 78, Billa 4-67, Budhwar 4-36) beat Haryana 285 (Manav Sharma 98, Sumeet Sharma 49, Beigh 6-89) and 158 (Seikh 3-33, Nizam 3-33, Beigh 3-39) by 44 runs
Goa's win on Sunday left Haryana with no choice but to win against Jammu & Kashmir in Rohtak. Their bowlers provided them a glimmer of hope on the final day by dismissing the visitors, but the hosts, trying to battle the time constraint by scoring at a quick pace, lost wickets in the process and eventually fell short of their target by 45 runs. The win was Jammu & Kashmir's first of the season.
Jammu & Kashmir resumed their second innings at 40 for 2, a lead of 69, and Ian Dev Singh and Ahmed Nizam pushed the score to 74 before Jitender Billa struck for the third time in the innings. Billa got his fourth to make it 86 for 4, and after 23.2 overs in the day, the chances of a win for Haryana seemed bright: Jammu & Kashmir were struggling at 101 for 6. But like in the first innings, Ian Dev held fort at one end. Wicketkeeper Parveez Ganei played out 45 balls for his 6 in a 27-run stand with Ian Dev. Frustratingly for Haryana, the partnership lasted 14.5 overs. It was nine overs more before Ian Dev finally fell for a 165-ball 78. It was the second time he was dismissed in the 70s in the match, and by left-armer Sanjay Budhwar. Haryana could have got more overs for their chase by dismissing the tailenders cheaply, but Amit Baloria, batting at No. 9, thwarted their plans with an unbeaten 53-ball 22. After Ian Dev fell, Haryana took another 8.2 overs to wrap up the innings, with Budhwar taking four of the last five wickets to end with career-best match analysis of 9 for 105.
Haryana were chasing 203, but had yet to score when Samiullah Beigh struck two blows in the first over. He got his third, and ninth in the match, by having Sumeet Sharma caught behind for 5. Haryana's batsman, though, were still undeterred, with nothing to lose if they were defeated. P Sahu, at the other end, hit his way to 38-ball 42, including five fours and a six. When he fell, Haryana were at 69 for 4 off 11.3 overs, but two strikes in successive overs left them at a precarious 94 for 6. Wicketkeeper Nitin Saini chipped in with a run-a-ball 42, and Dhruv Singh and Manav Sharma continued scoring at a brisk rate.
However, the two were among the three wickets scalped by left-arm spinner Ahmed Nizam, and medium-pacer Arshad Seikh made it three bowlers with three wickets in the innings with the dismissal of Billa. Haryana's final score was 158 in 27.3 overs, a run-rate of 5.74.
Kerala 376 (Fernandez 124, Prem 109) and 138 for 2 (Fernandez 59*) beat Jharkhand 301 (Tiwary 125, Sreesanth 4-64) and 212 (Cheruvathur 4-40, Sreesanth 3-76) by eight wickets
The more Jharkhand's lower order hung on, the higher would have been the chances of them salvaging a draw against Kerala at the Keenan Stadium in Jamshedpur. The last three pairs survived 26.1 overs on the final day, but they could only push the overnight lead of 69 to 137, a target which Kerala chased patiently for the loss of two wickets.
The eighth and ninth wickets added 26 and 11 for the hosts, and the final pair of Shankar Rao and Sujit Roy put on 31. Sony Cheruvathur, the Kerala captain, took his fourth wicket to end the innings; he dismissed Roy, whose 31 was the second-best score in Jharkhand's 212.
Kerala's opening stand was broken on 23, but opener Sambasiva Sarma and Robert Fernandez put their team on course. After Sarma was run out, Fernandez, the first-innings centurion, and Sreekumar Nair steered them to victory.
Assam 178 (Goswami 79, Rakesh Kumar 6-36) and 371 for 4 (Parida 136, Singh 80, Martin 80) beat Services 244 and 304 for 9 (Chatarjee 71, Pankaj Kumar 54*, Konwar 3-51) by six wickets
There were quite a few similarities between the Chennai Test and the Group B match between Services and Assam in Delhi. Like England, Services had gained a significant first-innings lead but they meandered along during their second innings, eventually declaring with nine wickets down. Both India and Assam were chasing 370-plus targets - although Assam had lesser time for their 371 than India for their 387. Both ended with the chasing sides winning by six wickets, and while India completed the fourth-highest successful chase in Tests, Assam completed the fifth-best chase in the Ranji Trophy.
Services had a 300-plus lead at the end of the third day, and if they needed to provide a reason for not declaring and challenging Assam to chase, it was aptly given by their opponents. No. 11 Pankaj Kumar hit a few fours to push to lead from 332 to 370 in five overs, at which point Services declared. Assam then went along at 4.71 runs per over, and reached the target comfortably in 78.4 overs.
Kumar struck in the fourth innings to remove opener Palash Jyoti Das quickly, but K Saikia and Tarjinder Singh set the platform with a stand of 90 in 19.1 overs. Singh was out for 80, but captain Rashmi Parida took charge of the chase. He hit only 11 fours, but needed only 160 balls for his 136. Jacob Martin was a bit slower in scoring his 80, staying unbeaten as the visitors clinched a win. Services ended the tournament winless.
Parida was pleased that his team ended the Ranji season with a victory. "It's my best innings of the season because we were chasing 371 on a fifth-day track," he told the Indian Express. "I wasn't enjoying cricket there (Orissa), I got an offer from Assam being a professional player and I decided to come on board."
Madhya Pradesh 453 for 7 dec (Jalaj S Saxena 129, Bundela 94, Jatin S Saxena 74, Tomar 65, Ojha 51) and 136 for 5 dec (Dholpure 63) drew with Tripura 305 (Shetty 118, Dutta 43, Pandey 4-60) and 223 for 7 (Chowdhury 118, Golwalkar 4-85)
A win could have pushed Madhya Pradesh, already assured of a semi-final spot, to first position in Group B, and they tried to force a result by an early declaration in their second innings.
Leading by 148, Madhya Pradesh played out 31 overs to set Tripura a target of 285. Sunil Dholpure, promoted to No. 3, scored 63 off 82 balls, while Himalaya Sagar chipped in with 46. Tripura were wobbling at 79 for 3, but No. 3 Subal Chowdhury shored up the innings with his century. He took them to 216 for 4 with Abhijit Dey, but the overs were running out. Legspinner Yogesh Golwalkar dismissed Chowdhury for 118 - an innings that took 140 balls and included 20 fours. Golwalkar took two more to finish with four in the innings, but the seventh wicket fell in what was the final over of the match.
Vidarbha 403 (Gonnade 78, Shrivastava 63, Acharya 51) and 134 for 7 (Dinda 5-46) drew with Bengal 426 (Saha 159, Chakrabarty 56)
Bengal's bowlers nearly pulled off an improbable win after they eventually crept past Vidarbha's first-innings total of 403 in Nagpur. Ashok Dinda grabbed five as Vidarbha were reduced to 62 for 7, but Ranjit Paradkar and Shrikant Wagh played out 31.2 overs to secure a draw. The three points from the first-innings lead helped Bengal retain first place in Group B ahead of Madhya Pradesh.
Resuming on 371 for 6, Bengal lost their overnight batsmen before taking the lead. Avik Chowdhury and Ritam Kundu were both dismissed for 49, trapped leg-before by Umesh Yadav. Two wickets had fallen in the space of ten balls for five runs, but the Bengal tail did not panic. Sourav Sarkar scored 21 and Dinda an unbeaten 11 to help them to a 23-run lead. Yadav, playing his fourth first-class game, bagged his first five-for.
Ranadeb Bose struck twice in the first over of Vidarbha's second innings, and Dinda then took over to leave them at 28 for 4. By the time he bagged his five-for, Vidarbha were reeling at 62 for 7 in 23.4 overs. Paradkar, though, hung around 139 balls for his 21, while Wagh played 96 for his 34.
Bengal will face Goa in the semi-final starting December 18 at the Karnail Singh Stadium in Delhi, while on the same day Madhya Pradesh begin their semi-final against Himachal Pradesh at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground in Nagpur. The two finalists earn a promotion to the Super League for 2009-10, and will also play this season's Super League quarter-finals.
Bengal will be further bolstered by the inclusion of Sourav Ganguly in the 14-member squad for the semi-final. Laxmi Ratan Shukla has been retained as captain for the match.
|Jammu & Kashmir||5||1||3||0||1||0||6||0.633||2132/100||2558/76|