Mannu thwarts Mumbai as Himachal secure draw
On the final day of the sixth round, Himachal Pradesh and Andhra secured what could prove to be crucial results. In Group A, Himachal hung on for a draw, denying Mumbai the lead in the points table. Mumbai, with three points from the match, are now tied with Delhi, who were frustrated by rain at Bangalore, at 18 points. Himachal got themselves one point too, which could help them in the fight to avoid relegation, when they face competitors Rajasthan next. Saurashtra are in pole position with 20 points after their win against Maharashtra.
In Group B, Andhra took three points off leaders Baroda and came back into the semi-finals race, after having lost two successive matches outright. Punjab completed an easy win over Orissa to ensure they won't be relegated this season, even though they don't play in the next round. One of Bengal, Hyderabad, Orissa and Andhra will be relegated this season.
Mumbai 370 and 65 for 1 drew with Himachal Pradesh 214 and 430 (Mannu 103, Malik 48, Thakur 46*)
Ajay Mannu denied Mumbai the outright win they were badly after with a defiant maiden century as Himachal Pradesh, following on, batted Mumbai out of the game. Himachal, resuming on 236 for 5, leading by 80, lost overnight half-centurion Paras Dogra after only three runs were added. Mannu stuck in, though, and got support from Sarandeep Singh, after which Ashok Thakur and Vikramjeet Malik put the matter beyond Mumbai.
Ther last-wicket pair of Thakur and Malik played out 24.1 overs and added 79 runs, just when it looked like Mumbai could dismiss Himachal and go for a final dash. As it turned out, they were set a near-impossible 275 in a minimum of 13 overs. They managed 17 overs, and scored 65 runs.
Punjab 225 and 175 for 3 (Inder 47*) beat Orissa 323 and 76 by 7 wickets
Ravi Inder saw Punjab through to a comfortable seven-wicket win over Orissa, and with that avoided the relegation that had loomed large during the last two rounds. When Punjab began the final day, they required 58 to win, which they did easily after the loss of one more wicket. Inder was dismissed for 74, when they needed seven to win.
Yesterday, VRV Singh's hat-trick (5 for 25) had rattled Orissa in the second innings to put Punjab in charge after they conceded a 98-run first-innings lead. With Andhra only managing three points against Baroda, Punjab were assured they would not be relegated.
Baroda 270 (Gaekwad 91, Shankara Rao 5-50, Kalyankrishna 4-69) and 126 for 2 (Williams 53*, Solanki 52*) drew with Andhra 469 for 9 dec (Prasad 121*, Sumanth 72)
G Shankara Rao and D Kalyankrishna ran through the Baroda lower order to secure first-innings points from a slow-paced match. After Andhra had batted for more than two days to post 469, Baroda, 126 for 2 overnight, looked like batting out the final day without a first-innings result. But once the overnight pair of Connor Williams and Rakesh Solanki were dismissed, Shatrunjay Gaekwad, former India batsman Aunshuman Gaekwad's son, who scored 91, lacked support.
Shankara Rao took 5 for 50 and Kalyankrishna 4 for 69 to dismiss Baroda for 270 and enforce the follow-on, but Baroda batted out 43 overs in the second innings to ensure a draw.
Karnataka 0 for 0 drew with Delhi 538 (Dhawan 148, Kohli 169, Manhas 124)
Not a single ball was bowled over the last two days as persistent rains frustrated and forced Delhi to finish with only one point. They had dominated the Karnataka bowling to score 538 in the first innings, but didn't get a bowl. With their semi-final competitors catching up and even overtaking them, this has been a crucial loss of play for Delhi.
Tamil Nadu 324 for 4 (Vijay 123, Badrinath 138) drew with Rajasthan 229 for 6 (Bist 79*, Saxena 71)
After rain finally relented in Chennai, Tamil Nadu declared on overnight 324 for 4, bowled 101 overs at Rajasthan, but could not get them out to gain the first-innings points.
Robin Bist and Vineet Saxena scored half-centuries to ensure Rajasthan would not be bowled out. Bist finished unbeaten on 79.