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December 14, 2008
Tamil Nadu 117 (Amarnath 5-24, Argal 3-39) and 402 (Karthik 123, Prasanna 92, Argal 4-59) beat Baroda 166 (YK Pathan 35, Amarnath 5-60) and 94 (Gaekwad 37*, Balaji 5-47, Ganapathy 4-47) by 259 runs
A 259-run win at the Moti Bagh Stadium, and the five points from it, helped Tamil Nadu book their spot in the quarter-finals. Baroda's bowlers came back strongly after leaking 301 runs in 73 overs on the second day, but Tamil Nadu's medium-pacers were even better, bundling out the opposition in 24.5 overs to set up victory with a day to spare.
Tamil Nadu started with a 252-run lead, but they lost seven wickets for 101on the third day. The overnight pair of Dinesh Karthik and S Vidyut extended their partnership to 77 before falling in quick succession. Suresh Kumar and R Ashwin then added 41 for the sixth wicket but medium-pacer Ajitesh Argal and left-arm spinner Swapnil Singh took the last five wickets for 19 runs.
Set a target of 354, Baroda were rarely in the hunt as Tamil Nadu's medium-pacers maintained a testing off-stump line. P Amarnath, who took five in the first innings, dismissed Connor Williams for 3, and in the next over L Balaji made it 14 for 3. Azharuddin Bilakhia and Shatrunjay Gaekwad were the only pair to offer some resistance. Balaji removed Bilakhia after a 25 that included six boundaries, and C Ganapathy snuffed out chances of a fightback with three wickets in four balls. Ganpathy finished with four, and Balaji took two in the 25th over to complete his 15th first-class five-for. Gaekwad was not out on 37, while Karthik, the Tamil Nadu wicketkeeper and captain, claimed five catches in the innings to follow up his century.
Mumbai 180 (Samant 46, B Mohanty 5-50, DS Mohanty 3-28) and 361 for 5 dec (Rahane 201, Jaffer 66, Kukreja 53) beat Orissa 108 (H Das 62*, Kulkarni 5-27, Waingankar 2-10) and 118 (Jayachandra 72, Shaikh 3-30) by 315 runs
Mumbai also secured their spot in the final eight with a thumping 315-run win over Orissa at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack. Ajinkya Rahane scored a career-best 201 at a brisk pace - 244 balls - to set Orissa a daunting target of 434. The hosts crumbled for 118 - ten more than their first-innings effort.
Mumbai were leading by 205 overnight, and more than doubled that lead in 52.5 overs on the third day. Opener Sahil Kukreja fell on his overnight score of 53, and Rohit Sharma was out for 22, but Rahane found a partner in captain Wasim Jaffer. The duo have been involved in a few big partnerships previously, and they added 173 before Jaffer fell for 66. The declaration came soon, when Rahane was dismissed.
For Orissa, two top-order batsmen, Bikas Pati and Shiv Sunder Das, did not bat - Das was injured on the first day. Stand-in opener Pinninti Jayachandra made 72, but there was not much from the rest as they were bowled out in 33.1overs - the final three wickets fell without a run being added.
Gujarat 227 (Thaker 52, NK Patel 51, Aslam 4-22) and 99 for 3 (Panchal 44) beat Rajasthan 136 (Saxena 39, Singh 4-31) and 186 (Chanwaria 88, Singh 7-31) by seven wickets
Gujarat have almost firmed their place in the quarter-finals, and will be assured of a top-three finish from Group A if Delhi fail to win by an innings or ten wickets on Monday. Rajasthan began in Jaipur with a slender lead of 57 with three wickets left in the second innings, and Gujarat medium-pacer Amit Singh scalped all three to finish with figures of 7 for 31, his first five-wicket haul in first-class games. It also completed his maiden ten-wicket haul - he had taken 4 for 31 in the first innings. Singh's 7 for 31 is the third-best figures for a Gujarat bowler; Jasubhai Patel had two eight-wicket hauls during his career. For Rajasthan, debutant Vinod Chanawaria was the last man out, falling 12 short of his maiden first-class ton.
A ten-wicket win would have given Gujarat a bonus point and a spot in the quarter-finals, but Sumit Mathur removed Nilesh Modi early. He took the second wicket as well, but Gujarat were already 80 chasing 96, a target they achieved with seven wickets and a day to spare.
Saurashtra 241 and 46 for 2 (Narwal 2-19) trail Delhi 384 (Dhawan 93, Kohli 69, Chopra 58, Nanda 47) by 97 runs
A desperate Delhi will begin the final day in Rajkot hoping to take the remaining eight wickets in Saurashtra's second innings as quickly, and cheaply, as possible. Delhi have three points assured from this game after they gained the first-innings lead, but a win will give them two more points - three if they win by an innings or ten wickets - and deny Saurashtra, another quarter-final contender from Group A, the one point they stand to earn from a draw.
At 215 for 2, Delhi needed only 27 to overhaul Saurashtra's first-innings score, and their overnight batsmen - Shikhar Dhawan and Mithun Manhas - secured the lead. However, Dhawan (93) and Manhas (32) fell with the score on 255. Two more wickets down for 18 runs, and Delhi were in trouble of being bundled with not much of a lead. Allrounder Rajat Bhatia made 36 to push to score past 300 along with Chetanya Nanda, who stayed till the end to take Delhi to 384. Nanda made 47 off 115 balls, putting on 58 for the ninth wicket with Pradeep Sangwan, who scored 35 off 39.
Saurashtra crawled to 46 in 25 overs before stumps. Sumit Narwal removed both openers - Chirag Pathak falling lbw after playing across the line while Bhushan Chauhan was caught behind. The onus will be on Cheteshwar Pujara, their leading batsman this season, and the experienced Shitanshu Kotak to bat out for a draw.
Maharashtra 244 and 34 for 0 (Khadiwale 20*) need another 269 runs to beat Railways 212 and 334 for 6 dec (Goud 89, Sanyal 82, Kartik 56)
The battle between Railways and Maharashtra is set for an intriguing finish. Railways, who need a win to boost their chances of progressing, set Maharashtra a challenging 303 to win. In reply, Maharashtra's openers were off to a steady start, putting on 34 in their eight overs.
Railways' openers began the day with a 16-run lead in Ratnagiri - they had wiped out the first-innings deficit the previous evening - but both fell early. Mun Mangela struck twice to reduce the visitors for 59 for 3. However, as in the first innings, Yere Goud and Sanjib Sanyal rescued their side. They had scores in the 70s then, and this time both moved on to the 80s but failed to go beyond.
The two batted 47.1 overs for their 141-run stand. As in the first innings, Sanyal was the first to fall, and Goud the sixth man out. Left-arm spinner Murali Kartik came up the order and boosted the run-rate with ten fours in his 49-ball 56. There was a quick cameo from Deepak Yadav before Railways declared at 334 for 6.
Hyderabad 335 and 68 for 2 (Pai 31*) lead Punjab 291 (Kaul 106, Goel 44, Sidhana 41, MP Arjun 3-54, Ashwin Yadav 3-68, Shanker 3-76) by 112 runs
Hyderabad are likely to bag three points from their match against Punjab at home. They took the first-innings lead at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, and the match is set to finish as a draw unless something dramatic happens on the final day.
Punjab, though, did run Hyderabad close for the first-innings points. Wicketkeeper Uday Kaul scored a century, adding 89 runs for the sixth wicket with Mayank Sidhana, the other overnight batsman. But Sidhana's wicket triggered a mini-collapse; MP Arjun struck twice to reduce Punjab to 241 for 9, still 94 short of Hyderabad's total. Kaul, though, got support from Amanpreet Singh. He made 15, but the 50-run stand was not enough for them to take the lead. Hyderabad lost two wickets early in their second innings, but recovered to close the day leading by 112.
Uttar Pradesh 295 for 2 (Srivastava 154*, Kaif 103*) trail Karnataka 511 by 216 runs
Tanmay Srivastava and Mohammad Kaif played in their last league match of the season just as they did in their first. Srivastava scored a fluent century, Kaif's effort was more circumspect, and between them they put on an unbeaten 242-run stand. Uttar Pradesh lost only Suresh Raina on the day, moving towards Karnataka's 511 in what has essentially become a first-innings match. (Read the full report.)
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