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November 17, 2010
Delhi's trio of fast bowlers blew away table-toppers Gujarat for 71 on a rain-hit first day at the Feroz Shah Kotla. The young Delhi pace attack - Sumit Narwal, Pawan Suyal and Pradeep Sangwan - needed only 21 overs to knock over Gujarat, who chose to bat on winning the toss. It was a bad start for Gujarat, losing both their openers in the first three overs. Gujarat captain Parthiv Patel didn't last long either, giving wicketkeeper Puneet Bisht the second of his five catches, after making 8. No. 3 Niraj Patel top-scored with 21 quick runs, but was bowled by Sangwan with the score on 35. Gujarat staggered to 60 for 5, and worse followed as they lost their remaining wickets in 34 deliveries. Suyal finished with four wickets, while Sangwan and Narwal picked up three each. Delhi reached 39 for 0 in the nine overs before rain forced play to be abandoned.
Tamil Nadu, currently in second spot, showcased their batting strength by posting 243 for 2 against bottom-placed Saurashtra in Rajkot. A Saurashtra attack missing fast bowler Jaidev Unadkat, who has been called up to the Indian squad for the third Test against New Zealand. Tamil Nadu opener Abhinav Mukund and No. 3 Arun Karthik both made their first centuries of the tournament to put their side in a strong position. After Tamil Nadu chose to bat, Saurashtra fast bowler Sandip Maniar removed S Anirudha in the third over, but there were no more breakthroughs for 56 overs as Mukund and Karthik added 194 runs. They were finally separated by a run-out, after which Mukund and S Badrinath guided Tamil Nadu till bad light called off play with 17 overs still remaining.
Another team which are hot on Gujarat's heels, defending champions Mumbai, also had a good start to their third-round match, bowling Railways out for 201 at the Bandra-Kurla Complex in Mumbai. Left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla was the most successful bowler, bagging four tail-end wickets, but fast bowler Rohan Raje made more of an impact, taking the first three wickets by the eighth over. The start of the match had been delayed for half an hour by a wet pitch and Raje exploited the conditions once Mumbai won the toss. His burst left Railways reeling at 16 for 3, but thanks chiefly to Prashant Awasthi's 61, they recovered to 162 for 5. Awasthi was then bowled by Abdulla, and Railways' final five wickets fell for 41. Mumbai then lost the wicket of Onkar Gurav while reaching 42 at stumps.
It was a much more even contest at the Eden Gardens, where Bengal finished the day on 257 for 5 against Assam. After choosing to field, Assam had the better of the first half of the day, reducing Bengal to 126 for 5 despite Manoj Tiwary's 50. It was Bengal who dominated the rest of the day, though, as two players with international experience, Wriddhiman Saha and Laxmi Ratan Shukla, made unbeaten half-centuries to deny Assam any more inroads. The pair added 131 for the sixth wicket to level the game by stumps.
Leaders Baroda began their match in style, knocking over Uttar Pradesh for 190 in Vadodara. Two players who impressed in Baroda's previous match, Munaf Patel and Yusuf Pathan, shared nine wickets to bundle out UP. Yusuf, fresh from a hurricane 195, polished off the UP lower-order to collect his eighth five-wicket haul, while Munaf ripped through the top-order, reducing them to 46 for 4. UP recovered through a 94-run partnership between Parvinder Singh and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, which was snapped when Munaf had Bhuvneshwar bowled for 47. Parvinder went on to make 85, but he received little support from the tail. Baroda reached 59 for 1 in the 18 overs before stumps.
In the battle between two teams at the bottom of Group B, Himachal Pradesh made slow and steady progress to finish the first day against Punjab on 256 for 4 in Dharmasala. Their openers, Bhavin Thakkar and Sangram Singh, typified HP's approach, crawling to 77 at just more than two runs an over. Both were dismissed in the space of three overs and HP slipped to 82 for 2, but half-centuries from Vinit Indulkar and Paras Dogra kept Punjab at bay for 31 overs. Again, HP lost both settled batsmen within a short span before Manvinder Bisla, who came into prominence as an opener for Kings XI Punjab, made an unbeaten 34 to guide the home side to stumps.
In a match where less than a session of play was possible on the first day, Karnataka were in a bit of bother against Haryana in Rohtak. Bad light cost 21 minutes of play before lunch, by when Joginder Sharma, who played a pivotal role in India's World Twenty20 victory in 2007, took three wickets to leave Karnataka at 84 for 3. The visitors will be comforted by the fact that they have their two most important batsmen, Robin Uthappa and Manish Pandey, still at the crease. No play was possible after lunch due to persistent rain.
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