Tyagi, Bhuvneshwar script stunning win for Uttar Pradesh
In a remarkable turnaround at the Moti Bagh Stadium in Vadodara, Uttar Pradesh stunned the hosts Baroda to sneak home by 32 runs. Baroda had dominated the game on the first three days and victory appeared a formality on the fourth when UP began just 160 ahead with two wickets left. Baroda were on track to complete a comprehensive win and retain their place at the top of the Group B standings, with No.3 batsman Kedar Devdhar guiding the innings to 89 for 2.
But the seam-bowling pair of Sudeep Tyagi and Bhuvneshwar Kumar turned the tables, in dramatic fashion. Tyagi, who has played four ODIs for India and represents Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, triggered a collapse, grabbing the next three wickets for six runs. At 95 for 5, it was still advantage Baroda with Yusuf Pathan at the crease, who had finished with ten wickets in the match and was looking good to steer his team to victory with the bat.
Yusuf added 36 with wicketkeeper-captain Pinal Shah for the sixth wicket, and at 143 for 6 with Yusuf having blasted 49 off 39 with four sixes, Baroda were still in control. Bhuvneshwar, though, stepped up to have Yusuf caught and then ran through the tail to nip out two more wickets. Tyagi finished the innings by dismissing Murtuja Vahora and bag a six-for. Baroda had lost their last four wickets with no addition to the score and fell short of a chase they should have comfortably completed. Instead, it is now UP who top the Group Table with 11 points from three games.
This isn't the first time Tyagi and Bhuvneshwar have come together to script an enthralling win for UP. In the Ranji Trophy semi-final three years ago, at the same venue against Saurashtra, they helped their team defend 162 and qualify for the final.
Opener Ravi Inder Singh struck his fifth first-class century and Yuvraj Singh made 92 to help Punjab bat out the fourth day in Dharmasala and save the game against Himachal Pradesh after following on. The pair added 167 for the second wicket. While Ravi Inder took his time and was sedate, his 129 coming off 330 deliveries, Yuvraj was more fluent, stroking 15 fours and two sixes in his 92. Both were dismissed by seamer Rishi Dhawan, who followed up his three wickets in the first innings with another three-for, but after Punjab had looked good to reach safety. Punjab, though, find themselves at the bottom of the Group B table, while Himachal, who gained three points on a massive first-innings lead, are fifth.
Karnataka decided to get some bat out the fourth day against Haryana at the Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium in Rohtak but gained only one point from the game after conceding a first-innings lead. Opener KB Pawan made 80, Manish Pandey helped himself to a half-century, Amit Verma notched up his third first-class century while Sunil Joshi, the former India left-arm spinner, achieved the rare double of 500-plus wickets and 5000-plus first-class runs on his way to a half-century. Joginder Sharma was the pick of Haryana's bowlers with 3 for 46, but Karnataka improved significantly on their first-innings performance, making 409 for 8. Both teams are tied on six points in Group B, but Karnataka have played one game less.
Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma played crucial roles in Mumbai's nerve-wracking chase against Railways at the Bandra-Kurla Complex, helping their team prevail by two wickets and top the Group A table.
Rahane backed up his 43 in the first innings by anchoring the chase with 94 after the loss of opener Onkar Gurav with the score on 56. Mumbai looked in a comfortable position to seal the chase as Rahane and opener Sahil Kukreja added 97, followed by a further 53 between Rahane and captain Wasim Jaffer. At 204 for 2 and with just 48 to get, it was Mumbai's game to lose and they almost did. Left-arm spinner Murali Kartik and medium-pacer Jai P Yadav, both who have played for India, sent jitters in the Mumbai camp by picking up the next wickets for just 33 runs. At 237 for 8, with 15 more to get, it was almost even but Rohit's presence at the crease proved decisive. He took charge, scoring 31 in 55 balls and a ninth-wicket stand of 15 with Rohan Raje sealed the game for Mumbai.
Gujarat managed to hang on by a thread in their draw against Delhi at the Feroz Shah Kotla, with their last-wicket pair seeing them through to the close. Gujarat were always going to be under pressure after being bowled out for 71 in the first innings and once Delhi amassed 437, the visitors faced a struggle for survival. Things were looking up at the end of day three with the score on 114 for 2, but they came perilously close to losing on the fourth.
The star for Gujarat was opener Priyank Panchal, who made his maiden first-class century, but was dismissed with almost 35 overs still left in the day. At one stage, Gujarat lost three wickets for 16 runs to slide to 260 for 7 but the lower order stepped up. Rohit Dahiya batted with determination, finishing unbeaten on 2 off 109 balls while Siddharth Trivedi and Jayesh Makla, too, fought on. Dahiya batted with Makla for 85 balls before Makla was dismissed off the first ball of the final over of the day. Vikas Mishra, the left-arm spinner, bowled that over and with good reason - he picked up four wickets. But last man Ishwar Choudhary negotiated the five remaining deliveries to save his team. Gujarat, by preventing defeat, managed to be ahead of Delhi on points. They are third in Group A, Delhi are fourth.
Assam gained three points based on a first-innings lead against Bengal at the Eden Gardens in a high-scoring draw, overhauling a score of 562 for 6 declared thanks to centuries from Sridharan Sriram and Gokul Sharma and an equally important 98 from Tarjinder Singh.
Sriram, the former Tamil Nadu batsman who was unbeaten on 89 overnight, had put his team on track to gaining a first-innings lead and completed the task on the fourth day with support from the middle order. Sriram struck his 32nd first-class century but was one of two wickets to fall in quick succession as Assam were reduced to 386 for 5. But Tarjinder and Sharma added 176 for the sixth wicket, taking Assam past the Bengal score and eventually to 588 for 6 at the close. The Assam innings featured three partnerships in excess of 100 runs, and that edged them ahead. At the end of the third round, Assam are placed fifth in Group A; Bengal are sixth.
Saurashtra battled hard against Tamil Nadu at the Khandheri Cricket Stadium in Rajkot but could not manage a first-innings lead. Tamil Nadu had piled up 582 and Saurashtra were well placed at 246 for 4 at the end of the third day. There were valuable contributions from Shitanshu Kotak, who fell just one short of a century, and wicketkeeper Sagar Jogiyani, who made 93. The lower order, too, provided support with the last three wickets adding 101 but the TN score proved too much and a collective bowling effort from the visitors had Saurashtra bowled out for 492. TN are second in the Group A table, Saurashtra are at the bottom.