Batsmen put Punjab in control
Eight Haryana bowlers could not prevent Punjab from amassing 322 for 2 on the first day at the Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium in Rohtak. Sarul Kanwar and Ravi Inder Singh began Punjab's dominance by putting on 115 upfront. Kanwar continued his fine debut season - he already has has two hundreds from four games - hitting ten fours and three sixes in his 88. Both the batsmen were removed by allrounder Joginder Sharma, before Mandeep Singh (88 not out) and Uday Kaul (75 not out) added an unbroken 180 runs. This is a crucial game for Haryana who are fourth in Group B with one more match remaining after this one.
Baroda's bowlers led by left-arm seamer Sankalp Vohra skittled Group B leaders Karnataka for 257 in Mysore. That total was possible due to half-centuries from Robin Uthappa and CM Gautam on either side of a middle-order collapse in which Karnataka lost six wickets for 55 runs. Uthappa had made an aggressive 53 in a 73-run opening stand with KB Pawan before he fell leg before to left-arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt, and the middle order caved in after that. Gautam (57) and former India player Sunil Joshi (43) lifted Karnataka from 149 for 7 with a 72-run partnership, before Baroda finished off the innings. Vohra took 4 for 65 while Bhatt had 3 for 45.
Persistent rain ensured that no play was possible at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on the opening day between Orissa and Himachal Pradesh. Both teams are languishing in the lower half of Group B.
Railways made five changes to the side that played against Saurashtra last week, but that didn't revive their stuttering season on the opening day against Delhi. On a Roshanara Club wicket that favoured the bowlers, they were dismissed for 259 despite Shreyas Khanolkar's 102. Delhi's openers built on the advantage, motoring to 48 in eight overs.
All of Delhi's five bowlers were among the wickets, and had Railways struggling on 124 for 5 at one stage, including the big wicket of Sanjay Bangar for 8. But the lower order stuck around with Khanolkar, a former ICL player who was playing a first-class game after almost four years. Murali Kartik and Dhiran Salvi made thirties and Khanolkar was eighth out after making his third first-class century. Vikas Mishra, the 17-year old left-arm spinner, finished with 3 for 45. Shikhar Dhawan led Delhi in the absence of regular captain Mithun Manhas - who missed out due to a strain - but the return of allrounder Rajat Bhatia bolstered their side.
Gujarat put themselves in line for a big score against Assam, reaching 233 for 3 at the Nehru Stadium in Guwahati. After losing Priyank Panchal who was caught behind off the last ball of the first over, captain Niraj Patel and Rikin Chauhan added 125 runs. However, both could not convert their starts into substantial scores; Niraj was bowled by Tarjinder Singh for 76 while Chauhan was caught and bowled by Arlen Konwar for 46. Bhavik Thaker and Sunny Patel took Gujarat to stumps without further damage with a 72-run stand.
Saurashtra reached 254 for 6 against Bengal in a stop-start innings at the Khandheri Cricket Stadium in Rajkot. An opening burst from seamer Sourav Sarkar sent back Chirag Pathak and Bhushan Chauhan to leave Saurashtra at 43 for 2. Opener Sagar Jogiyani and Shitanshu Kotak steadied things with a 63-run stand before Jogiyani was caught by Anustup Majumdar for 52. Three deliveries later, captain Jaydev Shah fell for a duck, Majumdar taking another catch. Rahul Dave then joined Kotak in a 60-run partnership before Ashok Dinda dismissed Kotak for 71. Two runs later, Dinda removed Pruthvipal Solanki, who lasted seven deliveries on his debut. At 169 for 6, Saurashtra were in deep trouble but Dave, also making his debut, and Kamlesh Makvana resisted for almost 37 overs to add 85 runs. Dave was unbeaten on 66 at stumps.
The Chennai monsoon continued to wreak havoc on Tamil Nadu's home games for the third match in succession. After the matches against Railways and Bengal were hampered due to rain, the entire first day against Mumbai was also washed out at the India Cements Limited Ground. Tamil Nadu are third in the Group A points table, just one point ahead of Gujarat who themselves have a solitary point's lead over Bengal.