Baroda, Haryana close in on quarter-finals
With Uttar Pradesh struggling against Karnataka, a win for Haryana against Orissa would take them through to the next phase. Their bowlers put them on course for exactly that, reducing Orissa to 64 for 5 in their second innings, at the end of the second day at the Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium in Rohtak. Orissa are effectively 37 for 5 after Haryana took a 27-run first innings lead.
Haryana started the day in trouble at 75 for 4, but Hemang Badani and Sachin Rana extended their partnership to 63 runs. Badani, who made 31, then put together another useful partnership with allrounder Joginder Sharma, before captain Amit Sharma chipped in with 31. Those contributions took Haryana to 202 and it later proved a strong total, as their bowlers then took charge. Joginder picked up a couple of early wickets before seamer Rana got into the act and took 2 for 3 in his eight overs. Mishra dismissed Govind Podder just before stumps to give Haryana the perfect end to the day.
A century by wicketkeeper Pinal Shah gave Baroda control in their match against Himachal Pradesh at the Moti Bagh Stadium in Vadodara. Himachal were 108 for 4 at the end of the second day, still needing another 123 runs to make Baroda bat again. Earlier, the hosts were in trouble after Kedar Devdhar was out for early for 81 and Sankalp Vohra followed for a duck to leave them at 191 for 7. But Pinal went on the attack, smashing 132 off 157 balls and scoring a bulk of Baroda's 177 runs on the second day. By the time he was out, Baroda had reached 350.
They then tormented Himachal early in the second innings, reducing the visitors to 7 for 2 and then 28 for 3. Captain Paras Dogra offered some resistance with his 53 but could not stop Baroda from moving into striking distance of victory and a place in the quarter-finals. A loss for Himachal would mean relegation to the Plate League next year.
Wicketkeeper CM Gautam and the tail pushed Karnataka to 416 after they had started the second day at 274 for 7 against Uttar Pradesh at Green Park in Kanpur. Gautam, who had reached his half-century on Wednesday, went on to get 115. He played the anchor role while the tail-enders attacked from the other end. He didn't add a run to his overnight score for nearly 25 minutes, but he got going with a cover drive. He proceeded to drive, cut, and pull his way and brought up his hundred with a sweep shot. He found great support in Udit Patel, the No. 10 batsman, who biffed 12 fours and a six in his 72.
UP, who need at least three points to make sure Haryana don't overtake them and claim a quarter-final spot, were in trouble at the end of the day, reduced to 163 for 5, still 253 runs behind. They were on the back foot from the outset, once left-arm seamer S Aravind dismissed Shivakant Shukla lbw in the fourth over of the innings. Vinay Kumar grabbed two quick wickets to push them to 44 for 4. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Piyush Chawla played fighting knocks and were unbeaten on 51 and 43 respectively at stumps. But UP are still a long way away from Karnataka's score.
Dehli's chances of reaching the quarter-finals were severely damaged on the second day at the Roshanara Club Ground in Delhi, as left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla's five wickets helped Mumbai take the first innings lead. Abdulla wrecked Delhi's bottom half, as the hosts lost their last seven wickets for 51 runs to finish 66 runs behind Mumbai's first-innings total of 267. ""Looking at the wicket my main aim was to support the pacers and put a check on scoring but I got good bounce which helped me get those wickets," Abdulla said. By the end of the day Mumbai had extended the lead to 140 and lost just two wickets. Delhi now need a win to get to the next phase.
Seamer Aviskhar Salvi started Delhi's collapse, castling their captain Mithun Manhas, whose 66 had taken his side to a position of comfort. Abdulla got the next five to finish with figures of 5 for 25 in 17 overs. Mumbai had Sahil Kukreja and Suryakumar Yadav at the crease at stumps, with the might of Wasim Jaffer and Rohit Sharma still to come. Manhas believed that they could fightback if they pick up early wickets on Friday. "If we get Wasim Jaffer and Rohit Sharma early, anything can happen."
With Delhi struggling, the match between Railways and Bengal at the Karnail Singh Stadium in Delhi could end up as a straight shootout for a quarter-final shot, and after the second day it was Railways who held the aces. They rode on gritty half-centuries by Prashant Awasthi and Mahesh Rawat to take the lead and finish the day at 250 for 6.
Bengal were hoping their spinners would restrict Railways on a turning track, but the only bowler who looked effective was seamer Laxmi Shukla who got some movement from the wicket and finished with 2 for 25. Awasthi held the innings together for Railways, scoring 73, while Rawat ensured Awasthi's wicket did not cause a collapse. He scored 52 and put together an important 53-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Dhiran Salvi, which took Railways past Bengal's score of 201. Sourav Ganguly took an active part in Bengal's decision-making, having plenty of discussions with captain Manoj Tiwary, but could not come up with enough ideas to bowl Railways out cheaply.
Tamil Nadu's spinners gave them the advantage as they knocked Gujarat over for 173 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. Their batsmen then capitalised, getting to 158 for 3 at the close of play, with Subramaniam Badrinath still unbeaten on 72. Gujarat began the second day at 69 for 4 after a rain-hit first day, and were soon 80 for 6 after offspinner R Ashwin dismissed Niraj Patel and Rujul Bhatt. Pratharesh Parmar was the only Gujarat batsman who looked capable of handling the tuning track, hitting three sixes and four fours in his 67. But he could not stop the fall of wickets at the other end as Ashwin finished with 5 for 57 and offspinner Suresh Kumar got 4 for 42.
Tami Nadu lost Abhinav Mukund early in their reply, but Arun Karthik, who scored 60, and Badrinath gave them a firm base with their 115-run stand. Legspinner Salil Yadav managed to dismiss Arun Karthik and Dinesh Karthik, whose poor form continued, before stumps, but the hosts were still in the ascendancy. A first-innings lead should be enough for Tamil Nadu to go to the next round, given events in other Group A matches.
After a dismal season, Saurashtra have given themselves a chance of staving off relegation, by taking a 246-run lead against Assam at the Khandheri Cricket Stadium in Rajkot. Ravindra Jadeja scored the only half-century of the match so far and his 84 helped take Saurashtra to 233 for 9 by the end of the second day's play. It was a productive day for Jadeja, who completed a five-wicket haul with his left-arm spin in Assam's innings as the visitors were bowled out for 127, having started the day on 107 for 7. The spinners were the main threat on the second day: offspinner Kamlesh Makvana took 4 for 45 for Saurashtra, while Assam's offspinner Arlen Konwar took four scalps in Saurashtra's innings.