Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan make it two in two
Delhi made it two in two, beating Jammu and Kashmir by 19 runs at the Model Sports Complex. Opener Chetan Sharma top scored with 47, an innings laced with five fours and a six, and was supported by Rajat Bhatia in a 56-run stand for the third wicket. However, the J&K bowlers, led by medium-pacer Raman Dutta (3-28) and captain Abid Nabi (2-21), struck back to keep Delhi down to a chaseable 142. J&K appeared to begin in encouraging fashion, with the openers adding 25, but things soon began to worsen. Medium-pacer Kapil Yadav made inroads to reduce J&K to 35 for 5 at one stage and had it not been for Javed Ahmed's 47, his team would have struggled to get past three-figures. They had to eventually settle for 123 for 9, with Yadav taking 4-15 in only his second Twenty20 game.
Punjab held their nerve to prevail over Himachal Pradesh in a thrilling finish at the Model Sports Complex in Delhi. Set a target of 129, they were bolstered by a strong opening stand of 41. However, Punjab experienced a scare when Karan Goel and Ravi Inder Singh fell in a space of three deliveries with the score on 77. When Rahul Sharma fell, the fourth wicket with 95 on the board, 34 were needed off four overs. It was Mandeep Singh who stepped up and guided his team to a nerve-wracking win, scoring a boundary off the final delivery of the game off which a single was needed. He remained unbeaten on 33 and was supported by Bipul Sharma, who made a run-a-ball 8. Earlier, VA Indulkar had provided some impetus to the Himachal innings with 41 but it proved inadequate.
A half-century by Dhruv Singh who received support in a 68-run stand from Hemang Badani helped Haryana to a six-wicket win over Services at the Model Sports Complex in Delhi. In their chase of 133, Haryana were struggling at 32 for 3 but Badani, whose aggressive approach took the pressure off Dhruv, put his team back on track. He struck four fours and a six in his 42 while Dhruv held firm at the other end and eventually saw Haryana through. A three-wicket haul from left-arm seamer Sanjay Budhwar had restricted Services, though captain Yashpal Singh had set up a competitive score with 54.
Dishant Yagnik's half-century and some disciplined bowling took Rajasthan to a 16-run win against Uttar Pradesh at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. Yagnik hammered six fours and two sixes in his 54 off 40 deliveries after his opening partner Aakash Chopra was run out for 22. However, Sudeep Tyagi and Ali Murtuza struck to reduce Rajasthan to 100 for 5 from 97 for 1. Vineet Saxena slammed an unbeaten 39 off 27 to help his team to a competitive 155 for 7. Medium-pacer Afroz Khan then picked up 3 for 28 as none of the Uttar Pradesh batsmen could score quickly enough to pose a threat to Rajasthan. Uttar Pradesh finished on 139 for 6, Ravikant Shukla top scored with 35 off 32.
Railways scraped to a one-wicket win off the last ball against Vidarbha at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. Chasing Vidarbha's 155, Railways were given a rollicking start by PM Madkaikar, who hammered 27 off 14 deliveries as his side raced to 51 without loss in the fifth over. However, Vidarbha led by offspinner Akshay Wakhare hit back to leave Railways tottering at 89 for 6. Karan Sharma slammed 30 off 15 to bring his side back on track, and captain Murali Kartik held his nerve as Railways scampered home. Himanshu Joshi's 64 off 43 had earlier set up Vidarbha, but his dismissal off JP Yadav in the 19th over meant they managed only 13 off the last 10 deliveries, which made all the difference in the end. Yadav finished with 3 for 21.
Orissa's bowlers led by offspinner Rakesh Mohanty defended a modest target of 130 at the Sunshine Ground in Cuttack, dismissing Assam for 107. Mohanty took 3 for 18 after medium-pacer Santosh Jena had struck twice in three balls to reduce Assam to 10 for 2. Gokul Sharma resisted with an unbeaten 31 off 20 deliveries, but ran out of partners as wickets fell regularly. Mohanty and Niranjan Behera had earlier helped Orissa to 129 for 7, after offspinner Gokul and fast bowler Dhiraj Goswami had taken two wickets apiece to reduce them to 69 for 6 in 12 overs.
Legspinner Subal Chowdhury's 3 for 19 set up a comfortable six-wicket victory for Tripura against Jharkhand at the Ravenshaw College Ground in Cuttack. Jharkhand were dismissed for a paltry 96, which Tripura chased down with 13 deliveries to spare. Put into bat, Jharkhand had begun well, reaching 40 without loss in the seventh over. However, Rameez Nemat's run-out triggered a collapse, and Chowdhury snapped up three wickets to leave Jharkhand struggling at 48 for 5. Keshav Kumar and Shahbaz Nadeem took the score to 81, but Jharkhand again lost wickets in a heap to be dismissed for 96. Tripura's batsmen knocked off the runs without much fuss.
Abhishek Nayar's half-century led Mumbai to a five-wicket victory against Gujarat at the Moti Bagh Stadium in Vadodara. Opening the innings, Nayar smashed four sixes and as many fours in his 57 off 43 deliveries, as Mumbai reached the target of 146 with an over to spare. Mumbai were in some trouble at one stage as they slid to 115 for 5, but Siddharth Chitnis came in at No. 7 and hammered three sixes in his unbeaten 27 off 11 to settle the matter in Mumbai's favour. Niraj Patel's unbeaten 41 had earlier helped Gujarat to post 145 for 5. Several Gujarat batsmen got starts but fell without making substantial contributions.
Samad Fallah inspired Maharashtra to a 14-run win over Saurashtra in a low-scoring encounter at the Moti Bagh Stadium in Vadodara.
Saurashtra, led by Jaidev Unadkat, skittled the defending champions for 81, but left-arm medium pacer Fallah struck early and often to reduce Saurashtra to 3 for 14 in the fifth over, taking the prize wicket of India Test batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, trapped leg before for one, in the process.
Pratik Mehta led Saurashtra's fightback, making 28 from 32, the highest score of the match, but it was not enough as he got no support from anyone else; only two other Saurashtra batsman got into double figures, while there were six scores of 2 or less. Fallah finished with sparkling figures of 3 for 7 from his four overs, and was ably backed up by the other Maharastra bowlers, all whom took at least one wicket.