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October 24, 2011
Led by India batsman Rohit Sharma and left-arm spinner Ankeet Chavan, Mumbai blitzed Maharashtra by 99 runs at the Khandheri Cricket Stadium in Rajkot and took Mumbai to the to the top of the West Zone points table. Rohit top scored with a scorching 68 from 37 balls to take Mumbai to 211 for 4 before Chavan ripped out Maharashtra's top and middle order to derail the chase and leave only the margin of victory in doubt. Maharashtra chose to field and Sushant Marathe and Rohit quickly made them pay, adding 77 for the second wicket in just six overs. Marathe was run out for 49, having struck three fours and four sixes, but Suryakumar Yadav (20 from 10) and then Prashant Naik (48 not out from 26) made sure Mumbai would not stumble. Chavan then took over, taking four wickets as Maharashtra were reduced to 47 for 5 and it was only a late flurry from Sangram Atitkar that took past 100 before the innings folder for 112 in the 18th over.
Sheldon Jackson scored a career-best 73 to help Saurashtra beat Baroda by 14 runs at the Khandheri Cricket Stadium in Rajkot. Jackson's knock was studded with 12 fours and two sixes and lifted Saurashtra to competitive total of 151 for 6. While Ambati Rayudu (37) and Yusuf Pathan (19) were at the crease, it looked like Baroda would overhaul their target, but they fell off successive deliveries in the seventh over and Barodo never recovered, eventually stumbling to 137 for 7.
Delhi made heavy weather of a small target but sneaked home off the last ball to beat Haryana by four wickets at the Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium in Rohtak. Haryana struggled after deciding to bat first and it was only thanks to Sunny Singh's aggressive 43 that included four fours and three sixes that they even managed to post 104 for 8. Pradeep Sagwan took 3 for 13 to lead the Delhi bowlers. India batsman Virender Sehwag, who has recently returned from injury, got the chase off to a good start, but his opening partner, Chetan Sharma, was stuck in first gear, and limped to 12 off 37 balls. Sehwag was caught of Dhruv Singh for 30 in the 10th over and that set off a minor collapse, as Delhi lost three wickets for three runs. But Rajat Bhatia's cautious innings of 18 made sure they got to their target in the end, albeit with no room to spare.
Left-arm spinner Rajwinder Singh produced an exceptional spell of 4 for 7, but it was not enough to prevent Services from pipping Punjab by two wickets at the Delhi Public School ground in Rohtak. Asked to bat, Punjab, with India batsman Yuvaj Singh and offspinner Harbhajan Singh in their side, never got going. They lost wickets at regular intervals and were unable able to build momentum, ending up with 113 for 7. Services lost two wickets early and Rajwinder ran through the middle order, taking two wickets in two balls in the 14th over, (he also ran out opener Sumit Singh for a duck), but the low target meant Services were able to stay ahead of the required rate and they got home with an over to spare. The win moved them to joint-first with Punjab and Delhi in the North Zone, with all three teams on 12 points.
Abhinav Bali's half-century set-up Himachal Pradesh's nine-run win over Jammu & Kashmir at the Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium in Rohtak. Bali made 73, and added 68 with Paras Dogra, as HP posted 134 for 5. Jammu & Kashmir were in with a chance as long as opener Adil Rishi was at the crease. He anchored their chase with 70 from 54 balls, striking six fours and two sixes, but he was dismissed in the 16th over halted J&K's momentum and they were only able to add a further 24 runs from the last 4.5 overs to fall short of their target.
Railways registered a comprehensive ten-wicket victory over Vidarbha at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore. Their openers, Shreyas Khanolkar and Mahesh Rawat, hit rapid half-centuries to chase down 136 with almost five overs to spare and propel Railways to second in the Central Zone points table. Khanolkar hit eight fours and two sixes in his 71 off 58 balls, while Rawat got 56 off 43 with seven fours. Earlier, the Railways bowlers had struck with regularity to keep Vidarbha to 135 for 9. The only contribution of note for Vidarbha came from opener Alind Naidu, who made 57 off 50 balls.
Uttar Pradesh defended 168 against Rajasthan, to win their second match in three games at the Holkar Cricket Stadium. Uttar Pradesh chose to bat and their total was set up by a team performance: six of the seven players who batted got into double figures, but none made more than Mohammad Kaif's 47. Piyush Chawla then troubled Rajasthan's top and middle order, taking 3 for 27 in his four overs. Puneet Yadav kept Rajasthan in the match with an unbeaten 43 from 28 balls, but did not find adequate support from the lower order as his side fell 28 short of their target.
Bengal beat Orissa by an impressive 78-run margin at the Keenan Stadium in Jamshedpur, consolidating their position at the top of the East Zone table. Bengal chose to bat and were carried to a competitive 143 for 6 primarily by Abhishek Jhunjhunwala, who was hit an unbeaten 54 from 37 balls. Orissa then imploded for 65, as nine of their batsmen were dismissed for single digit scores. The Bengal bowlers shared the wickets around, but Shami Ahmed and Iresh Saxena were particularly impressive, taking five wickets for just 23 runs between them.
Assam's bowlers put in tidy performances to help their side to a 17-run win against Jharkhand at the Keenan Stadium. Batting first, Assam made 131 for 7. R Sathish with 41 and Dheeraj Jadhav with 37 were solid, but spinners Sujit Yadav and Shahbaz Nadeem struck at regular intervals to restrict Assam. The target, though, turned out to be enough. Assam's new ball bowlers reduced Jharkhand to 8 for 2, and kept the game within their team's grasp from there on. While all the bowlers struck, Abu Nechim was the pick, taking 3 for 12, as well as effecting a run out.
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