Karnataka and Tamil Nadu make it two in two
Karnataka sauntered to their second win in two days, while Andhra were still winless after the encounter at Central Polytechnic India Pistons Ground in Chennai. Little went right for Andhra apart from the toss, as Vinay Kumar dealt two early blows from which the innings barely recovered. Gnaneswara Rao's 71 was the only performance worth mentioning, as Andhra floundered against steady bowling, and a couple of run-outs did their cause no good. Ganesh Satish followed his hundred from Wednesday with another aggressive and substantial contribution. His 82 and opener Rongsen Jonathan's 64 took Karnataka through with a bonus point.
Tamil Nadu romped to a comfortable seven-wicket win against Goa in a match that lasted just a shade over 60 overs India Cement Limited Guru Nanak College Ground in Chennai. Goa started off well, with Advait Katkar and Swapnil Asnodkar adding 65 within the first 15 overs to set a strong platform, before offspinner Suresh Kumar single-handedly changed the complexion of the game. Katkar fell to a return catch to start off a spectacular slide in which Suresh picked seven wickets as 65 for 0 turned to 126 for 8. By the time Asnodkar fell, also to a return catch, the wheels had well and truly come off Goa's innings. R Ashwin snaffled two wickets as the innigs folded for 142. Spin continued to play a role as part-timer S Sriram picked two as well, but that did not stop Tamil Nadu from reaching home in the 27th over.
Kerala out-lasted Hyderabad in a batting slug-fest at the Indian Institute of Technology Chemplast Ground, as Raiphi Gomez got close to matching Herschelle Gibbs' List-A feat of hitting six sixes in an over. The moment came in the last over of the Kerala innings bowled by the hapless Ravi Teja. Gomez slammed the first ball for six, but lost the chance for the record when the second ball went for four runs. However, he sent the next four balls out of the park, and Ravi Teja conceded a wide as well, to take the over's expense to 35 runs. Gomez finished with 88 off 29 balls, but the early damage was done by the openers Abhishek Hegde and VA Jagadeesh, who both struck hundreds in a 241-run opening stand. Ravi Teja did his best to rectify his prodigality with the ball, and hit the highest score of the day, a sparkling 131 but, with no support except for Ambati Rayudu's chirpy 48 forthcoming, Hyderabad folded 55 runs short in the 48th over.
Saurashtra held their nerve to grab a four-wicket win against Maharashtra in high-scoring humdinger at the Sardar Patel Stadium B Ground. It was left-hander Pratik Mehta who proved to be the hero with a fantastic unbeaten hundred coming in at No. 7, to seal victory with one ball to spare. Jaidev Unadkat's early double blow had Maharashtra on the backfoot, before Kedar Jadhav's propped them up with a sparkling 141 off 112 balls. His virtuoso effort, including 14 fours and three sixes, seemingly had Maharashtra in the driver's seat as they ended on 327 for 9. An opening stand of 88 between Chirag Pathak and Jaydev Shah gave Saurashtra a solid start before right-arm seamer Kishore Bhikane swung it Maharashtra's way with three wickets. But Mehta would provide the final twist, as he teamed up with wicketkeeper Sagar Jogiyani (60) to add 163 for the sixth wicket. With Jogiyani's dismissal on 286, it was left to Mehta to continue the charge. He finished unbeaten 134 off 107 balls, hitting 12 fours and three sixes en route, as Saurashtra's campaign got off to a winning start.
While Sushant Marathe grabbed the headlines yesterday, it was his fellow opener Praful Waghela who shaped Mumbai's win against Gujarat at the Sardar Patel Stadium C Ground. Even as wickets fell around him after Mumbai chose to bat, Waghela responsibly held the innings together with a 108-ball 92, comprising nine fours and a six. Identical 35-ball 41s from Abhishek Nayar and Suryakumar Yadav along the way helped Mumbai post an impressive 285 for 8. Gujarat's chase was rocked by Usman Malvi's twin strikes before Bhavik Thaker and Niraj Patel combined for a fourth-wicket stand of 60. Ajit Agarkar had the final say though, as he picked up two lower-order scalps to add to his early wicket of Parthiv Patel. Gujarat were handed their second defeat, eventually being bowled out in the 45th over for 207.
Murali Kartik's fine spell, topped off with a hat-trick in his ninth over, and a belligerent 81 from TP Singh gave Railways a four-wicket win against Rajasthan at the Maharani Usharaje Trust Cricket Ground in Indore. A cautious 66 from Vineet Saxena and a more adventurous 60 from Rashmi Parida had taken to Rajasthan to the strength of 153 for 1 in the 34th over before Kartik and co. stifled them to 256 for 9. The innings had already floundered when Vikrant Yadav, Pankar Singh and Vivek Yadav fell off successive balls to the left-armer. TP Singh shook off a sluggish start to the chase, striking four sixes and eight fours to raise Railways from 35 for 2 in the 12th over to 166 when he fell in the 32nd. Marripuri Suresh, Yere Goud and Karan Sharma chipped in to ensure that the match was sealded in the 48th over.
Madhya Pradesh nosed ahead of Vidarbha in a low-scoring nerve-jangler at the Emerald High School Ground in Indore. The hosts won the toss and their seamers kept the Vidarbha batsmen on a tight leash. Amit Paunikar was the only top-order batsman to come to grips with the situation, but could not convert his 40 into a substantial contribution, and fell to Amarjeet Singh. Ankit Sharma kept things tight in the middle overs before Gaurav Upadhyaya and Shrikant Wagh resuscitated the innings with a 62-run stand. Amarjeet then came back to pick three more wickets and wrap up the innings for 204. Madhya Pradesh never got to terms with the chase, as four batsmen fell in the 20s. Upadhyaya was the pick of the bowlers, picking three scalps, but Anand Singh played a calm innings to take his side close. An unbroken ninth-wicket stand worth 29, fittingly between the bowling heroes Ankit and Amarjeet, sealed the deal for the hosts.