Nervy Bengal make it from East
Orissa maintained their perfect record in the tournament, beating Bengal by six wickets at the Barabati Stadium. Bengal would have fancied their chances after getting to 283 batting first, but Paresh Patel's sparkling unbeaten century during the reply ensured victory with 10 balls to spare. While opener Sudip Chatterjee laid a solid platform during the Bengal innings with 53, Manoj Tiwary top scored with a quick 86. A 102-opening stand between Patel and Natraj Behera (55) ensured Orissa were on top from the start of the reply. Two half-century partnerships from there on had the hosts in the driver's seat as Patel finished on 123 off 129 balls, hitting 10 fours and three sixes en route.
Bengal's hopes in the tournament hinged on the result at the Ravenshaw College Ground but even as Tripura beat whipping boys Assam by seven wickets, the net run-rate of +0.185 was not enough for them. A disciplined bowling effort from Tripura first up restricted the opposition to 172. Nishit Shetty then starred with a 92-ball 81 during the chase, and had able support from Bappa Das (47) during their third-wicket partnership of 115. Shetty remained unbeaten as Tripura sealed the win in the 38th over.
Haryana stormed to the top of the points table with a 208-run demolition of Jammu & Kashmir at the Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium in Rohtak. Twin centuries from opener Rahul Dewan and wicketkeeper Nitin Saini were the high points of Haryana's innings after they chose to bat. While Dewan smashed 10 fours and two sixes during his 140-ball 131, Saini's 109 comprised nine fours and a six. J&K were never in the hunt chasing down the imposing 313, and lost wickets cheaply. Three double-digit scores summed up their plight and they were put out of their misery in the 36th over, making them the worst-placed bottom team across all zones with -3 from five losses.
Punjab were made to sweat by Himachal Pradesh in a high-scoring thriller at the Shah Satnam Ji Stadium in Sirsa. With both teams in with a chance to qualify for the next stage, Punjab made a rousing start by piling up 344 for 8. The opening partnership between captain Karan Goel (72) and Ravi Inder Singh (92) set the tone and MS Gony's late cameo added to the run-feast. Hemant Dogra's 50 meant HP made a bright start to the reply, and captain Paras Dogra took up the reins with a breezy 109, including three fours and eight sixes. No. 8 Rishi Dhawan's contribution of 31 came off 18 balls, but with his departure, HP needed 11 off seven balls. However, the task proved too tough for the last-wicket pair Sarandeep Singh and Jitender Mehta, with the former being run out off the last ball.
With an aim to qualify for the next stage, Delhi put in strong display to beat Services by 113 runs at the Tata Energy Research Institute Oval in Gurgaon. Mithun Manhas' classy 148 made all the difference after Delhi chose to bat. He struck 10 fours and a six during his 154-ball innings and was partnered well during a 133-run third-wicket stand by Rajat Bhatia (56). Right-arm fast bowler Shadab Nazar's five-for made little difference as Delhi managed 311 for 6.What Services lacked during the reply was a sizeable contribution from one of the batsmen. A string of forties was not enough as right-arm seamer Parvesh Chikara helped himself to four wickets. Services succumbed in the 48th over to hand Delhi five crucial points.