Railways 104 for 7 (Tejinder 40, Behera 3-22) beat Orissa 101 for 8 (Behera 23, Rao 3-20) by three wickets
Orissa and Railways are two teams unlikely to attract crowds at the best of times, with the likes of Debashish Mohanty, Harvinder Singh and Sanjay Bangar - all low-key players even when they played for India - being the biggest stars about. And when Orissa who lost the toss and were put in, were kept down to only 101 for 8 in 20 overs, what little interest there was died. There was a brief flutter of excitement when Railways went from 85 for 3 to 87 for 7 in their chase, but by then the match as a contest had ended. Soon enough they knocked off the required runs with three wickets to spare.
It wasn't as though one brilliant spell from a bowler caused havoc. Orissa just did not seem to have a plan over how to approach their innings, and all batsmen came - and went - swinging merrily. The wickets were shared around, and fell in clutches, with the spinners doing most of the damage. G Shankar Rao, the left-arm spinner, picked up 3 for 20, while Kulamani Parida, the offie, grabbed 2 for 12.
It was an utterly disappointing batting performance, with no batsman even making a quarter-century, which could well be the 'decent' individual score in this form of the game. Only one batsman even made 20, and that was Niranjan Behera, who top-scored with 23. From the start of the sixth over till as late as the fourth ball of the 16th over - which amounts to 70 balls - not a single boundary was struck.
Sanjay Bangar began Railways' chase well enough, carting the second and third balls of the innings for a six over the bowler's head and a four past point respectively. Off the very next ball, though, he edged to the keeper. From then on it was the TP Singh-show all the way. He hit four fours and a six in his 32-ball 40 that all but settled the game in Railways' favour. When he fell with the score on 85, Paresh Patel struck twice in as many balls, and then Behera prised out another wicket with the score still on 87, and there was a bit of a flutter, but Baburao Yadav smacked 15 to seal the deal with almost four overs to spare.
Karnataka 154 for 6 (Chougule 41, Akhil 35) beat Gujarat 151 for 9 (Bilakhia 62, Vinay Kumar 3-31) by four wickets
It was a quiet day all round in the competition, with Karnataka playing in the morning, having lost to Punjab just the previous evening. Karnataka notched up their first win, by four wickets, after winning the toss and sending Gujarat in. Parthiv Patel and Azhar Bilakhia got Gujarat off to a flyer, getting to 55 in just 5.2 overs before they lost their first wicket.
Bilakhia went on to make 62, a rare half-century in this tournament, off only 47 balls with 6 fours and a six. Patel had made 26, but there were no other scores of note in the Gujarat innings. They stitched together 151, a decent enough score, but it proved to be too few.
All eyes were on Rahul Dravid, playing his first-ever Twenty20 match, but he barely created an impression. He lasted just 8 balls, scoring a solitary single, barely attempting a big shot in his stay at the crease. Robin Uthappa, another player whose game is ideally suited to this truncated version of the game, failed once more, using up 16 balls for 6, before hitting a catch to Biswajit Solanki off Hitesh Majmudar.
Fortunately for Karnataka though Deepak Chougule had no such problems. He played a string of innovative shots and succeeded in getting the ball over the wicketkeeper's head for boundaries more than once, scoring an unbeaten 41 from 36 balls with five fours. B Akhil (35) and R Vinaykumar (24) chipped in with vital contributions in the lower middle-order, seeing Karnataka home with 3 balls to spare.
Anand Vasu is associate editor of Cricinfo