Maharashtra 330 (Gugale 174, Khurana 55) and 366 (Mundhe 104, Khurana 80, Awana 4-68) drew against Delhi 307 (Gambhir 94, Sehwag 66, Sanklecha 4-62) and 78 for 3 (Manhas 25*, Sood 24)
Shrikant Mundhe's big-hitting lit up the final day's play of Maharashtra's Group B tie against Delhi. Despite the game ending in a draw, Mundhe's second first-class hundred ensured what was turning out to be a dull day's play ended up being an entertainer for a sizable weekend crowd that had turned up at the Maharashtra Cricket Association stadium.
Once overnight batsmen Chirag Khurana and Rahul Tripathi had batted out the opening hour, it was clear that the game was heading towards a draw, and having secured three points by virtue of a first-innings lead, Maharashtra kept themselves in the hunt for qualifying for the knockouts by jumping to the second position. Delhi, meanwhile, with 31 points, are all but assured of topping the group.
When Mundhe took guard after Tripathi was stumped by Rahul Yadav off Rajat Bhatia, all Maharashtra required was for Mundhe and Chirag Khurana to bat out the opening session and not leave any room for Delhi to stage a comeback.
Maharashtra's two most consistent batsmen this season started playing freely. Even though Parvinder Awana breached Khurana's defence - resulting in Khurana failing to convert his fourth successive fifty into a three-digit score - Mundhe had reached 46 at the break. He was well supported by Anupam Sanklecha.
Immediately after lunch, Mundhe raised his fifty with a cracking cover drive off Vikas Tokas, though the right-arm pacer cleaned up Sanklecha in the same over. At that time, Mundhe was on 53 and in danger of running out of partners, as has happened several times over the last couple of seasons.
That's when Mundhe decided to cut loose. His last 10 scoring shots - spread over 34 balls - fetched him 48 runs. They included four towering sixes, including three back-to-back hits on the on-side off Manan Sharma and a lofted drive on the on-side off Tokas - as well as six fours. But more than the huge hits, the highlight of his innings turned out to be his lofted drive behind the bowler Awana that fetched him his second first-class hundred.
When Mundhe was on 81, Manan trapped Domnic Joseph in front of the wickets, thus exposing the last man Samad Fallah. Knowing that he didn't have much time on his, Mundhe raced to 97, thanks to twin sixes and a cover drive off Manan in his next over.
Delhi captain Gautam Gambhir then reintroduced Awana, the pick of the team's three seamers. Mundhe, though, was unfazed and first hit him over his head to raise his hundred, before celebrating the landmark with a spanking cover drive off the next ball. Awana eventually had the last laugh as he managed to force a mistimed pull off Mundhe in his next over which flew straight to Varun Sood at deep square leg.
To the disappointment of the crowd, neither Gambhir nor Virender Sehwag took to the crease during the 23 overs Delhi batted before play ended. Khurana, who was later adjudged Man of the Match for his crucial fifty in both the innings, continued to entertain the crowd. He not only dismissed Unmukt Chand and Manan off successive balls in the penultimate over before tea, but also sprinted across the outfield to get the spectators involved in his team's celebrations.
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo