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Sehwag, Gambhir fifties keep Delhi alive

North Zone

After a number of cheap scores, Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag both rose to the occasion to help Delhi to a three-wicket win against Haryana in Dharamsala, keeping their hopes of qualifying to the playoffs alive.

Set 248 for victory, Delhi lost two early wickets, but Sehwag and Gambhir counterattacked with a 144-run partnership in just 115 balls. Sehwag was the more aggressive foil in the stand, muscling eight fours and three sixes during a 68-ball 80, while Gambhir's 93 included 11 fours. Both batsmen were dismissed by the 36th over, but Mithun Manhas' unbeaten 31 helped complete the chase in 42.1 overs. Joginder Sharma was the pick of Haryana's bowlers, collecting 4 for 27. Earlier, a four-wicket haul from Vikas Tokas had bowled Haryana out for 247. Sachin Rana top-scored with 71 and Avi Barot chipped in with 49, but with no other batsman contributing more than 28, Haryana were made to rue not amassing a bigger total. Tokas took 4 for 41, while Ashish Nehra and Parvinder Awana both snared two wickets.

A five-wicket haul from Rishi Dhawan set up Himachal Pradesh's nine-wicket win against Jammu & Kashmir in Amtar, keeping them on course for a place in the playoffs. Batting first, J&K were pegged back by wickets at regular intervals from Rishi (5 for 29) and Vikramjeet Malik (3 for 29). The team was precariously placed at 25 for 7 in the eighth over, and only a 60 from Paras Sharma down the order pushed the total to 132.

Himachal had no problem gunning down such a paltry target, as an unbroken 110-run stand between Raghav Dhawan (77) and Ankit Kalsi (40) guided the team home in 28.3 overs.

Punjab cruised to a six-wicket win against Services on the back of a five-for from Sandeep Sharma and three wickets from captain Harbhajan Singh. Chasing 201, Punjab reached the target with the help of a fifty from Amitoze Singh (73), with more than eight overs left.

Services were put in to bat and their top order was back in the pavilion after scoring just five runs together, all victims to Sandeep. No. 4 Rajat Paliwal rescued them briefly with a half-century after they were 26 for 4 in the seventh over. He got support mainly from No. 7 Yashpal Singh who then batted with the tail with a brisk 71 off 81. Yashpal's was the last wicket to fall, to Sandeep again, but only after he had taken the score to a respectable 200. Sandeep finished with 5 for 31.

Punjab were hardly bothered in their chase as they got an opening stand of 76 from Manan Vohra (47) and Amitoze. Narendra Kumar took two wickets before a quick 33 from Mandeep Singh and an unbeaten 16-ball 30 from Taruwar Kohli sealed the chase.

West Zone

A hat-trick from the Maharashtra medium-pacer Domnic Joseph sent Mumbai crashing towards a six-wicket defeat in Ahmedabad. Joseph dismissed Shreyas Iyer, Sarfaraz Khan and Wilkin Mota with successive deliveries in the 37th over, on his way to collecting a List-A best 6 for 25. It meant that Mumbai, batting first, slipped from 146 for 3 to 211 all out, with Wasim Jaffer top-scoring with 84.

Maharashtra lost Harshad Khadiwale early in the chase, but recovered with a 77-run stand from Vijay Zol (38) and Rohit Motwani (59). Zol fell in the 21st over, but Ankit Bawne stroked five fours and two sixes during an unbeaten 78, and put up half-century stands with Motwani and Sangram Atitkar to take Maharashtra home with two overs to spare.

A late three-wicket burst from the fast bowler Lukman Meriwala helped Baroda hold on for a three-run win against Saurashtra in Ahmedabad. Chasing 269, Saurashtra needed eight off the last over, but Meriwala bowled Abhishek Bhat out the first ball, and Siddharth Trivedi's run-out four deliveries later meant that the team was bowled out for 265. Saurashtra had begun the chase well, as an 87 from Sheldon Jackson, coupled with other handy knocks from their top-order batsmen, had the team well-placed at 198 for 3, but a number of quick blows from Krunal Pandya, Abhijit Karambelkar and Meriwala ensured Baroda fought back for their second win of the tournament. Baroda, opting to bat, had earlier scored 268 for 9 from their 50 overs. Their innings was built around Deepak Hooda (53) and Hardik Pandya (64), who both raised fifties during a 71-run partnership.