Railways collapse after solid start

Railways 214 for 9 (Paunikar 50, Sarkar 3-62) v Bengal

Railways began the round with an outside chance of qualifying for the next round, made a good start, but collapsed after that. Asked to bat first by hosts Bengal, openers Amit Paunikar and Shivakant Shukla added 85 for the first wicket, at a fair clip, but once Sourav Sarkar dismissed Paunikar for 50, Railways couldn't arrest the slide.

Railways lost six wickets for 40 runs, the last one of those to Shib Paul, the injury-prone fast bowler who was playing his first first-class match in four-and-a-half years. Murali Kartik and Karan Sharma then added 68 for the seventh wicket, but Railways lost three more in one go. Kartik, who scored 48, was the last man to fall to what turned out to be the last ball of the day.

Rajasthan 274 for 5 (Saxena 84, Menaria 63) v Hyderabad

In the contest to avoid relegation, Rajasthan, the defending champions, made decent progress after being put in by Hyderabad. Rajasthan may have lost five wickets, but the smallest partnership they had was 40. The end of that partnership reduced Rajasthan to 82 for 2, but the reliable Vineet Saxena scored 84 to set them on their way.

Ashok Menaria capitalised on the start with a quick 63, and while Saxena fell short of a century, captain Hrishikesh Kanitkar, playing his 100th Ranji Trophy match, added 42 before being bowled to the last ball of the day. The team that emerges the better side from this match will avoid relegation.

Mumbai 24 for 1 trail Gujarat 244 (Parthiv 101, Chavan 3-54) by 220 runs

Zaheer Khan had a fruitful first day as captain of a first-class side, as Mumbai bowled out Gujarat for 244 in what is a virtual pre-quarter-final. Had hosts Mumbai not lost opener Kaustubh Pawar in the last over of the day, the smile on Zaheer's face at stumps would have been even wider.

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Saurashtra 212 for 9 (Vasavada 54, Jackson 53, Pandey 3-37) v Madhya Pradesh

Going by day one, the Rajkot pitch confounded both sides, who were expecting it to turn early, and turn big. In the end, the innate slow nature of the pitch didn't allow that. The lack of watering and rolling of the pitch over the last two days, in the presence of a BCCI curator, somehow added variable, largely low, bounce to the mix. Slow and mostly low made batting difficult for Saurashtra, who conceded whatever advantage winning the toss had given them by losing nine wickets.

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