Aaron gives Odisha heartbreak
Odisha had to endure a massive heartbreak in Ranchi, going down by two runs to Jharkhand for their second loss of the season. This was their narrowest loss in terms of runs in the competition. Subhranshu Senapati, the 21 year old, who is fast becoming their new batting lynchpin was the last man standing, unbeaten on 157 when Varun Aaron castled No. 11 Dhiraj Singh.
Odisha were down and out at 193 for 9 in their chase of 260. The last-wicket pair added 64 to take them within touching distance. This loss dents Odisha's chances of a knockouts berth, as they're now placed sixth in Group C with 13 points in five matches. The top two sides in the group - Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh - are on 28 and 24 points respectively.
That Jharkhand gave themselves a shot at victory was thanks largely to a solid second-innings unbeaten 132 by former captain Saurabh Tiwary. The win puts Jharkhand within touching distance of the top two, with four matches still remaining.
Uttarakhand all but through to knockouts
Uttarakhand are well on their way to the quarter-finals in their debut season. Their fifth win on the trot took them 14 points clear of second-placed Meghalaya in the Plate Group. Mumbai have the biggest winning streak of eight matches in the tournament's history, a feat they achieved between 1961-62 and 1962-63 seasons. Fast bowler Deepak Dhapola, who finished with a match haul of 11 for 111, is now the leading wicket-taker of the season. His 37 wickets in four matches have come at a mind-boggling average of 9.89 and a strike rate of 23.6.
"I'm happy we made 91 in the second innings."
The irony wasn't lost on anyone as Vinay Kumar gave his appraisal of the Rajkot surface where Karnataka were trounced by Saurashtra for their first loss this season. For the record, both sides were shot out for under 100 in the second innings, with the match finishing close to tea on the third day.
A day after the match, the KSCA confirmed they had lodged an official complaint with the BCCI over the nature of the Rajkot surface, where the spinners picked up 38 of the 40 wickets. Both ends were abrasive, with plenty of cracks and indentations that had the ball shooting up, leaving both sides preferring to sometimes bring on their part-time spinners. Vinay and Abhimanyu Mithun, Karnataka's pace duo, had minimal roles with the ball, while Saurashtra fielded an all-spin attack.
This, Sudhakar Rao, the KSCA secretary, argued was the biggest hint that they'd laid out an underprepared surface."The pitch was under-prepared. We had filed one complaint on the first day itself," he said. Saurashtra didn't have a medium pacer in their playing XI and they opened the bowling with spinners. It appears that the nature of the pitch was pre-planned. We don't think a neutral curator was consulted. As a punishment, we want the touring team to be awarded full points."
Click here for all the Ranji Trophy scorecards from this round
Tamil Nadu win, finally
It's increasingly becoming a trend they do not want to carry any further. After doing all the early running, Kerala slipped to their second straight loss this season, this time to Tamil Nadu at Chepauk. It was no coincidence that for a second straight outing, Jalaj Saxena, their talismanic allrounder, had a forgettable outing. This loss does not entirely rule them out of knockouts contention, but comes as a blow nonetheless. For Tamil Nadu, it was vital, for it keeps them in the hunt after wet weather denied them in the first two matches of the season.
The hero was T Natarajan, the left-arm seamer, who picked up his first five-wicket haul of the season to give his side a 151-run victory. This was the first five-for by a Tamil Nadu fast bowler at home since J Kaushik's feat during the 2011-12 season.
Here's the winning moment:
Gambhir signs off
Having spent a majority of his time during the second innings off the field, Gautam Gambhir was denied a final innings for Delhi on the final day of their fixture against Andhra. Delhi batted out a draw after pocketing a first innings lead. Later after the match, he took centre stage at a felicitation ceremony with both teams in attendance at the Feroz Shah Kotla.