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Assam stun Delhi; Sarwate sinks Rajasthan

A round-up of Ranji Trophy Group A matches on November 18, 2015

Assam 157 (Arun Karthik 81, Manan 4-41) and 169 for 5 (Hazarika 59, Arun Karthik 55*) beat Delhi 149 (Manan 46, Milind 45, Krishna 4-38) and 172 (Chand 44, Verma 3-42, Syed Mohammad 3-49) by five wickets
Assam continued their excellent run, having earned promotion this year, by beating table-toppers Delhi by five wickets in Guwahati. There were only 95 runs away overnight and most of those were knocked over by Arun Karthik (55*), who struck his second fifty of the match. Opener Rahul Hazarika (59) joined him, and those two were the only batsmen to reach the mark in the entire match. Delhi lost all 10 wickets for fewer than 200 in both innings, which proved their undoing. Assam have now vaulted into second place in Group A. With three wins in six games, they are on 22 points, only two behind Delhi's 24.
Vidarbha 247 (Sarwate 50, Tanveer ul Haq 4-60) and 199 for 2 (Badrinath 70*, Satish 61*) beat Rajasthan 216 (Puneed 67, Dobal 51, Umesh 4-45) and 226 (Menaria 76, Saxena 54, Sarwate 5-58) by eight wickets
Aditya Sarwate, the 25-year old left-arm spinner, is having a fabulous debut season in the Ranji Trophy. His second first-class five-for now takes him to 25 wickets in four games and has also set up Vidarbha's third win of the season. A target of 199 became a formality with Ganesh Satish (61*) and captain S Badrinath (70*) and hitting unbeaten half-centuries.
Sarwate needed only one ball on the fifth day to wrap up Rajasthan's second innings on their overnight score of 226. He finished with 5 for 58, to finish with seven wickets in the match. Besides him, Umesh Yadav had taken a hat-trick in the first innings.
Early wickets were necessary for Rajasthan to pose a challenge to a line-up that features three of the best professionals in the Ranji circuit. Although Wasim Jaffer did not bat, Satish and Badrinath combined for an unbeaten 127 runs for the third wicket to seal the game and consolidate Vidarbha's place at three on the Group A points table. They have 22 points from seven, same as Assam, who have played only six.
Odisha 529 for 6 dec (Behera 255, Ranjit 112, Haladhar 93) drew with Haryana 216 (Saini 51, Yadav 46, Mohanty 3-51, Pradhan 3-53) and (f/o) 250 for 4 (Bishnoi 86*, Saini 64)
Haryana held on for 103 overs in Lahli thanks to Chaitanya Bishnoi's unbeaten 86 off 259 balls, but the 250 for 4 that they ended up with while following-on was still not enough to match match Odisha's 529 for 6 declared. Chances of an outright win were high for the visitors, especially after a Virender Sehwag-less Haryana were bowled out for 216 in the first innings in 85.5 overs. But their batting was able to show greater resolve to deny Odisha a second win of the season. Haryana themselves have not had any victories so far and both teams are stuck in the bottom half of the table.
Bishnoi, the 21-year old playing his first season of Ranji Trophy, was the common thread that connected three solid partnerships. He added 86 runs in 36.5 overs with Nitin Saini (64), 75 runs with Rohit Sharma (42) in 30.5 overs, 44 runs with Sachin Rana in 18.5 overs and an unbeaten 30 runs with Priyank Tehlan in 11.5 overs to guide his team to relative safety. And clearly, Odisha's bowlers could not summon the finishing blow: Dhiraj Singh, Suryakant Pradhan and Basant Mohanty bowled 73 overs for only four wickets.
Bengal 528 for 8 dec (Chatterjee 147, Easwaran 65, Gani 59, Mandal, 58, Shaw 57, Goswami 51, Khurana 4-141) and 100 for 1 (Eswaran 53*) drew with Maharashtra 406 (Tripathi 132, Bawne 65, Ojha 3-71)
The game eventually petered out into a race for the first innings lead, and Maharashtra who had come into the final day on 290 for 3 did have an opportunity to run down Bengal's 528 for 9 declared, but were unable to do so. They were reliant on the overnight pair of Rahul Tripathi's (132 off275 balls) and Ankit Bawne (65 off 143 balls) but once that 156-run partnership for the fourth wicket was broken, Bengal took control.
Bawne was bowled by Veer Pratap Singh and the score became 313 for 4. Tripathi fell 16 runs later, then Maharashtra lost their sixth, seventh and eighth wickets for only 11 runs and finally were eventually all out for 406. Pragyan Ojha took 3 for 71. Ashok Dinda, Mukesh Kumar and Aamir Gani picked up two wickets each. Bengal then played out 33 overs with Abhimanyu Easwaran securing his second fifty of the match.