Baroda and Hyderabad inch closer to semis
Baroda and Hyderabad triumphed in low-scoring games and enhanced their chances of entering the semi-finals
Baroda 64 and 272 for 6 (Powar 90*, Yusuf 81*) beat Tamil Nadu 152 and 183 by 4 wickets
Baroda completed a stunning fightback and enhanced their prospects of reaching the semi-final stage after a four-wicket win against Tamil Nadu at Vadodara. Having completed all their league games, Tamil Nadu will now await the results of the last league round. Chasing 272 for victory, Baroda were in a deep hole at 113 for 5 but Kiran Powar and Yusuf Pathan added 159 in an unbeaten seventh-wicket stand and sealed the win. Powar stroked 11 fours in his steady 90 while Yusuf, Irfan's brother, cracked 81 in 124 balls with 11 fours and two sixes. For the second successive game Baroda came back from a low first-innings score to triumph in a thrilling chase. They take on Uttar Pradesh in the final league game, beginning on December 31, and need to win with a bonus point to ensure a place in the last four.
Hyderabad 233 and 149 (Laxman 60, VRV Singh 6-40) beat Punjab 105 and 217 (Gupta 87*) by 60 runs
Hyderabad's 60-run win in a low-scoring scrap gave them a great chance of entering the semi-finals. Chasing 278 for victory, Punjab couldn't manage sizeable partnerships as Gaurav Gupta, who made a solid 87, lost partners at regular intervals. Gupta was stranded on 87 when the last wicket fell. Narender Pal Singh, the medium pacer, snapped up four wickets while Inder Shekar Reddy, the left-arm spinner, picked up three. Earlier VRV Singh, Punjab's 20-year-old fast bowler, completed a great match with six wickets in the second innings, and finished with 13 for 115 for the game. The Punjab batsmen, though, faltered in both innings and though they were still favourites to make it to the semi-finals, big wins for Baroda and Hyderabad in the final league game would snuff out their chances.
Uttar Pradesh 282 and 59 for 1 need another 173 more runs to beat Maharashtra 394 and 119 (RP Singh 5-33)
Uttar Pradesh began confidently in their pursuit of 232 at Karad in a contest that had no bearing on the semi-final slots. Maharashtra were shot out for 119 in their second innings with Rudra Pratap Singh, the left-arm medium pacer, claiming 5 for 33. Ashish Winston Zaidi contributed three victims as Maharashtra's batting worries continued. Jyoti Prakash Yadav led the chase and was unbeaten on a composed 36.
Mumbai 292 and 264 for 8 (Bahutule 107*, Powar 65) lead Karnataka 166 by 390 runs
Sairaj Bahutule's eight first-class hundred helped Mumbai tighten their stranglehold and they led by 390 at the end of the third day at the Wankhede Stadium. Having gained a 126-run lead in their first innings, Mumbai were in a spot of bother at 67 for 6 when Bahutule and Ramesh Powar came together. Both added 117 for the seventh wicket with Powar contributing 65. Bahutule was unbeaten at the close as Karnataka's semi-finals hopes had all but disappeared. Mumbai have already booked their spot in the semis.
Madhya Pradesh 242 for 7 trail Gujarat 353 by 111 runs
Gujarat's bowlers struck at regular intervals as Madhya Pradesh struggled in pursuit of 353 in the third day at Ahmedabad. All the MP batsmen reached double figures but none crossed 35 as Hitesh Majumdar and A Makda, the opening bowlers, grabbed seven wickets between them. At the end of the day, MP still trailed by 111 with only three wickets standing and may concede two points in a game that was bound for a tame draw.
Bengal 240 and 190 for 3 (Dasgupta 56) lead Delhi 251 (Manhas 79, Dahiya 73, Paul 5-89, Bose 5-53) by 179 runs
Shib Shankar Paul and Ranadeb Bose helped Bengal claw their way back into the contest at Kolkata, a game that they had win to enhance their chances of staying in the Elite Group. Delhi collapsed from 193 for 4 to 251 all out as Paul and Bose ended the innings with five wickets apiece. Mithun Manhas and Vijay Dahiya made 70s but their dismissals early in the day triggered a collapse. Bengal's reply was much more promising than their first-innings effort, where they managed 240, and ended the day on a comfortable 190 for 3, an overall lead of 179. Deep Dasgupta top scored with 56. Delhi will have to push for a win tomorrow to boost their chances of a last-four berth.
Railways 263 and 151 for 0 (Pagnis 107*) lead Andhra 202 by 212 runs
Amit Pagnis hammered 107 in just 136 balls as Railways took command in their crucial game against Andhra at Anantapur, a game that could decide if they remained in the Elite Group or not. After managing a 61-run lead, Railways didn't lose any wicket till stumps with Pagnis and Sanjay Bangar adding 151 in 42 overs. Pagnis smashed 19 fours on the way to his eighth first-class hundred. Earlier, Andhra had wriggled out of a tight spot with their tailenders taking the score from 120 for 6 to 202.