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Delhi and UP move close to semi-finals

A round-up of the second day's play of the seventh-round matches of the Ranji Trophy Super League, 2007-08

Cricinfo staff
Delhi 265 for 6 (Gambhir 84, Dhawan 59, Suresh 4-65) trail Tamil Nadu 268 (Bhatia 3-16) by 3 runs

Gautam Gambhir's 84 might just have bought Delhi a ticket to the semi-finals © Cricinfo Ltd
The Delhi top three scored half-centuries to take their side within one shot of Tamil Nadu's 268, with four wickets in hand. For Delhi, this is a definitive step towards the semi-finals as the other contenders, Mumbai and Maharashtra, have struggled to bowl their oppositions out.
After Rajat Bhatia finished the Tamil Nadu innings early, Gautam Gambhir and Aakash Chopra put on their third 100-plus stand of the season. Gambhir missed out on what would have been his third century this season, as he and Chopra fell one after the other. Chopra was the first to go for 55, while Gambhir scored 84. Shikhar Dhawan, the No. 3, held firm even as Delhi kept losing wickets frequently. Dhawan was the last wicket to fall in the day, but his 59 had seen Delhi to within 16 runs of the Tamil Nadu score. For Tamil Nadu, C Suresh took 4 for 65.
Uttar Pradesh 336 (Amir Khan 50, Vishal Sharma 4-73) and 28 for 0 lead Hyderabad 193 (Chawla 4-50, Gupta 4-55) by 171 runs
Piyush Chawla and Praveen Gupta took four wickets apiece to bowl Hyderabad out for 193, a first-innings lead of 143 runs, and thus laid a foundation for Uttar Pradesh to go for an outright win that will ensure them a place in the semi-finals.
After an early blow, Hyderabad had proceeded to 69 for 2 when Gupta removed captain Arjun Yadav. In the same over, he got Amol Shinde and Hyderabad struggled for partnerships following that. Only a 46-run eighth-wicket stand between Pragyan Ojha and MP Arjun helped Hyderabad avoid the follow-on.
Earlier, resuming the day at 293 for 6, UP added 43 runs before being bowled out.
Andhra 121 and 147 for 6 (Watekar 67, Bose 4-54) lead Bengal 98 (Vijay Kumar 5-31, Raju 2-13) by 170 runs
P Vijay Kumar bagged his maiden first-class five-for to bowl Bengal out for 98, a first-innings lead of 23 for Andhra. Andhra were 147 for 6 in their second innings, setting up an exciting finish to the low-scoring match at the Eden Gardens.
Bengal needed an outright win to give themselves a chance of avoiding relegation and their abject batting performance didn't help their cause after the bowlers had shot Andhra out for 121. They were 46 for 1 at one stage. Vijay Kumar struck twice in one over and triggered a dramatic collapse - nine wickets fell for 52 runs. Vijay Kumar also accounted for the crucial wickets of Manoj Tiwary and Laxmi Shukla.
Hemal Watekar gave Andhra a quick start, but they they too collapsed from 88 for 1 to 109 for 6, thanks to Ranadeb Bose. After the middle-order caved in, MSK Prasad and AG Pradeep consolidated, adding an unbroken 38 runs for the seventh wicket.
Himachal Pradesh 280 and 19 for 0 lead Rajasthan 218 (S Vijay 88, Malik 4-51, Bhatia 2-24) by 81 runs
In the relegation face-off match, Himachal Pradesh obtained a crucial first-innings lead over Rajasthan by bowling them out for 218. Vikramjeet Malik took four wickets, while Vishal Bhatia and Ashok Thakur took two apiece.
The rot for Rajasthan started in the first over of the day when Malik claimed Vineet Saxena's wicket. Although Shubhanshu Vijay put together two useful partnerships with Rajesh Bishnoi and Nikhil Doru, the rest folded easily. Vijay missed out on a maiden century by 12 runs when he became the sixth wicket to fall with Rajasthan 90 behind Himachal's score. Malik, Bhatia and Thakur took a wicket apiece in quick time and Bhatia effected a run-out to take the last four wickets for 28 runs.
Orissa 204 for 3 (SS Das 100*, Sinha 43*) trail Baroda 255 (Vohra 56*) by 51 runs
Shiv Sunder Das scored a painstaking unbeaten century to take Orissa close to a first-innings lead against Baroda which, if they hold on for a draw should be enough to ensure they don't get relegated.
After Orissa took the last Baroda wicket early in the day, their batsmen dug in and ground the bowlers down. Baroda had to wait for 15 overs for their first breakthrough, following which Das and Niranjan Behera added 65 for the second wicket in 32.4 overs. Although Baroda got the third wicket soon, Das and debutant left-hand batsman Payas Sinha batted the rest of the day out. Das ended the day on 100 from 275 deliveries, while Sinha had scored 43.
Saurashtra 465 for 9 (Kotak 162*, Jadeja 87, Hussain 4-93) v Mumbai
The Shitanshu Kotak special continued for the second day running as he scored a personal-best unbeaten 162 to all but ensure Saurashtra would not lose the match, the only circumstance that can keep them out of the semi-final line-up.
Barring the three overs that Mumbai took to get their first wicket, Kotak has now batted for the rest of the two days and has faced a whopping 514 deliveries for his 162. Resuming the day at 202 for 2, Saurashtra had lost three wickets for 43 runs, but Kotak found support in Ravindra Jadeja who also outdid his previous best of 53. When Jadeja got out for 87, Saurashtra were one short of 400, but Kotak was clearly not done.
For Mumbai the medium-pacers Murtaza Hussain and Mun Mangela managed four wickets apiece.
Karnataka 239 for 5 (Pawan 102, Raghu 67) trail Maharashtra 276 by 37 runs
KB Pawan scored a century and C Raghu a half-century to take Karnataka close to a first-innings Maharashtra in Ratnagiri. After Robin Uthappa and Devraj Patil fell early, Pawan and Raghu consolidated the innings and added 156 runs for the third wicket. This was Pawan's second first-class century.
Although Maharashtra took three wickets for 28 to come back into the match, they met dour resistance from Yere Goud and Thilak Naidu who added 27 unbeaten runs for the sixth wicket. Maharashtra need no less than an outright win to stay alive in the competition, while Karnataka are already out of the semi-finals race.