Mumbai's powerful top-order delivered to set up a comfortable 32-run victory over Baroda in their opening match in Pune. Openers Paul Valthaty (45-ball 70) and Wasim Jaffer (31-ball 37) piled on 106 by the 11th over, before Baroda captain Yusuf Pathan removed both in two successive overs. There was no slowing the pace, though, as Rohit Sharma hammered 47 off 26 deliveries to take Mumbai to 190 despite a flurry of late wickets. Baroda started chasing the stiff target aggressively, but they were undermined by a steady fall of wickets, and the fact that none of their batsmen carried on after getting starts. Ajit Agarkar took three important wickets to be Mumbai's standout bowler. The match was also Zaheer Khan's first after the World Twenty20 in June; he had a low-key outing, though he grabbed the big wicket of Pathan.
The zone's other match of the day followed a similar pattern, Gujarat amassing 191 before cruising to a 28-run win over Maharashtra. It was the top order which did the job for Gujarat; opener Parthiv Patel making a 36-ball 49 and No. 3 Niraj Patel top-scoring with a 40-ball 54, powering the side to 191. Like Baroda, Maharashtra's chase started in earnest but regular wickets - they lost three in the space of seven deliveries from 71 for 1 - meant the pace slackened. Only one of the top five made it past 20, effectively ending Mahrashtra's chances.
Sairaj Bahutule's 4 for 19 was the standout performance as Assam convincingly beat Orissa by seven wickets at the Railway Stadium in Dhanbad. Choosing to bat, the Orissa innings never really got going with seamers Priyam Das and Abu Nechim doing the early damage. Bahutule then added to Orissa's woes denting the middle order severely. The batsmen floundered against his leg spin, with Rashmi Das contributing the highest of 19 to the well below-par score of 83. Parvez Aziz led a solid reply for Assam even as they lost two wickets with the score on 41. He struck three fours and two sixes during his 42-ball 37, before Deepak Sharma sealed the win with a quick unbeaten 22, including four boundaries.
Tripura were shot out by Jharkhand for a paltry 30, the lowest-ever Twenty20 score, at the same city. Read the report here.
Delhi scored a comfortable 49-run win over Jammu and Kashmir at the Palam B Ground in Delhi. Opener Shikhar Dhawan starred with a half-century and was supported by contributions from Rajat Bhatia (42 not out), Farman Ahmed (29) and Mayank Tehlan (23 not out) to lift Delhi to a match-winning score of 167. J&K's reply was lacklustre, with Pradeep Sangwan (3 for 25) and Bhatia (2 for 14) causing the early damage. Amit Baloria top scored with an unbeaten 31 but there was little backing from the other end, and J&K were bowled out for 118.
Captain Paras Dogra and Vikramjeet Malik shone for Himachal Pradesh, as they beat Services by 14 runs in a low-scoring encounter in Delhi. Dogra struck three fours and a six in his unbeaten 54 and was involved in a partnership of 65 with opener Mukesh Sharma (39). The pair helped HP post a competitive score of 135, which proved too many for Services. Only Yashpal Singh fought hard with a 41-ball 58, as Malik (3 for 14) and Jitender Mehta shared five wickets to bowl the opposition out for 121.
Punjab emerged triumphant against neighbours Haryana by nine wickets in Delhi. Medium-pacer Love Ablish took 5 for 20 to keep Haryana down to 111, opener Rahul Dewan top scoring with a run-a-ball 35. Haryana needed early breakthroughs to put pressure on Punjab, but that didn't happen. Ravi Inder Singh blazed to 69 in 54 balls and added 79 with opener Sunny Sohal (27) to shut out any hopes Haryana may have had of fighting back after a disappointing batting display.
A combined batting effort from Railways led by Sanjay Bangar's 35-ball 57 handed them a convincing 26-run win over Uttar Pradesh in Indore. TP Singh (34) and wicketkeeper Dhiran Salvi (28) rallied around Bangar to take Railways to a challenging 173. Piyush Chawla was UP's best player, taking 3 for 35 and chipping in with a 16-ball 25 in the chase. He had added 47 for the fourth wicket with Parvinder Singh (51 not out), but a middle-order collapse, where UP lost four wickets for 18 runs, shut them out of the game.
Ravi Inder Singh
Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy
India Domestic Season