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IND v AUS (1)
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Pujara stars in Saurashtra win

File photo: Cheteshwar Pujara struck an unbeaten 54 in Saurashtra's nine-wicket win  •  BCCI

File photo: Cheteshwar Pujara struck an unbeaten 54 in Saurashtra's nine-wicket win  •  BCCI

North Zone

An unbroken 48-run partnership between Milind Kumar and Vaibhav Rawal helped Delhi chase down 160 with six wickets and three deliveries remaining against Punjab at the Feroz Shah Kotla. Delhi lost their captain Gautam Gambhir for 4 in the first over of the chase, but all their other top and middle-order batsmen chipped in with handy knocks to keep the required rate in check.
Sehwag, whose whirlwind half-century had helped down Jammu & Kashmir on Tuesday, hit three fours and sixes each during a 35-ball 39, and shared a 42-run stand with Nitish Rana, who made 35. Both batsmen were dismissed by the 16th over, appearing to have given Punjab a way back into the game, but Milind and Rawal's counterattacking stand sealed Delhi's second straight win. Milind played the more patient hand in the partnership, stroking 23 off 22 balls, while Rawal blazed 31 off 13 balls, with two fours and two sixes.
Earlier, Punjab, having been inserted, were restricted to 159 for 7. The team was precariously placed at 91 for 6 before Gurkeerat Singh's 42 and an unbeaten 21-ball 34 from Gurinder Singh pushed them above 150. Pranshu Vijayran was the pick of Delhi's bowlers, collecting 3 for 32.
Rishi Dhawan followed up his 35-ball 51 with figures of 3 for 19 as Himachal Pradesh cruised past Haryana by 45 runs in Delhi.
Himachal, batting first, were rocked early with Prashant Chopra falling lbw to Ashish Hooda for a duck and Abhimanyu Rana getting bowled by Amit Mishra for 4. Ankush Bains, though, repaired the damage and steered his team forward, striking 53 off 49 balls. Dhawan then took charge and lifted Himachal to 153.
In response, Haryana were jolted by regular strikes and never recovered as they limped to 108. Matters would have worsened if not for some brief resistance from Guntashveer Singh and Kuldeep Hooda. Dhawan was ably supported by Pankaj Jaiswal and Rahul Singh, who chipped in with two wickets each.
A match-winning spell of 4 for 14 from Services seamer Irfan Khan took them to a comfortable six-wicket win against Jammu & Kashmir at the Feroz Shah Kotla. After asking J&K to bat, Services restricted them to 105 for 9, which they chased with six wickets in hand and 11 balls to spare.
Irfan removed the J&K openers, and soon Parvez Rasool and Bandeep Singh in his first three overs to reduce them to 28 for 4, and Ian Dev Singh's run out made it 36 for 5. A string of double-digit scores from Jehangir Lone, Ram Dayal and Waseem Raza towards the end took them to 105.
Services stuttered early by losing their openers within the first 13 balls of their innings to Dayal, before Vikas Hathwala (30) and Yashpal Singh (39*) steered them to safety. Hathwala was caught off Rasool in the ninth over, but Yashpal and Rajat Paliwal took them home.

East Zone

A combined effort with the bat and ball guided Assam to an 18-run victory over Bengal in Cuttack. Assam, having been inserted, had a fast start but lost three early wickets and slid to 50 for 3 in 4.3 overs. Sibsankar Roy and Amit Sinha then added 61 together to shore up the innings before cameos from Swarupam Purkayastha and Syed Mohammad saw Assam finish strongly at 189 for 6.
Bengal made a fist of the challenge, despite a shaky start, through Debabrata Das, who remained unbeaten on 78 off 40 balls. However, lack of substantial support from the other end meant that Bengal came up short by 18 runs, with Pritam Das and Abu Nechim sharing four wickets.
Odisha turned in an impressive all-round performance to down Tripura by 34 runs in Cuttack.
Having elected to bat, Odisha got off to a poor start with debutant Ajoy Sarkar having Bikas Pati caught behind for a duck. Pratik Das and Govinda Podder rebuilt the innings before Odisha slumped from 42 for 1 to 60 for 5. Arabind Singh, coming in at No.6, however, counterattacked his way to a 32-ball 49, and dragged Odisha to 151.
Rakesh Solanki gave Tripura a good start, but the middle and lower-middle order imploded, as six wickets fell for 31 runs. Solanki cracked 68 off 58 balls, but lacked support from his partners with only the top three reaching double-figures. Eventually, Tripura managed 117 and avoided the ignominy of being bowled out. Jayanta Behera was the pick of the bowlers for Odisha, claiming figures of 3 for 19.

Central Zone

Frugal, wicket-taking spells from Nathu Singh, Aniket Choudhary and Manjeet Singh helped Rajasthan to their second win in a row, when they beat Uttar Pradesh by 16 runs in Indore. Defending 160, Rajasthan kept UP to 144 for 9 as Nathu picked up 3 for 24 in four overs.
UP's chase was led by opener Prashant Gupta, while the other four of the top-five batsmen collectively managed only 13 runs. UP went from 45 for 4 to 97 for 5 with Prashant's fifty before he was dismissed for 59 off 39. UP needed 64 off 42 from there, and even though Rinku Singh struck a 35-ball 34, Nathu's late wickets kept them to under 150.
Eariler, Rajasthan had opted to bat and all of their top-six batsmen, led by Aditya Garhwal (33 of 17) and Puneet Yadav (27), reached double-figures. To add to that, an unbeaten 11-ball 37, with three fours and four sixes, from No. 9 Manjeet Singh helped them clobber 44 runs in the last three overs.
Madhya Pradesh held their nerve under pressure to edge Railways by four runs in Indore.
Anureet Singh struck with the third ball to remove Jajaj Saxena for a duck, but Mohnish Mishra combined well with Udit Birla in a 58-run partnership to prop up MP, who elected to bat. After Mohnish was bowled by Amit Mishra for 60 in the 15th over, Harpreet Singh and Parth Sahani pitched in with twenties as MP finished with a challenging total of 168.
Arindam Ghosh's fifty cancelled out Mohnish's and led Railways' strong reply after Vivekh Singh was retired hurt on 4. Railways' progress, though, was dented when Karn Sharma and Arnab Nandi were out in a space of two balls with the addition of merely a run. Ghosh followed soon after and MP hung onto a thriller, despite late cameos from Rongsen Jonathan and Ashish Yadav.

South Zone

S Anirudha and Aswin Crist were the key performers, shaping Tamil Nadu's 36-run win over Hyderabad in Kochi.
Asked to bat, Tamil Nadu had a strong start, courtesy Anirudha and H Gopinath, who added 98 in 9.4 overs. Though Gopinath was run out for 33, Anirudha went on to make 62, after which Baba Indrajith and Vijay Shankar chipped in with thirties of their own, as Tamil Nadu were lifted to 186.
Crist then tripped up the chase and finished with figures of 4 for 26 on his Twenty20 debut. Sunil Sam and Antony Dhas complemented Crist well as Hyderabad were restricted to 150 for 9. Tirumalasetti Suman, who top-scored with 82 off 56 balls, was left with too much to do on his own, and eventually became the seventh batsman to be dismissed in the penultimate over.
The Andhra bowlers, led by leg-spinner Prasanth Kumar's hat-trick, routed Karnataka for 91 in 17.5 overs in Kochi. Having been inserted, Karnataka lost wickets at regular junctures and slumped to 44 for 4.
Things became worse when Prashant Kumar claimed his hat-trick in the 12th over - first pinning Mayank Agarwal lbw for 35, having Kranthi Kumar stumped for a duck and then dismissing Udit Patel. It was only a matter of time before Karnataka were bowled out following which Prasanth Kumar shone with the bat, too, adding 57 with Srikar Bharat in a steady opening partnership.
Despite both openers being undone by offspinner Udit, and Jagadeesha Suchith having Mohammad Kaif nick one behind, Ricky Bhui and AG Pradeep saw Andhra home with 15 balls to spare.
Padmanabhan Prasanth and Amit Verma fashioned Kerala's 49-run win over Goa.
Samson extricated Kerala from early losses and stabilised the innings with timely assistance from Rohan Prem. Samson struck three fours and two sixes before he became Sher Yadav's second victim, in the penultimate over. Raiphi Gomez and Prasanth then took the hosts past 150.
Goa's top-order was dismantled early in the chase and the fall of wickets continued as they were bowled out for 106. The Asnodkars - Swapnil and Rohit - made identical scores of 24, but all it did was reduce the margin of defeat.

West Zone

A cohesive bowling performance followed by Cheteshwar Pujara's unbeaten fifty saw Saurashtra thrash Maharashtra by nine wickets in Pune.
Sheldon Jackson was run out for 20 in the sixth over of the chase but an unbroken 82-run partnership for the second wicket between Pujara and Sagar Jogiyani ensured Saurashtra overhauled the target of 109 inside 17 overs.
Earlier, Maharashtra endured a horror start with Harshad Khadiwale and captain Rohit Motwani perishing for ducks. The Saurashtra bowlers continued to chip away at the wickets as 4 for 2 became 55 for 5. Then, Nikhil Naik, coming in at No.6, added a semblance of respectability to the innings and took Maharashtra past 100 with a resistant 29 off 33 balls. However, it hardly proved to be a challenge for Saurashtra.
Shoaib Shaikh's century helped Mumbai script a comprehensive 92-run win over Gujarat at the MCA Stadium in Pune.
Put into bat, Shaikh and captain Aditya Tare added 75 runs in 8.2 overs, before Tare was stumped off Jesal Karia. Despite minimal contributions from other batsmen, Shaikh, who scored a half-century in Mumbai's six-wicket win over Baroda, motored along to help his side post 179. When he was run-out for 110 off the last ball of the innings, he had faced 71 balls and struck eight fours and four sixes.
Gujarat's innings began disastrously, as they lost three wickets for 10 runs inside three overs. There was no revival in sight, as they slid further to 52 for 6 and then 69 for 8. Only Manpreet Juneja managed to pass 25, remaining unbeaten till the end when Gujarat finished with 87 for 8. Shardul Thakur and Pravin Tambe picked up two wickets apiece.