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Quarter-final contenders made to battle hard

A round-up of the first day's play of the seventh-round matches of the Ranji Trophy Super League 2008-09

Cricinfo staff
Rajasthan 197 for 2 (Saxena 71, Kuldeep Singh 71*) v Delhi

Vineet Saxena scored 71 as Delhi's bowlers failed to take advantage after choosing to field in Jaipur © Getty Images
An inspired performance from Delhi's bowlers against Saurashtra had revived their chances of a quarter-final place, but they struggled to pick wickets after deciding to field against the already-relegated Rajasthan at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. Parvinder Awana, the key performer in the win over Saurashtra, struck an early blow, removing Vinod Chanawaria in the eighth over. However, Rajasthan's batting did not cave in as in their previous games, with Vineet Saxena and Kuldeep Singh adding 138 for the second wicket.
Saxena, Rajasthan's leading run-getter in the tournament, got support from Kuldeep, playing his first game this season. It was not until the 62nd over that the partnership was broken, when Saxena was run out for 71. Kuldeep stayed till stumps to finish on the same score, adding an unbroken 40 in 22 overs with Venugopal Rao, the Rajasthan captain.
Hyderabad 112 for 6 (Teja 35, B Jadeja 6-27) trail Saurashtra 133 (Jogiyani 38, Ashwin Yadav 3-19, Shanker 3-28) by 21 runs
Delhi will be keeping a keen eye on the progress of Saurashtra, who lead them by one point in Group A, in their match against Hyderabad. It was a torrid start for the hosts and last season's semi-finalists in Rajkot, but a six-wicket haul from left-armer Balkrishna Jadeja kept them in the reckoning to take the first-innings lead.
Saurashtra's decision to bat seemed to backfire instantly, with opener Bhushan Chauhan dismissed off the fourth ball of the game. The second wicket added 32, but Hyderabad struck back with quick strikes to leave Saurashtra reeling at 61 for 7. Sagar Jogiyani, the Saurashtra wicketkeeper, ensured his team went past 100. He added 35 with No. 9 Kamlesh Makvana, 20 for the ninth wicket with Sandeep Jobanputra, and was the last man out with the score on 133. Jogiyani top scored with 38, with three fours and a six.
Ravi Teja started confidently for Hyderabad, but wickets fell in a heap at the other end. Jadeja struck regularly to reduce the visitors to 57 for 5; the last of those dismissals was Teja, who made 35. None of the other Saurashtra bowlers, though, was able to break through, and Jadeja got his sixth when he trapped Abhinav Kumar lbw. However, an unbroken 34-run stand between Syed Quadri and MP Arjun took Hyderabad to 112 for 6 at stumps. Saurashtra would hope to dismiss the remaining batsmen as quickly as possible.
Baroda 201 for 1 (Parab 108*, Bilakhia 65*) v Andhra
Baroda need a win to have any chance of qualifying from Group B, and their top-order batsmen set a solid platform for the team to build on. Surprisingly, they adopted a rather slow approach in their push for victory at the Moti Bagh Stadium, putting on 201 in 90 overs. Opting to bat, Baroda's openers, captain Connor Williams and Satyajit Parab, put on 65 in 36.5 overs. Williams scored 20 off 114 balls before he became the first wicket for debutant TA Rao. There were no further breakthroughs in the day for Andhra, who need a win to give themselves a chance of avoiding relegation. Parab hit 12 fours in his 271-ball 108, adding an unbroken 136 with Azharuddin Bilakhia, who made 65 off 159 deliveries.
Tamil Nadu 295 for 4 (Mukund 129*, Karthik 113) v Railways
Railways, too, need a win to boost the chances of a quarter-final spot, but they had a tough first day against Group B leaders Tamil Nadu in Chennai. An impressive start saw them reduce the hosts, who chose to bat, to 9 for 2, but centuries from Abhinav Mukund and Dinesh Karthik, the captain, eased Tamil Nadu to a comfortable position at the end of the first day.
Mukund and Karthik shared a 210-run partnership. Karthik scored 113, with 15 fours, before he was lbw to offspinner Kulamani Parida. S Vidyut was dismissed cheaply by Parida, but Mukund and Suresh Kumar took Tamil Nadu to 295 for 4 in 90 overs. Mukund was unbeaten on 129, with 14 fours and a six in his 242-ball innings.
Gujarat 5 for 0 trail Orissa 162 (Niranjan Behera 49, Parmar 6-53) by 157 runs
A six-wicket haul from offspinner Mohnish Parmar gave Gujarat the advantage on the first day of the Group A encounter against Orissa in Bhubaneswar. Despite the absence of two key batsmen Shiv Sunder Das and Bikas Pati, Orissa began steadily after choosing to bat. Paresh Patel and debutant Natraj Behera shared a 32-run opening stand before Behera was dismissed by medium-pacer Amit Singh, who came into this game with a 11-wicket haul in his previous match.
Patel and Niranjan Behera then consolidated with a 44-run stand in 24.3 overs. After Patel fell for 31, Orissa lost stand-in captain Pinninti Jayachandra to Parmar. Behera and Pravanjan Mullick slowly ticked to score past 100, but Behera's dismissal for 49 triggered a collapse. Mullick, who faced 79 balls for his 17, was trapped in front by Parmar asOrissa's last seven wickets fell in the space of 31 runs, with none of their final six batsmen going past 9. Siddharth Trivedi took 2 for 31 off his 19 overs, while Parmar had 6 for 53 off 29.
Maharashtra 35 for 1 (Khadiwale 23*) trail Karnataka 252 (Gautam 108, Fallah 4-47, Agharkar 3-87) by 217 runs
CM Gautam hit a fine maiden hundred but a late collapse saw Karnataka bowled out for 252 in their first innings at the RSI Ground in Bangalore. The last five wickets fell for eight runs as Maharashtra stormed back to prevent the game from running away from them.
They now have a fight on their hands against the Karnataka spinners, on a turning track and lost one wicket in the 41 minutes they played before stumps, Rohan Bhosale cleaned up by part-time offspinner C Raghu in the last over of the day. (Read the full report.)
Mumbai 90 for 1 (Rahane 53*, Samant 35*) trail Punjab 202 (Kakkar 67, Shaikh 4-50) by 112 runs
Ajinkya Rahane's quickfire half-century destroyed any hopes of a fightback Punjab might have entertained after Wasim Jaffer's early exit, as Mumbai ended the first day in control at the Brabourne Stadium. Rahane's unbeaten 53 and his unbroken second-wicket stand of 86 with Vinayak Samant, batting on 35, consolidated Mumbai's position after Rahil Shaikh's best innings figures restricted Punjab to 202. (Read the full report.)