Motwani century rescues Maharashtra

Round-up of the first day of the fifth round of the Ranji Trophy Plate League

Group B

Maharashtra captain Rohit Motwani's maiden first-class century lifted his side to 282 for 7 in Delhi on the opening day of their crunch game against Services that could decide who tops Group B. Services' seam duo of Suraj Yadav and Nishan Singh had made Maharashtra's decision to bat seem unwise when they reduced them to 145 for 6. But the 19-year old Motwani steadied the innings in a 125-run partnership with fast bowler Shrikant Mundhe. Motwani hit 15 fours in his 113 before falling leg before to Yadav. Mundhe remained unbeaten on 51 at stumps, his maiden first-class half-century.
Venugopal Rao's 77 took Andhra to 215 for 6 against Kerala in Anantapur, in another crucial Group B match. Kerala struck regularly throughout the day but Rao forged two partnerships - including a 79-run stand with B Sumanth for the fourth wicket - that took Andhra to a respectable score. Andhra were hampered by the manner in which their batsmen perished after getting off to starts, with only Rao getting past 50.
Vidarbha built on a solid opening partnership to reach 295 for 6 against Jammu & Kashmir at the Gandhi Memorial Science College Ground in Jammu. Amit Deshpande and Jayesh Dongaonkar added 72 runs upfront before medium-pacer Raman Dutta took three wickets as Vidarbha slipped to 141 for 4. Ravi Jangid and Shalabh Shrivastava rescued their side with a 128-run stand. Jangid hit 15 fours in his maiden first-class hundred before falling for 103, but Shrivastava was unbeaten on 72 at stumps. Dutta took a career-best 4 for 87.

Group A

Ishank Jaggi's unbeaten century enabled Jharkhand to make 254 for 7 at the Field Club Ground in Udaipur against Rajasthan. Jaggi, the captain, and Shiv Gautam, the wicketkeeper put on 134 runs after Jharkhand had been reduced to 90 for 4. However, legspinner Vivek Yadav dismissed Gautam for 60, and Jharkhand lost two more late wickets to lose their way again. Jaggi remained unbeaten on 116 at the end of the day.
Madhya Pradesh, level on points with Rajasthan at the top of the group, would be a worried lot after the entire day's play was washed out in their game against Hyderabad at the Gymkhana Ground. Hyderabad handed out debuts to five players.
Tripura took the lead for the first time this season, blowing away Goa for 112 before making 186 for 4 in Porvorim. The seam trio of Wilkin Mota, Rana Dutta and Timir Chanda were the only bowlers used by Tripura, and they took less than 35 overs to bowl Goa out. The highest score for Goa was 16 as Mota and Chanda finished with four wickets apiece. Tripura's batsmen made sure the bowlers' efforts weren't wasted, cantering to a lead that they will look to build on. Nishit Shetty led the way with an unbeaten 63. Mota weighed in with the bat as well, hitting eight fours in his 38.