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Yusuf Pathan entered the record books as he slammed the third-fastest hundred in List A history, off 40 balls, to help Baroda stun Maharashtra at the Sardar Patel Stadium C Ground. Chasing 231, Pathan walked in at the 23rd over with the score at 99 for 3. By the 37th over, he had finished the game. Given his performance at the Duleep Trophy not long ago, his call-up to the Indian ODI team to take on South Africa was no surprise.
Maharashtra opted to bat first and were struggling at 143 for 7 before Ganesh Gaikwad and Azhar Ansari revived them with a stand of 77. Abhimanyu Chauhan was the most effective bowler with figures of 3 for 28. Baroda opener Kedar Devdhar got the team off to a good start with a quick 62 off 64 balls but the biggest shock was in store for Maharashtra when Pathan walked in. He smashed six sixes in his first 20 balls to get to his half-century and the carnage continued. He smashed four more sixes and eight fours in total in his unbeaten 108, off 42 balls. With his twin frenetic centuries in the Duleep Trophy final recently, Pathan sent another timely reminder to the national selectors.
Centuries by Chirag Pathak and Cheteshwar Pujara helped Saurashtra ease to an eight-wicket win over Gujarat at the Sardar Patel Stadium B Ground. Their 171-run stand for the second wicket took the game away from Gujarat as they chased down the target of 237 in the 46th over. Gujarat's charge was led by their captain Niraj Patel who hit 92. Coming in at the fall of the first wicket in the first over, Patel stayed till the 44th, steadying the innings with a 124-ball knock. Jayesh Odedra was the best bowler, taking three wickets. Saurashtra lost Jaydev Shah for a duck but from then on it was all Pathak and Pujara. Pathak was more aggressive, scoring 101 off 94 balls while Pujara remained unbeaten on 109 off 136 balls.
Naman Ojha continued his splendid form in the tournament and together with Harpreet Singh laid the foundation for Madhya Pradesh's massive win over Railways at the Maharani Usharaje Trust Cricket Ground. Both struck breezy centuries and teamed up for a 184-run stand for the third wicket stand that spelt doom for Railways. While Ojha smashed 21 fours and six sixes during his 143-ball 167, Harpreet hit eight fours and eight sixes en route to 111 off 71 balls, as Madhya Pradesh finished on a colossal 412 - the highest List-A score at the domestic level. Railways were always behind the eight ball during the chase, as right-arm fast bowler TP Sudhindra tore into the top order. Yere Goud resisted with 77, but left-arm spinner Ankit Sharma claimed 3 for 52, to ensure victory by 184 runs.
Tanmay Srivastava's 118 went in vain as Uttar Pradesh lost narrowly by eight runs to Rajasthan at the Emerald High School Ground but still qualified for the second stage. Chasing 264, Srivastava was at the crease till the 49th over but the support was not forthcoming enough to help UP past the finish line. Earlier, Ashok Menaria and Hemang Badani hit 70s to lead Rajasthan's charge. UP lost wickets at regular intervals in their chase and Rajasthan had the edge when they had the opposition at 173 for 7. But an eighth-wicket stand between Srivastava and B Kumar gave UP hope before Rajasthan hit back and won the match in the final over, with UP needing nine off six balls.
Shikhar Dhawan's blistering 155 provided Delhi with a late lift to their campaign, beating Haryana by 58 runs at the Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium in Rohtak. The left-hand opener was in terrific touch, and combined well with captain Virat Kohli (96) to put on a huge 215-run stand for the second wicket. Sixteen fours and four sixes during Dhawan's unbeaten knock went a long way in ensuring Delhi's 308 for 3. Haryana found the going tough from the start and despite captain Joginder Sharma's fighting 87, fell short. Left-arm spinner Vikas Mishra helped himself to 4 for 50, as Haryana capitulated in 47.5 overs.
A sparkling century from wicketkeeper Uday Kaul helped Punjab continue their winning ways with a six-wicket win against Services at the Tata Energy Research Institute Oval in Gurgaon. Put in, Services made a strong start with openers Tahir Khan (67) and Sumit Singh (77) putting on 154 by the 31st over. The platform wasn't used by the rest though, as right-arm seamer Taruwar Kohli swung the momentum Punjab's way with a five-for. Achieving the target of 223 was made easier with a second-wicket stand of 70 between Kaul and Ravi Inder Singh (61). Kaul continued the charge, hitting 13 fours en route to an unbeaten 101 off 104 balls, as Punjab reached home in 39.2 overs.
Right-hander Dhruv Mahajan stroked a classy century but ended up on the losing side as Himachal Pradesh coasted to a six-wicket win against Jammu & Kashmir at the Shah Satnam Ji Stadium in Sirsa. Mahajan's 127 off 117 balls, comprising 12 fours and three sixes, was the mainstay of the HP innings and the No. 6 bastman was given good support by Parvez Rassol (59). But the lack of sizeable contributions meant HP finished on 255. Hemant Dogra's 64 at the top of the innings, steadied J&K's chase, but it was Mukesh Sharma who stole the limelight with a quickfire 96, including nine fours and two sixes. A 114-run third-wicket stand with Hemant and 82 with captain Paras Dogra (60 not out) was enough to secure victory by the 39th over.
It might just be too late for Jharkhand to make it the next stage even as they edged out Tripura by two wickets at the Ravenshaw College Ground in Cuttack. Tripura, after being invited to bat, managed to reach 61 for no loss by the 16th over, but despite Bappa Das' unbeaten 61 ended on 241 for 8. The Jharkhand top-order wobbled during the reply, but at 71 for 4, Ishank Jaggi and Rajiv Kumar held the reins firm, and notched up half-centuries each. It was a field day for Rajib Dutta as well behind the stumps, as he took five catches, but even as the wickets fell No. 9 Kuldeep Sharma held his nerve with a 28-ball 33 to see Jharkhand through with five balls to spare.
Assam's dismal campaign continued as they suffered their third loss in as many games, against Orissa at the Barabati Stadium. Paresh Patel's well-compiled 78 at the top of the order was supplemented by Rakesh Mohanty's 95-ball 73 during the middle stages, as the hosts piled up 288 after Assam chose to field. The Assam openers began well, led by Parvez Aziz's 62, but Bibhudutta Pandey's double-strike pegged them back. Biplab Samantray dented the middle order with 3 for 24, kept afloat by Deepak Sharma's swift 50. Mohanty capped off a wonderful day with three late-order wickets as Orissa won by 51 runs to take top spot temporarily.
It was a close finish at the Gurunanak College Ground in Chennai as Tamil Nadu beat Andhra by two wickets. Chasing 241, TN lost their way at 93 for 5, but a partnership of 110 for the sixth wicket between K Vasudevadas and R Ashwin revived their hopes. They stumbled again towards the end before H Gopinath steered them home with an aggressive 28. The win was set up by Vijaykumar Yomahesh who took five wickets. The Andhra opener Hemal Watekar hit 53 but the middle order couldn't stitch together big stands. Syed Sahabuddin and Manoj Sai added 74 for the seventh wicket to push the score to 240. TN were given a rousing start by Abhinav Mukund but lost their way when they lost three wickets for nine runs. But Vasudevadas and Ashwin restored order. But when both fell by the 47th over, there was hope for Andhra. Vasudevadas missed his century by six runs. However, Gopinath saw them through those anxious moments.
S Sriram's 148 off 110 balls dominated the proceedings at the MRF Pachyappa's Ground as Goa routed Kerala by 124 runs. The target of 323 was too hot to handle for Kerala and in the end, they failed to reach 200. Goa captain Swapnil Asnodkar got the team off to a brisk start with a quick 77 off 80 balls. Sriram, who came in at the fall of the second wicket, bashed the bowling around and remained unbeaten till the end, smashing 13 fours and two sixes in his 110 ball innings. Nizar Niyas, the right-arm seamer, picked up four wickets but also leaked 80 runs in the process. Kerala needed big partnerships to chase the target but the batsmen couldn't cope. Rohan Prem was the only batsman to score a fifty and there were only two half-century stands in the innings. Amit Yadav, who failed with the bat, took three wickets as Kerala were bowled out in the 44th over.
Half-centuries by Robin Uthappa and CM Gautam and a combined bowling performance by Karnataka's bowlers helped them beat Hyderabad by 81 runs at the CPI Pistons Ground. Uthappa led a brisk stand of 93 with an aggressive 51 off 34 balls. The fifth and sixth wickets added 61 and 75 respectively to push Karnataka to a score of 300 plus. Stuart Binny made a quick 41 off 34 balls, Raju Bhatkal hit a run a ball 38 while Gautam was unbeaten on 68. Chasing 318, Hyderabad made good progress at the start with Ambati Rayudu hitting 54 and Ravi Teja 40. But the Karnataka spinners struck quickly to reduce Hyderabad to 113 for 5. They never really recovered from that position and were bowled out for 236, with Neeraj Bist remaining unbeaten on 70.