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Chandan

Ranji Trophy, Super League, 2008-09

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Mumbai stamped their authority over Orissa despite getting miserly bowled out for 186 in the 1st innings. Rahane boy scored a double ton. Mumbai have confirmed their semi final berth with this victory :D

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Mumbai stamped their authority over Orissa despite getting miserly bowled out for 186 in the 1st innings. Rahane boy scored a double ton. Mumbai have confirmed their semi final berth with this victory :D
Apologies for lack of research, but where are Powar and Agarkar? Rahil Shaikh takes 3/30 in the second innings, certainly one to watch for the future. Rumoured to have 'serious pace' (says Kapil Dev) and appeared on Cricket Star.

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Its all over folks...

Mumbai: Master batsman Sachin Tendulkar, who guided India to a superlative win over England in the Chennai Test with an unbeaten century, is keen to play for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy quarter-finals. "Sachin is very keen to play in the quarter-finals. He has already enquired whether the tie can be re-arranged a bit," Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) sources told PTI on Tuesday. Tendulkar would get only two days' time between the concluding day of second Test against England at Mohali, on December 23, and opening day of the Ranji match -- December 26. Mumbai are expected to finish on top of Group A in the Elite Division of the national championship and in that scenario would play quarter-final at Ahmedabad, sources said. With India's tour of Pakistan unlikely to materialise the top cricketers would be seen in action in Ranji Trophy, in case their teams make it to the knock out rounds, and the subsequent Duleep Trophy knock-out tournament in January-February, 2009. "It will be good for the players (who will get a break from international cricket) and for domestic cricket (in case the tour is off)," Cricket Board sources indicated. India's scheduled series after the ongoing two-Test rubber against England, if the tour to Pakistan is off, is the visit to New Zealand in March-April for which the squad is set to depart in February-end. India will play a one-off Twenty20 international against New Zealand on March 6 at Wellington before engaging them in a best-of-five ODI series from March 8-20 with ties at Napier, Hamilton, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. A two-Test series is to follow from March 26-April 7 with matches to be held at Hamilton and Wellington.
With Zak and SRT turning up for Mumbai, I cant see another team coming close...

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Its all over folks... With Zak and SRT turning up for Mumbai, I cant see another team coming close...
No puhhleeez... :(( We need Zak and Sach to preserve their bodies for the Kiwi tour.

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Oh please, Sachin playing for Mumbai will be one of the most wonderful things imaginable. The man lives for cricket, and is just as passionate about the fortunes of Bombay as he is about the Indian team.

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sentiment = man lives for cricket reality = his body can take only soo much cricket
yes, but Ranji cricket does not have the same intensity/demand as a test match or even a few ODIs. Besides, this could mean greatness. Tendulkar very rarely gets to play for Bombay... but when he does he produces absolute magic. Remember the epic innings v. Tamil Nadu?

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well, that's the more famous one. the semi final innings v. TN from 00 is much less known - SRT in the past has expressed that it's one of his favourite knocks, and reports from people who've seen that say it is one of THE great knocks. Pulled Mumbai from the brink, turned around an impossible situation and produced a completely unexpected first innings lead shepherding the tail, and making it one of the most miraculous comeback wins in Mumbai history.

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methinks Sriram is bearing mental scars from this... http://usa.cricinfo.com/db/ARCHIVE/1999-2000/IND_LOCAL/RANJI/KNOCK-OUTS/BOM_TN_RJI-SEMI2_11-15APR2000.html - and just is terrified of the prospect of what could happen if TN faces SRT again :--D
The only mental scars that I still carry are those of me getting up at 3 A.M in the morning, only to see India being dismissed for paltry totals and some VERY average Kiwi teams pulling a fast one over us, in their conditions. :(( I am desperate, absolutely DESPERATE, to see us win there this time. And if it means putting Sachin’s and the rest of our quicks’ bodies in deep-freeze till that tour, so be it. :D

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It'll be terrific if Sachin gets to play even in the final of Ranji, if Mumbai reaches there that is. I think I should do the round up of VIth round. I'll try at least. ROUND VI, DAY 1 Ranji Trophy Super League, 6th round, 1st day Orissa vs Mumbai, Day 1 at Cuttack Kulkarni buoys Mumbai with all-round effort Cricinfo staff December 12, 2008 Orissa 3 for 3 (Kulkarni 2-3) trail Mumbai 180 (Samant 46, B Mohanty 5-50, DS Mohanty 3-28) by 177 runs Scorecard 380848.jpgDhawal Kulkarni's splendid run continued in the first season in the Ranji Trophy © Cricinfo Ltd Dhawal Kulkarni's late fightback with the bat and early strikes with the ball revived Mumbai after the visitors started poorly at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack. After captain Wasim Jaffer took a brave decision of batting first on a green top, Mumbai fell prey to the Mohantys - Debasis and Basanth - who snared eight wickets, with Basanth taking five. They slumped to 22 for 3, before Amol Muzumdar and wicketkeeper Vinayak Samant steadied the innings. They pushed the score to 110, but the Mohantys struck again. Muzumdar, Samant and Rohit Sharma were dismissed in successive overs by Basanth, and they were down to 145 for 8 after Debasis removed Vinayak Mane and Ankeet Chavan. Kulkarni then scored 26 at No. 10 to boost his team to 180, but offspinner Niranjan Behera - the seventh bowler to be used by Orissa - took the final two wickets quickly to end the innings. In his first season in the Ranji Trophy, Kulkarni has made it a habit to strike in his first over of an innings - he has done it five times so far. The sixth took place in Cuttack, with Orissa's openers - Bikas Pati and Behera - out for ducks. Kulkarni's new-ball partner Kshemal Waingankar followed suit, striking with his second ball to leave the hosts in a precarious position overnight. Another POV Kulkarni takes two wickets as Orissa crashes Gautam Sheth Saturday, December 13, 2008 03:09 IST MUMBAI: Dhaval Kulkarni continued to impress, taking two wickets in his and innings’ first over as Orissa crashed to an incredible 3/3 after restricting Mumbai to a paltry 180 on an eventful Day I of the Ranji Trophy Super League Group A match at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on Friday. Mumbai’s poor total was mainly due to some splendid bowling by Orissa pace duo Basanth Mohanty and Debashis Mohanty. Mumbai skipper Wasim Jaffer took a brave decision of batting first on a green top. The gamble didn’t pay off as in the second over of the Mumbai innings, Sahil Kukreja became Basanth’s first victim. One-down Ajinkya Rahane tried to stitch a partnership with Jaffer but Debashish had him caught by skipper SS Das and Mumbai were 20 for two. Two runs later, Basanth struck again and Jaffer was caught in front with the scorecard reading a miserable 22 for three in just 9.4 overs. Seasoned campaigner Amol Muzumdar paired up with Vinayak Samant to compile a slow but steady 88-run partnership. Basanth struck once again and ended the partnership, getting Muzumdar caught behind. He cleaned up Samant in his next over. It was not over for Basanth as he got Rohit Sharma caught behind for six. Mumbai were reeling at 118 for six. Vinayak Mane, who opened in the last game against Hyderabad, came at five down. Baroda vs Tamil Nadu, Day1 at Vadodara Baroda 124 for 5 (YK Pathan 31*, Amarnath 3-39) lead Tamil Nadu 117 (Veragi 5-24, Argal 3-39) by seven runs Scorecard There was no Irfan Pathan, but Baroda's medium-pacers dismissed Tamil Nadu for 117 on the first day at the Moti Bagh Stadium to boosts their team's chances of making it to the semi-finals. A tough tie was in the offing for the fifth-placed team - the top three make it to the quarter-finals - against the Group B leaders; however, Salim Veragi and Ajitesh Argal skittled out Tamil Nadu, who chose to bat, for a low score on a lively track to give their team the advantage. The last three wickets for the visitors fell without any runs being added - a hat-trick for Veragi, who completed his maiden five-for in first-class cricket. Three quick strikes from P Amarnath brought Tamil Nadu right back into the contest. Baroda were in trouble at 67 for 5, and things could have been worse if Tamil Nadu captain Dinesh Karthik had hung on to a catch off Pinal Shah with the score at 93. Shah made the most of that drop and added an unbroken 57-run stand with Yusuf Pathan to give Baroda the first-innings lead. Another POV Bowlers call the shots : TN in trouble Special Correspondent Baroda: Tamil Nadu shot back, after being bowled out for 117, to keep Baroda within striking distance at 124 for five in the first innings at close on day one of the four-day Ranji Elite Group ‘B’ league match. Palani Amarnath sowed doubts in batsmen’s minds, mixing outswingers with balls jagging back on a Motibaug wicket offering bounce and lift right through the day. There was no devil in the pitch, as the compact Connor Williams (31 off 88 balls) and the free-stroking Arun Karthik (26 off 57 balls) showed the virtue of patience and shot selection. The two batsmen were the exceptions. The former played close to the body and punished bowlers erring in length. The latter picked the line early and found the fence regularly. Laxmipathy Balaji provided the early breakthrough, scalping Parab while Amarnath removed Williams, Bilakhia and Solanki. Yusuf Pathan (31 n.o., 53 balls, two fours) and Pinal Shah (22 n.o.) were at the crease. Irfan pulls out Earlier, left-arm spinner Rajesh Pawar replaced Irfan Pathan, who pulled out citing stiff joints. In keeping with coach Paras Mhambrey’s policy of giving youth a chance to gain first-class experience, Salim Veragi and Ajitesh Argal (three for 39) operated with the new ball on a lively track. Veragi (five for 24) and Argal (three for 39) justified their selection with the latter helping himself to a hat-trick against the tailenders. Saurashtra vs Delhi, Day 1 at Rajkot Saurashtra 234 for 9 (Chauhan 61, Jadeja 56, Awana 4-57) v Delhi Scorecard Medium-pacer Parvinder Awana took four wickets, and was involved in the run-out of Cheteshwar Pujara, the leading run-getter in the tournament this season, as Delhi restricted Saurashtra to 234 for 9 on the first day at the Madhavrao Scindia Cricket Ground in Rajkot. Delhi desperately need a win to catch up with the leading pack of Mumbai, Saurashtra and Gujarat, and their bowlers did well after the hosts chose to bat. When Pujara fell, Saurashtra were at 73 for 3. Bhushan Chauhan and Ravindra Jadeja doubled that score, but legspinner Chetanya Nanda struck to break the partnership. Chauhan scored 61 off 153 balls, and Jadeja was removed for 56 by Awana soon after. With Saurashtra's last pair standing, Awana will fancy his chances of grabbing his maiden five-for. Another POV DELHI DELIGHT : Awana on the mark It might not be all over, after all. With their backs against the wall, and quarterfinal hopes hinging on this match, Delhi produced the perfect riposte to gain an invaluable upper hand against Saurashtra. The bowlers have been the only ones in the Delhi team to emerge out of this season with some credit, and on Friday they showed why. Up against an in-form Saurashtra lineup on a batting track, the odds were well and truly stacked against Delhi’s inexperienced attack. But they fought valiantly to reduce the hosts to 234/9 at stumps. Saurashtra skipper Jaydev Shah had no doubt in opting to bat. Openers Chirag Pathak and Bhushan Chauhan started cautiously. The pace duo of Sumit Narwal and Pradeep Sangwan was getting the ball to move rather sharply off the wicket, and Pathak (15) was the first to fall prey to this concerted pressure. They call him the Harolla Express. Always quick but mostly haywire, he used to be banished from all his village Cricket matches for inflicting serious injuries to batsmen with short-pitched deliveries. Parvinder Awana has made rapid strides in a short but eventful career — from a finalist in a speedster hunt to a hat-trick last year — but this season, his bowling has progressed from intuitive to intelligent. On a good wicket for batting, Awana held his pace back and bowled the right lengths to pick up four wickets in 19 overs to keep Saurashtra’s much-vaunted batting line-up down to 234 for nine on the first day of Delhi’s must-win Ranji Trophy match. Despite most of their batsmen being among the runs this season, Saurashtra, in effect, look to Sitanshu Kotak and Cheteshwar Pujara for the runs. Two batsmen who are almost the antithesis of the other, Kotak and Pujara have been instrumental in guiding Saurashtra from Plate League obscurity to the light of the Super League. Neither, however, could stop the Delhi charge. After two early wickets, the loud cheers to welcome Cheteshwar Pujara were replaced by a lull 58 minutes later, as he was run out for 15 after a misunderstanding with non-striker Bhushan Chauhan. Kotak was gobbled up at slip by Shikhar Dhawan off the impressive Parwinder Awana for 3. Saurashtra were struggling at 73/3 when Ravindra Jadeja joined Chauhan. With the danger-man gone, Chauhan and Ravinder Jadeja put on 81 runs for the fourth wicket. Delhi’s bowlers, however, did not give up the fight. Relentless in their attack, they kept coming at the batsmen, making them earn their runs. Finally, leggie Chetnya Nanda got the vital breakthrough when he had Chauhan (61) playing for the turn only to be caught plumb in front. And things tilted in favour of the visitors as Jadeja played on and skipper Jaydev Shah nicked one to the keeper, both off Awana. With the end in sight, Chopra took the second new ball after 82.3 overs and Awana quickly accounted for Sandeep Jobanputra. Last-man Balakrishna Jadeja survived some anxious moments alongside Kamlesh Makwana, but Delhi will be wary of rejoicing just yet. It’s the batsmen who have been flunking the test so far, and they can’t afford another slip-up in the race for qualification. Hyderabad vs Punjab, Day 1 at Hyderabad Hyderabad 246 for 7 (Suman 131, Shinde 57, Ladda 4-51) v Punjab Scorecard Opener TS Suman's century gave Hyderabad a solid start in their Group A match against Punjab, but a late fightback from the visitors had the game evenly poised at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium. Suman, who was lucky to see an edge dropped in the slips when on 6, got support from No. 5 Amol Shinde, who chipped in with a 57. Suman's cover-drives and pulls were the stand-out strokes and his placement and shot selection was also spot-on. However, his dismissal for 131 triggered a collapse, with four wickets falling for 26 runs. Legspinner Sarabjit Ladda took 4 for 51 - his second four-wicket haul in six first-class matches. Another POV Suman hits belligerent century 2008121360711801.jpgWELL DONE: Hyderabad opener T. Suman acknowledges his maiden Ranji Trophy century. HYDERABAD: T. Suman batted to his potential to score a belligerent, maiden century (131, 303 minutes, 224 balls, 18 x 4, 4 x 6) and help Hyderabad score 246 for seven at close on the first day against Punjab in the four-day Ranji Trophy Elite Group ‘A’ match at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium (Uppal) here on Friday. The 24-year-old opener thrived on a dropped chance in the slip cordon off Manpreet Singh Gony when he was on six and the team score read 18 for one. Combining authority with wonderful placement, Suman unleashed some of his trademark strokes — walking into the cover-drives and standing up to pull nonchalantly. Significantly, he displayed patience and stroke selection on Friday to stay longer at the crease. The fast bowlers Amanpreet Singh and Gony were treated with disdain by Suman, despite losing partner D.B. Ravi Teja (4) cheaply, poking at an outswinger from Amanpreet. Sarabjit shines The impressive leg-spinner Sarabjit Singh struck the second blow when southpaw Anoop Pai misread a googly to be plumb in front on the backfoot shuffle. Sarabjit repeatedly harrassed the batsmen with his teasing line and length and mixed his googlies pretty effectively. He foxed captain N. Arjun Yadav to lean forward for a defensive push only to be caught behind smartly by Uday Kaul. At the other end, Suman continued to play some amazing strokes and punished the erring spinners – Sarabjit Singh and left-armer Varun Khanna — by hitting them for four big sixes. Big partnership During the 134-run stand for the fourth wicket between Suman and the gritty Amol Shinde (57, 236 minutes, 177 balls, 6 x 4), it looked Hyderabad was on course for a big score. Suman was lucky to survive another chance at 64 when his uppish off-drive was floored at cover off Sarabjit. Suman completed his maiden Ranji century by onn-driving and leaning into an exquisite cover-drive off Amanpreet in one over. And once Suman departed, going for a big hit only to see Ravi Inder Singh jump in the air just in time to pluck a difficult catch off Sarabjit, Punjab fought its way back into the game. Shinde was run-out trying to steal a non-existent leg-bye even as the bowler Amanpreet was appealing for a lbw decision. Ravi Inder’s diving throw, running in from gully, left Shinde stranded at the striker’s end. Sarabjit Singh finished the day with a four-wicket haul. Maharashtra vs Railways, Day 1 at Ratnagiri Maharashtra 13 for 1 trail Railways 212 (Goud 75, Sanyal 70, Fallah 5-49) by 199 runs Scorecard Railways, who are still in the reckoning for a quarter-final place from Group B, were one of four teams to be dismissed on the first day in the sixth round of matches. Left-armer Samad Fallah took five, and he was well supported by fellow medium-pacers Mun Mangela and Aditya Dole as Railways were dismissed for 212. Railways, who were asked to bat by the hosts in Nasik, were propped up by seventies from Yere Goud, who recently played his 100th Ranji Trophy game, and Sanjib Sanyal. Wickets, though, tumbled at the start and end of their innings: the last six crashed in the space of 25 runs. Railways got one breakthrough, that of Rohan Bhosale, before close, and will look to dismiss Maharashtra cheaply on the second day. Gujarat vs Rajasthan, Day 1 at Jaipur Gujarat 111 for 3 (NK Patel 51*) trail Rajasthan 136 (Singh 4-31, Trivedi 3-27) by 25 runs Scorecard It was another dismal batting performance from Rajasthan in Jaipur. They were bundled out for 136, and an unbeaten half-century from Niraj Patel put Gujarat on course to take the first-innings lead. Gujarat captain Parthiv Patel decided to let his bowlers make first use of the pitch, and the move paid off. Rajasthan managed to survive 14.1 over without losing a wicket, but Gujarat's bowlers chipped away once the first breakthrough was achieved. Only four batsmen made it to double-figures, with opener Vineet Saxena top scoring with 39. Medium-pacers Amit Singh and Siddharth Trivedi shared seven wickets between them, and part-timer Priyank Kirit Panchal chipped in with two in five overs. Gujarat were reduced to 58 for 3 in reply, but Niraj and Bhavik Thaker, Gujarat's leading run-getter this season, ensured they lost no more wickets before stumps. Another POV Singh, Trivedi put Gujarat in command Jaipur: Fine bowling display by Amit Singh (4 for 31) and Sidhartha Trivedi (3 for 26) and an unbeaten half century by Neeraj Patel (51 not out) helped Gujarat take a commanding position against Rajasthan in their Ranji Super League match here on Friday. parthiv-patel-out_313.jpg Put in to bat on a grassy wicket which also had uneven bounce at least in the morning session, the hosts struggled to cope with the fiery Gujarat bowlers and were bundled out for a paltry 136 at the KL Saini stadium at Mansarovar. Openers Vineet Saxena (39) and Manish Sharma (16) did show courage but the middle order including skipper Venugopal Rao (6) failed yet again. Pankaj Singh (18) and Mohammad Aslam (14) in the lower order threw their bat around to add some precious runs and helped Rajasthan reach 136. In reply, Gujarat lost Nilesh Kumar Modi (2) early in their innings but ended the day on 113 for three. When Rajasthan got rid of Priyank Panchal (17) and Parthiv Patel (6), Gujarat were in a spot of bother but Neeraj Patel (51 not out) and Bhavik Thaker (22 not out) added 53 runs for their unbeaten partnership for the fourth wicket to propel Gujarat to a strong position. A couple of dropped catches too added to Rajasthan's woes. Neeraj was let off when Vineet Saxena could not grab a half chance at the slips off Shailendra Gehlot. Neeraj was on 27 and team total on 58 at that time. Karnataka vs UP, Day 1 at Bangalore Karnataka 277 for 6 (Uthappa 65, Raghu 64, Chawla 2-59, Praveen 2-61) v Uttar Pradesh Scorecard Honours even on day one Sidharth Monga at the Chinnaswamy Stadium December 12, 2008 323391.jpgRobin Uthappa top-scored for Karnataka with 65, of which 52 came in boundaries © Nishant Ratnakar/ Bangalore Mirror One hundred and thirteen: That was the tangible cost of the chances Uttar Pradesh missed on a day in which they failed to hold on to three of the seven catches that came their way. But while UP fielders were intent on letting Karnataka run away with the game, the hosts were in benevolent mood too: some unnecessary shots let UP back in, two of them by the openers who were both dropped during their pieces. Whereupon UP pulled the plug on the scoring, and slowly made their way back to the end the first day on even terms, despite a half-century from the third beneficiary, C Raghu. On a batting beauty, UP would have expected better from their star fielding line-up having put Karnataka in. They were perhaps looking for an outright win, which would allow them to breathe easy during the next round when they won't be playing. Their progress this season, however, will depend on other results in Group B. RP Singh and Bhuvneshwar Kumar opened the bowling, but did not get much help from the pitch. The odd delivery swung - especially one from RP which prompted a loud lbw appeal against Robin Uthappa - but by and large it was a comfortable opening spell for the batsmen. CP Gautam, on debut replacing KB Pawan who failed recover from his shoulder injury, glanced the day's first boundary in the second over. Uthappa kept RP interested, playing and missing twice in the fifth over. Those two breaks in concentration, however, were followed by a flicked boundary as Karnataka reached 44 without loss. Praveen Kumar's introduction paid off almost immediately as Gautam slashed at a wide one, edging it hard and high to gully, where Shivakant Shukla let the ball go through his hands. In Praveen's next over, Uthappa played at a wide delivery in the same direction, and Shukla managed to get his hands to this one, before again spilling it. Their respective scores were 18 and 29 then. Uthappa immediately shifted a gear and went on the aggressive. There was the odd loose shot, but also fluent flicks and hard drives through cover. Two overs from RP, back for a second spell, neatly summed up the hit-and-miss nature of Uthappa's innings. The batsman first went for a big drive, missing it completely, but managed to flick the next ball through midwicket. In the next over he went an aerial, though ended up hoicking it just over mid-off. Two balls later he steered through third man to bring up his half-century, off 60 balls with 10 boundaries. Just when all was going well for Karnataka, however, Gautam handed UP another chance, similar to the one he had offered before. The bowler was Praveen, the shot similar, but the gully fielder had changed. Tanmay Srivastava held on to the sharp low offering, the total on 98 in only the 21st over. Four balls later, Uthappa tried one shot too many, and edged a short and wide delivery from RP to bring two new batsmen at the crease. Uthappa's 65 came off 69 deliveries, 52 of them in boundaries. Praveen and RP then seized the opening, and bowled with heart and accuracy. Deepak Chougule and Raghu were examined thoroughly, with bouncers, cutters, and the little swing the two bowlers could muster. The next eight overs featured plays and misses, hits on the body, an edge short of slips and one through them, and only five runs. The pressure told as Raghu, in the first over of Bhuvneshwar's new spell, edged only for Mohammad Kaif to spill a low chance at first slip. Raghu was yet to open his account. Finally, off the 24th ball he faced, he got off the mark and slowly but surely, together with Chougule, got his side out of strife. Just before the partnership could really threaten, Choughule swept all over a Piyush Chawla delivery, and was out lbw. Karnataka promoted Thilak Naidu ahead of Manish Pandey, and from 135 for 3, Raghu and Naidu made UP work really hard through the afternoon. While Naidu played a subdued knock, choosing to leave balls outside off stump, Raghu looked solid after the early reprieve, hitting some wonderful boundaries. To counter the hint of reverse from Bhuvneshwar, Raghu repeatedly walked down the track, playing and missing at a couple just before tea, eventually reaching a well-made half-century off 122 balls. However, against the run of play, Naidu hit Praveen Gupta straight to Suresh Raina at cover, as UP went in to the tea break confident. Just after tea, Raghu followed Naidu into the pavilion, falling lbw to Chawla. After a 78-run partnership two wickets had fallen for three runs, and for the second time in the day UP threatened to storm back into the match, but Manish Pandey made a Raghu-like start, thwarting another UP comeback and restoring balance to the match. He got his first run off the 22nd ball he faced, accelerated thereupon, using his half-sweep-half-push to good effect. Minutes before stumps, the final balancing act of the day was enacted with Pandey chasing a wide delivery from Praveen. While the Karnataka batsmen didn't really look the gift horse in its mouth, they weren't entirely the thankless hosts either.

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ROUND VI, DAY 2 Ranji Trophy Super League, 6th round, 2nd day Orissa vs Mumbai, Day 2 at Cuttack Mumbai 180 and 133 for 1 (Rahane 75, Kukreja 53) lead Orissa 108 (H Das 62*, Kulkarni 5-27, Waingankar 2-10) by 205 runs Scorecard At the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack, Group A toppers Mumbai finished the second day with a tight grip on their match against Orissa. Dhawal Kulkarni took his third five-for of the season as Orissa, starting at a precarious 3 for 3, were skittled out for 108. The visitors' top order then extended the 72-run first-innings lead to over 200, with Sahil Kukreja and Ajinkya Rahane scoring unbeaten half-centuries. Kulkarni's effort was backed up by two-wicket hauls from Kshemal Waingankar and Rahil Shaikh, but Mumbai should have got a lead of around 150. They had Orissa at 26 for 8, but wicketkeeper Halhadar Das' unbeaten 62, well supported by Basanth Mohanty's 27, ensured the hosts got past the 100-mark. Waingankar finally had Mohanty caught behind; for Orissa, captain Shiv Sunder Das, who injured himself on the first day, did not bat. Vinayak Mane fell for a duck but Kukreja and Rahane took Mumbai to 133 for 1 in 46 overs. Kukreja made 53 off 165, while Rahane scored 75 off 98. Another POV Mumbai bounce back at Barabati Gautam Sheth Sunday, December 14, 2008 03:18 IST Kulkarni takes a fiver as Orissa bowled out for 108 MUMBAI: In a comeback of sorts, visitors Mumbai came down hard on Orissa as they shot down the hosts for 108 runs, taking a crucial 72 runs lead in the first innings of their Ranji Super League match at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on Saturday. The visitors made amends for their first innings by posting respectable 133-1. Going into Day Three, Mumbai enjoy an overall lead of 205 runs. The lead could have been bigger if not for a 82-run partnership between Halhadar Das and Basanth Mohanty. They took Orissa from a hopeless 26-8 to 108. Dhawal Kulkarni was the wrecker-in-chief for Orissa as the pacer recorded his his third five-wicket haul of the season. Ajinkya Rahane complimented the bowling effort by scoring an unbeaten 75. After reducing Orissa to 3-3 at stumps on Day One, it got worse on Day 2 as they crumbled to 26-8. The top eight batsmen dismissed could only manage 11 runs from the bat, five of them could not even open their account. Kulkarni started the Day Two carnage by bowling S Biswal on the second ball of his first over for a duck. The scorecard looked a miserable 4-3. Four overs later P Jayachandra became Kulkarni’s fourth victim. PM Mullick too could not stand Kulkarni’s fiery spell. He was Kulkarni’s 31st victim of the season. Halhadar Das provided the resistance. He had an able partner in No 9 Basanth Mohanty and together they stitched together a useful partnership. Das was flamboyant in his approach knowing he had nothing to lose. He scored his runs (62) at a quick pace with the help of seven boundaries and two sixes. Their partnership lasted for almost 20 overs before Kshemal Waingankar got his second wicket having Mohanty caught behind. Baroda vs Tamil Nadu, Day 2 at Vadodara Tamil Nadu 117 and 301 for 3 (Karthik 111*, Prasanna 92) lead Baroda 166 (YK Pathan 35, Amarnath 5-60) by 252 runs Scorecard Tamil Nadu seize advantage with quick turnaround Cricinfo staff December 13, 2008 325130.jpgDinesh Karthik scored an unbeaten ton as Tamil Nadu took the upper hand in Vadodara © AFP Tamil Nadu, the Group B leaders, staged a fine comeback on the second day of their match against Baroda at the Moti Bagh Stadium. Shot out for 117 in their first innings, the visitors kept Baroda, who began the day on 124 for 5, to 166. The TN batsmen then seized the advantage by briskly piling 301 for 3 in their second innings by stumps. For Baroda to build a significant lead, Yusuf Pathan was the key, but L Balaji dismissed him early. Pinal Shah and Swapnil Singh added 30 for the seventh wicket before P Amarnath trapped Swapnil for his fourth wicket of the innings. In the same over, Amarnath completed his second five-for, and eight runs later offspinner R Ashwin ended the innings. TN's openers wiped out the first-innings deficit. However, both Arun Karthik and Abhinav Mukund were dismissed in the 16th over. Baroda, though, had to wait another 200 runs for the next wicket as R Prasanna and captain Dinesh Karthik put TN in the ascendancy. Prasanna fell eight short of his century. He hit 14 fours, so did Karthik in his unbeaten 111 - which came at a strike-rate of 76.55 - as his team closed the day firmly in command. Another POV Tamil Nadu moves into a strong position BARODA: Captain Dinesh Karthik’s unbeaten century and his third-wicket stand of 200 with R. Prasanna (92) ensured that Tamil Nadu moved into a dominant position at 301 for three at close on day two of its Ranji Trophy Elite Group B match against Baroda on Saturday. Karthik (111, 145b, 228m, 16 x 4) first broke free from the shackles imposed by strike bowler Rajesh Pawar, and then used the reverse sweep to taunt off-spinner Yusuf Pathan. Tamil Nadu is now 252 runs ahead in the second innings. Baroda, bowled out for 166 earlier for a 49-runs first innings lead, now has two days to break down TN’s resistance. The game swung the visitors’ way due to a patient opening wicket stand of 64 from Arun Karthik and Abhinav Mukund. Pawar strikes Baroda captain Connor Williams opted for Pawar to make things happen. The left-arm spinner responded with Arun Karthik’s wicket while his partner Mukund was run-out four balls later. Earlier in the day, Amarnath yanked the visitor back on track, claiming five for 60 to restrict the home team’s ambitions. He was well supported by C. Ganapathy, L. Balaji and R. Ashwin. Saurashtra vs Delhi, Day 2 at Rajkot Delhi 215 for 2 (Dhawan 83*, Kohli 69, Chopra 58) trail Saurashtra 241 (Chauhan 61, Jadeja 56, Awana 5-60) by 26 runs Scorecard Delhi raced towards a first-innings lead with their top three batsmen scoring half-centuries after Saurashtra were bowled out for 241 on the second day in Rajkot. Medium-pacer Parvinder Awana picked up the final Saurashtra wicket in the fourth over of the day to get his maiden five-wicket haul. Aakash Chopra and Shikhar Dhawan then dominated the proceedings by adding 96 for the first wicket. Chopra was caught off Rakesh Dhruv for a 132-ball 58 but his dismissal did not slow down Delhi. Virat Kohli and Dhawan added 112 together at more than three runs an over before Kohli was run out by Cheteshwar Pujara late in the day. Kohli went after Dhruv, cutting him for two fours to third man and pulling him to midwicket. He also hit the ball over mid-on and then jumped out of the crease to lift it over the sight-screen. At stumps, Dhawan was unbeaten on 83 off 235 balls, an innings that included six boundaries. Another POV Delhi lay the foundation DELHI’S woes have largely been the result of their batsmen failing to score big. While the bowlers have held their own, the batsmen have fallen short. On Saturday, however, they came with vengeance. Taking 18 minutes, seven runs and 3.3 overs on Saturday morning, Parvinder Awana got his first five-wicket haul as the last set of Saurashtra batsmen went out. Once Parwinder Awana removed Balkrishna Jadeja in his second over of the day to grab a fiver and end the Saurashtra innings at 241, the responsibility of seizing control lay squarely on the batsmen. For once, they answered their team’s call. A strong foundation stone for Delhi’s progress, at last, has been laid to build a big score, but the challenges towards the *** end of the season have altered a bit — it’s now about completing pending projects within the four-day deadline. At 215 for two, Delhi showed the will through 84 overs on the second day of their Ranji Trophy match against Saurashtra’s first innings score of 241. But the visitors will need a radical jump in their scoring rate and work out the precise moment of declaration for an outright win within the 180 remaining overs. Openers Aakash Chopra and Shikhar Dhawan have not been at the top of their game this season. A pale shadow of the destructive pair they had formed last season, it was imperative for the two to spend time in the middle and get their feet moving. The skipper and his deputy played and missed plenty against the left-arm pair of Sandeep Jobanputra and Balkrishna Jadeja, but suppressed their hunger for shots till lunch. Scoring at just two runs an over, the pair took time to build a partnership. Finding the boundaries hard to come by, despite the healthy number of loose deliveries from the bowlers, Chopra and Dhawan stuck to singles. The duo managed only 56 runs in 26 overs before lunch. After lunch, with their eye in, they began to find the runs with relative ease. The two had put on 96 when Chopra (58) edged Rakesh Dhruv to slip. It has not been an easy season for Dhawan. He broke his thumb while with India, was dropped from Delhi’s last match and has been in the midst of a slump in form. An attacking batsman, Dhawan had to work extra hard here. Once he had grafted his way to a halfcentury, the crisp cover drives and ferocious cuts were back and so was the confidence. Kohli punishes Virat Kohli scored a boundary off just his second ball and went on to make use of every loose ball that leaked from the otherwise tight bowling of Kamlesh Makhwana and Dhruv. Kohli got to his fifty in just 85 balls, with a straight six off Dhruv, but was unfortunately declared run out on 69 by umpire Umesh Sood to a direct throw from Cheteshwar Pujara at point even though the replays suggested otherwise. Kohli was disappointed, more so as he was unable to take advantage of three dropped catches — Bhushan Chauhan dropped him on 35 and 67 at covers and point, respectively off Dhruv, and Kotak couldn’t react to an edge at slip off Makhwana when he was on 38. Kohli’s second-wicket partnership with Dhawan was worth 112 runs. Through the entire course, Dhawan played an uncharacteristic innings of 83 from 235 balls and he went further into the shell after his half-century as he approached his first three-figure mark of the season with just six boundaries. On Sunday, Dhawan’s progress to his century against the second new ball, and Delhi’s approach would relate an interesting opening session. Hyderabad vs Punjab, Day 2 at Hyderabad Punjab 150 for 6 (Goel 44, Shanker 2-31) trail Hyderabad 335 (Suman 131, Qadri 80, Shinde 57, Ladda 4-72, Gony 3-91) by 185 runs Scorecard Hyderabad are likely to gain a first-innings lead over Punjab, who lost six wickets for 150 runs in reply to the hosts' 335. At the start of the day, Punjab may have felt their task would have been easy, needing only three wickets to bowl out Hyderabad, who resumed on 246. With two wickets in the first 12 overs of the day, it looked like advantage Punjab with Hyderabad were in danger of being bowled out under 300. But Syed Qadri and Shiv Shanker frustrated the visitors for 12.1 overs and added 51 for the tenth wicket. Shanker batted for nearly an hour for his 7, while Qadri spent more than two hours for his 80. He pulled Amanpreet Singh for four and lofted legspinner Sarabjit Singh for six over long-on. Punjab started solidly in reply, reaching 78 for 1 before they lost three wickets for 23 in the next ten overs. Uday Kaul and Amit Kakkar added 46 runs before Kakkar and new batsman Varun Khanna fell in successive overs. Another POV Quadri is Hyderabad’s hero Principal Correspondent HYDERABAD: The diminutive Ahmed Quadri turned out to be the unexpected hero of the second day for Hyderabad as it seized the initiative first by scoring 335 and then restricting Punjab to 150 for six at close in the four-day Ranji Trophy Elite Group ‘A’ match at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium (Uppal) here on Saturday. Growing in confidence with each match, the 26-year-old Quadri came up with a splendid knock (80, 170min, 127b, 9x4, 1x6) farming the strike impressively batting with the tail. In great form Quadri, who has hit a century and a half-century this season, played a crucial innings. He scored 62 of his runs today and in style too. Quadri rocked back onto the backfoot to pull fast bowler Amanpreet Singh to the fence and then lofted leg-spinner Sarabjit Singh over long-on for a huge six. Thanks to his knock, Hyderabad has posted what could turn out to be a match-winning total. Maharashtra vs Railways, Day 2 at Ratnagiri Railways 212 and 48 for 0 lead Maharashtra 244 (Shrikhande 113, Jadhav 41, Sanyal 4-26, Harvinder Singh 3-48) by 16 runs Scorecard Railways' quest for a quarter-final place was jolted by their failure to get the first-innings lead, but they still have a chance of pushing for victory in Ratnagiri. Maharashtra took a slender 32-run lead thanks to Ameya Shrikhande's 113, but the Railways openers, Sanjay Bangar and V Cheluvaraj, patiently wiped out the deficit before stumps. Resuming on 13 for 1, a 70-run stand between Kedar Jadhav and Shrikhande took Maharashtra to 114 for 2, before Jadhav became the first of four wickets for Sanjib Sanyal. The hosts slipped to 158 for 6 with Sanyal striking two further blows, but Digambar Waghmare gave Shrikhande company as they took their side into the lead. Former India bowler Harvinder Singh then took two wickets, and Sanyal completed his career-best figures - Another POV Shrikhande helps Maharashtra take lead Ratnagiri: Hosts Maharashtra grabbed a slender 32-run lead over Railways in their Ranji Trophy Elite Division Group B tie at the Chatrapati Shivaji Stadium here on Saturday. Replying to the visitors' modest first innings tally of 212, Maharashtra were in a spot of bother at 158 for six before one-down batsman Ameya Shrikhande, who top-scored with 113, and Digambar Waghmare (22) put on a crucial half-century stand to take them past Railways' total. The home team, starting the day at 13 for no loss, were dismissed for 244 in 69.4 overs before Railways finished the second day of the four-day match at 48 without loss with openers Sanjay Bangar (23) and Vairamudi Cheluvaraj (25) at the crease. Maharashtra, struggling at 44 for two, rode on Shrikhande's century and his 70-run stand with an attacking Kedar Jadhav, who made 41 in 61 balls with 10 fours. The 22-year-old Shrikhande, who made his Ranji debut against Karnataka at this ground last year, struck 14 fours and a six in his 274-minute innings to steady the innings after the loss of openers Harshad Khadiwale and Rohan Bhosale with only 44 on the board. A slump saw the home team lose four wickets in a clutch in just over 21 overs before the innings was revived for the second time by the seventh wicket stand of 58 between the century maker and Waghmare. For Railways, right arm medium pacer Sanjib Sanyal was the most successful bowler with four for 26 while Harvinder Singh, who sent back Shrikhande to finish with 3 for 48, and Bangar (2 for 62) did their bit. Gujarat vs Rajasthan, Day 2 at Jaipur Rajasthan 136 and 148 for 7 (Chanwaria 79*, Amit 4-21) lead Gujarat 227 (N Patel 51, Thaker 52, Aslam 4-22) by 57 runs Scorecard Gujarat look set to move up the points table. Amit Singh took his match tally to a career-best eight wickets as Rajasthan stumbled to 148 for 7 in their second innings, a lead of only 57 runs. Bhavik Thaker made 52 and Mohnish Parmar scored a run-a-ball 36 to give Gujarat a first-innings lead of 91. The two were dismissed by left-arm spinner Mohammad Aslam, who took two lower-order wickets to end with 4 for 22. Rajasthan's second innings started off worse than their first - they lost three wickets for 38 runs, including two in successive overs from Amit. Debutant Vinod Chanawaria held on at one end but kept losing partners. Siddharth Trivedi joined the wickets list by removing Rajesh Bishnoi (23) and Vaibhav Deshpande (24). Amit returned to bowl Vikram Singh and Sumit Mathur for ducks and at stumps Chanawaria had No. 9 Pankaj Singh for company. Another POV Rajasthan staring at defeat against Gujarat Despite a fighting unbeaten 79 by debutant Vinod Chanwaria, Rajasthan were staring at yet another humiliating defeat at the close of second day of their Ranji Super League match against Gujarat here on Saturday. The visitors tightened the screw by scoring 227 in their first innings to take a 91-run lead and then marched towards an outright victory by reducing Rajasthan to 148 for 7 in the home team's second innings at close of play on Saturday. Rajasthan are ahead by just 57 runs and only three second innings wickets in hand. Vinod Chanwaria was still holding the fight for Rajasthan with a well-made unbeaten 79. At the other hand Pankaj Singh (2) was giving him company. For Gujarat, Amit Singh (4/21) and Sidartha Trivedi (2/36) again proved too hot to handle by the hosts batsmen. Rajasthan were rocked early by Makda and Amit who generated good pace and bounce to reduce Rajasthan second innings to 38 for 3. Rajesh Bishnoi (23) resisted for a while before Chanwaria and Vaibhav Deshpandey (24) added 82 runs for the fifth wicket. But, thereafter Rajasthan batsmen could not stand up to the visiting bowlers. Earlier, the visitors resumed their first innings at the overnight score of 111 for three and despite losing Neeraj Patel (52) and Digant Popat (9) early reached 227 due mainly to fine efforts by Bhavik Thaker (52) and Mohnish Parmar (36). Veteran left arm spinner Mohammad Aslam (4 for 22) was the pick of Rajasthan bowlers. Sumit Mathur and Shailendra Gehlot scalped two wickets each while Vinod Chanwaria and Pankaj Singh claimed one wicket each. Karnataka vs UP, Day 2 at Bangalore Uttar Pradesh 44 for 1 (Tanmay 29*, Raina 11*, Aiyappa 1-3) trail Karnataka 511 (Akhil 135, Uthappa 65, Joshi 64, Raghu 64, Raina 2-7) by 467 runs Scorecard Akhil and the tail frustrate UP Sidharth Monga at the Chinnaswamy Stadium December 13, 2008 323391.jpgRobin Uthappa top-scored for Karnataka with 65, of which 52 came in boundaries © Nishant Ratnakar/ Bangalore Mirror Karnataka's lower order took full toll of a supremely benign Chinnaswamy Stadium pitch to post in excess of 500; their first 400-plus total of the season. B Akhil scored his maiden first-class century, Sunil Joshi his third half-century in as many matches, and they gave their top order a lesson in not throwing away good starts. UP bowlers toiled for 168.5 overs - at times without inspiration, the second time they have been made to bowl 150 overs in an innings in the last three years, both occasions coming this season. In reply they limped through their 17 overs to 44 for 1, and if they are to overhaul Karnataka's total, they will need to cross 500 for the first time this season. Akhil had not been a part of the Karnataka squad for the first two matches, in which they scored two points. His comeback to the side - on the back of a stupendous first-division season - was considered a big gamble (in his previous 44 matches, his best had been 80). On today's evidence, the gamble seems to be paying off. He had been in for more than an hour by stumps yesterday, having made a patient start for 22. He would have known that on this pitch 500 would be the par score. Joshi had just joined him, with the sixth wicket falling five overs before stumps. The two made a tentative start on the second day: Joshi edged Bhuvneshwar Kumar wide of second slip in the second over of the day, and in the next over Akhil edged RP Singh to just short of Mohammad Kaif at first slip. Both those exchanges fetched Karnataka boundaries and that was the closest UP got to taking a wicket for the next 40 overs. Akhil got the partnership going with a square cut and a leg glance off Bhuvneshwar's successive overs to see him out of the attack. A powerful square cut off RP, played later than an orthodox one so that he could beat the cover-point, took him to within one of 50, which he got with a dab to mid-on later in the over. UP were frustrated by then, and went on to their version of leg theory. They had the medium-pacers bowling into the batsmen's pads with a 6-3 leg-side field. Two of the on-side fielders were mid-range short leg and midwicket. Akhil once managed to thread that gap to increase the frustration, and later cover-drove a wide half-volley to bring an end to the plan. When the spinners were brought on, Joshi got into the act, employing the sweep and the cover drive to good use. One slog-sweep off Piyush Chawla just managed to clear the mid-off, but apart from that his innings was risk-free. His half-century added gloss to what has already been a good season. He has now scored 226 runs and taken 20 wickets in five matches. Kaif brought himself on for a few overs before lunch without effect. If things weren't bad enough for UP, Akhil reverse-lapped Praveen Gupta with ease five minutes before lunch. Just after lunch, though, a bowling change finally worked for UP as Suresh Raina beat Joshi with a straighter delivery from round the stumps. Joshi had scored 64 by then, and with Akhil he had added 135 runs. Akhil continued to get similar support from the new man, Sunil Raju. Soon UP went back to the defensive, bowling outside leg with strong leg-side fields. The only period of contest during the eighth-wicket partnership came when Praveen Kumar gave Raju some short-pitch stuff, and a few verbals. Thilak Naidu shouted from the dressing room advising Raju to not listen to Praveen while the crowd (50 people) got into action every time a bouncer was bowled and Raju survived that play. Akhil slog-swept Gupta over midwicket to reach his century in what was a chanceless innings featuring shots all around the ground. The pitch didn't ask many questions of him, and he didn't get himself into any trouble either. The partnership between Akhil and Raju continued to bloom, but as it approached 100 Raju was beaten by Chawla and caught in front. The next bowling change worked for UP: in the next over Raina found Akhil to be a bit complacent, and got an edge to an attempted cut. He missed 150 by 15 runs, and Karnataka were still 28 short of 500. Some more frustration awaited UP, though, as R Vinay Kumar and NC Aiyappa hit their way to a 39-run partnership. They hit three boundaries each before the second new ball claimed Aiyappa. While Tanmay Srivastava made a positive start to the innings, picking Vinay Kumar off his legs for a first-ball four, Shivakant Shukla's horror match continued. He had dropped two catches yesterday, and took ages to get going with the bat today. After he took 26 balls to get off the mark, he faced four more balls before top-edging a hook to give Aiyappa an easy return catch for his 100th first-class wicket. Raina, the new man, was troubled in the beginning by Raju's offbreaks, and survived a stumping when the third-umpire ruled in his favour while his foot was on the line. He was on 3 then, and hit two beautiful boundaries, one to the last ball of the day.

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ROUND VI, DAY 3 Ranji Trophy Super League, 6th round, 3rd day Orissa vs Mumbai, Day 3 at Cuttack Mumbai 180 (Samant 46, B Mohanty 5-50, DS Mohanty 3-28) and 361 for 5 dec (Rahane 201, Jaffer 66, Kukreja 53) beat Orissa 108 (H Das 62*, Kulkarni 5-27, Waingankar 2-10) and 118 (Jayachandra 72, Shaikh 3-30) by 315 runs Scorecard Mumbai secure quarter-final spot Mumbai also secured their spot in the final eight with a thumping 315-run win over Orissa at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack. Ajinkya Rahane scored a career-best 201 at a brisk pace - 244 balls - to set Orissa a daunting target of 434. The hosts crumbled for 118 - ten more than their first-innings effort. Mumbai were leading by 205 overnight, and more than doubled that lead in 52.5 overs on the third day. Opener Sahil Kukreja fell on his overnight score of 53, and Rohit Sharma was out for 22, but Rahane found a partner in captain Wasim Jaffer. The duo have been involved in a few big partnerships previously, and they added 173 before Jaffer fell for 66. The declaration came soon, when Rahane was dismissed. For Orissa, two top-order batsmen, Bikas Pati and Shiv Sunder Das, did not bat - Das was injured on the first day. Stand-in opener Pinninti Jayachandra made 72, but there was not much from the rest as they were bowled out in 33.1overs - the final three wickets fell without a run being added. Another POV Mumbai magic : Mumbai win big after Rahane’s double century Bharat Sundaresan Posted: Dec 15, 2008 at 0026 hrs IST Cuttack: The writing was on the wall for Orissa by the time Mumbai set them an improbable target of 434 to chase, and Ajinkya Rahane notched up his maiden double-century. And the visitors’ experienced bowling attack ensured that the ink dried quickly, as they polished off the hosts for 118 for a mammoth 315-run victory at the Barabati Stadium under fading light on Sunday. Apart from a difficult caught and bowled opportunity on 110, which was grassed by Sukanta Khatua, Rahane’s knock was chanceless. The 20-year-old right-handed batsman, who now tops the batting charts for runs in the Ranji Super League this season with 762, smashed the Orissa bowlers all over on way to a sublime 201 in just 249 balls, which included 24 hits to the fence. There was also a huge six off left-arm spinner Dhiraj Singh, which sent the viewers in the make-shift press box running for cover. Rahane lost overnight partner Sahil Kukreja early, as the opener was trapped by Debashish Mohanty for 53. This brought in Rohit Sharma, who started off with two cracking boundaries off Mohanty. But it was short-lived, as Sharma edged a ball from Basant Mohanty to ’keeper Halhadar Das for 20. Captain Wasim Jaffer then joined Rahane, who quickly reached his fourth century of the season. The pair raised the tempo of the innings, notching up yet another century stand between them. After Jaffer threw his wicket away, Rahane scrambled home for a quick single, and brought up the 200-run landmark. Orissa started off on the wrong foot yet again, as opener Bikas Pati was ruled out with a dislocated shoulder. P Jayachandra proved to be the only real high-point for the hosts, as he made an aggressive 72. Sheikh was the pick of the bowlers in the second innings as he finished with 3-30, while Chavan had figures of 2-19 in his 11 overs. Baroda vs Tamil Nadu, Day 3 at Vadodara Tamil Nadu 117 (Amarnath 5-24, Argal 3-39) and 402 (Karthik 123, Prasanna 92, Argal 4-59) beat Baroda 166 (YK Pathan 35, Amarnath 5-60) and 94 (Gaekwad 37*, Balaji 5-47, Ganapathy 4-47) by 259 runs Scorecard Tamil Nadu secure quarter-final spots Cricinfo staff December 14, 2008 218491.jpgL Balaji's five-wicket haul wrapped up an easy win for Tamil Nadu in Vadodara © AFP A 259-run win at the Moti Bagh Stadium, and the five points from it, helped Tamil Nadu book their spot in the quarter-finals. Baroda's bowlers came back strongly after leaking 301 runs in 73 overs on the second day, but Tamil Nadu's medium-pacers were even better, bundling out the opposition in 24.5 overs to set up victory with a day to spare. Tamil Nadu started with a 252-run lead, but they lost seven wickets for 101on the third day. The overnight pair of Dinesh Karthik and S Vidyut extended their partnership to 77 before falling in quick succession. Suresh Kumar and R Ashwin then added 41 for the sixth wicket but medium-pacer Ajitesh Argal and left-arm spinner Swapnil Singh took the last five wickets for 19 runs. Set a target of 354, Baroda were rarely in the hunt as Tamil Nadu's medium-pacers maintained a testing off-stump line. P Amarnath, who took five in the first innings, dismissed Connor Williams for 3, and in the next over L Balaji made it 14 for 3. Azharuddin Bilakhia and Shatrunjay Gaekwad were the only pair to offer some resistance. Balaji removed Bilakhia after a 25 that included six boundaries, and C Ganapathy snuffed out chances of a fightback with three wickets in four balls. Ganpathy finished with four, and Balaji took two in the 25th over to complete his 15th first-class five-for. Gaekwad was not out on 37, while Karthik, the Tamil Nadu wicketkeeper and captain, claimed five catches in the innings to follow up his century. Another POV TN steamrolls Baroda BARODA: Tamil Nadu’s pace attack rose to the challenge for the second time in three days; this time steamrolling Baroda in the second innings for a resounding 259-run victory in their four-day Ranji Trophy Elite Group B fifth round match. Laxmipathy Balaji (five for 47) and Palani Amarnath (one for 23) kept the home batsmen guessing around the off-stump, while Chandrasekhar Ganapathy (four for 24) dealt the knockout blows to dismiss Baroda for 94 after tea on day three. Dinesh Karthik’s ruthless 123 earlier on the same Motibaug wicket, spread over two days, had stretched the visitor’s total to 402 in the second essay, a lead of 353. The Tamil Nadu captain’s responsible batting was, however, lost on Yusuf Pathan, the Baroda vice-captain. Walking in at 50 for four and more than a day’s play remaining, Yusuf launched into the bowling as if cornered. Balaji could have nailed him on zero when a lofted drive arched towards R. Ashwin at mid-on. But the fielder fumbled. Pathan’s reckless 17-ball stint ended when C. Suresh held him at deep fine leg off Ganapathy. Balaji and Amarnath startled the Baroda openers with pace and lift, while Ganapathy moved the ball enough to keep ’keeper Karthik and the slip fielders busy. For Baroda, except Azhar Bilakhia, the others appeared clueless. Bilakhia lashed six boundaries in a stroke-filled 25 from 24 balls. Youngsters Argal (four for 59) and Swapnil Singh (two for 60) kept their side in the hunt, only for the experienced batsmen to give it away. TN increased its tally to 20 after five games, Baroda remains on nine. Saurashtra vs Delhi, Day 3 at Rajkot Saurashtra 241 and 46 for 2 (Narwal 2-19) trail Delhi 384 (Dhawan 93, Kohli 69, Chopra 58, Nanda 47) by 97 runs Scorecard A desperate Delhi will begin the final day in Rajkot hoping to take the remaining eight wickets in Saurashtra's second innings as quickly, and cheaply, as possible. Delhi have three points assured from this game after they gained the first-innings lead, but a win will give them two more points - three if they win by an innings or ten wickets - and deny Saurashtra, another quarter-final contender from Group A, the one point they stand to earn from a draw. At 215 for 2, Delhi needed only 27 to overhaul Saurashtra's first-innings score, and their overnight batsmen - Shikhar Dhawan and Mithun Manhas - secured the lead. However, Dhawan (93) and Manhas (32) fell with the score on 255. Two more wickets down for 18 runs, and Delhi were in trouble of being bundled with not much of a lead. Allrounder Rajat Bhatia made 36 to push to score past 300 along with Chetanya Nanda, who stayed till the end to take Delhi to 384. Nanda made 47 off 115 balls, putting on 58 for the ninth wicket with Pradeep Sangwan, who scored 35 off 39. Saurashtra crawled to 46 in 25 overs before stumps. Sumit Narwal removed both openers - Chirag Pathak falling lbw after playing across the line while Bhushan Chauhan was caught behind. The onus will be on Cheteshwar Pujara, their leading batsman this season, and the experienced Shitanshu Kotak to bat out for a draw. Another POV Delhi’s day of reckoning 15_12_2008_022_008_010.jpg AFTER THE lull, the storm. Delhi's Ranji Trophy season has, so far, been a sorry tale of missed opportunities and conceded advantages. A series of deflating draws had left them with the rather difficult task of coming here and beating a Saurashtra side that has steadily moved from mere pretenders to the crown to genuine contenders. After the third day, however, it were the men from the Capital who were in pole position to wrap up the game and go into the last game with five, possibly six, priceless points from Rajkot. When play ended on Sunday, Saurashtra, having given away a 143run lead, were 46/2 in their second innings. Shitanshu Kotak (14) and Cheteshwar Pujara (7) were in the middle. Delhi were bowled out for 384 in their first innings. The thought of Sitanshu Kotak’s dead bat and Cheteshwar Pujara playing with a full face can give nightmares to bowlers. Saurashtra would require the two to combine well in the middle as they look to claim a solitary point for a way into the quarter-finals. Delhi need an outright win, and a classic final day awaits the two teams on Monday — with Delhi still 97 runs ahead after Saurashtra ended Day Three at 46/2. It will be a fascinating contest of stubbornness with the bat and variety from the bowler’s hand. There were quite a few shots that missed the outside edge on Sunday, a couple of chances that fell short, as well as a dropped catch. Wicketkeeper Bisht dropped a skier off the second ball of the Saurashtra second innings, but Sumit Narhwal did snare Chirag Pathak leg before not long after as the hosts lost their first wicket for four runs in reply to Delhi’s score of 384. Bisht made amends when he dived low on his leg-side to send back Bhushan Chauhan as Narhwal stuck again and Delhi ended the day on a strong note. Shaky start The visitors, though, didn’t have the ideal start. Delhi took the lead at the end of the eighth over, but Shikhar Dhawan could add just ten more to his overnight score before edging to wicketkeeper Sagar Jogiyani, who enjoyed being part of four dismissals. Striving to score big and briskly against the hard second new ball, Delhi were suffocated with the defensive field settings. Mithun Manhas, Yogesh Nagar and Punit Bisht were all back in the dressing room well before the first session concluded, left-arm seamer Balakrishna Jadeja slanting across the right-handers to grab two. Needless run-out Rajat Bhatia was needlessly run-out after three majestic boundaries and a six in his knock of 36, but the lower order lent a helping hand. Pradeep Sangwan hit a few lusty shots in a quickfire 35 from 39 deliveries while Chetnya Nanda played a responsible and effective innings of 47 before being the last man out as the teams took tea 18 minutes before schedule. The leg-spinner looked completely unhappy with his decision and got docked 50 per cent of his match fee. But more than his antics, the team management would be worried over his bowling form. Rajat Bhatia, meanwhile, is due to attend a hearing on Monday morning for getting into an altercation with Kotak in the final session of play. Sangwan has been largely under-utilised this season after a drastic dip in fortunes and his natural inswing, but Delhi’s depleting bowling stock would now put too much burden on their premier fast bowlers Parvinder Awana and Narhwal. Hyderabad vs Punjab, Day 3 at Hyderabad Hyderabad 335 and 68 for 2 (Pai 31*) lead Punjab 291 (Kaul 106, Goel 44, Sidhana 41, MP Arjun 3-54, Ashwin Yadav 3-68, Shanker 3-76) by 112 runs Scorecard Hyderabad are likely to bag three points from their match against Punjab at home. They took the first-innings lead at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, and the match is set to finish as a draw unless something dramatic happens on the final day. Punjab, though, did run Hyderabad close for the first-innings points. Wicketkeeper Uday Kaul scored a century, adding 89 runs for the sixth wicket with Mayank Sidhana, the other overnight batsman. But Sidhana's wicket triggered a mini-collapse; MP Arjun struck twice to reduce Punjab to 241 for 9, still 94 short of Hyderabad's total. Kaul, though, got support from Amanpreet Singh. He made 15, but the 50-run stand was not enough for them to take the lead. Hyderabad lost two wickets early in their second innings, but recovered to close the day leading by 112. Another POV Hyderabad takes first innings lead Principal Correspondent 2008121559151801.jpgGOOD KNOCK: Uday Kaul’s brilliant century proved insufficient for Punjab to prevent Hyderabad from taking the first innings lead on Sunday. HYDERABAD: Punjab’s Uday Kaul scored a brilliant century but his effort was not good enough to prevent Hyderabad from taking a vital first innings lead on the third day of the four-day Ranji Trophy Elite Group ‘A’ match at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium (Uppal) here on Sunday. The 21-year-old, left-handed Kaul (106, 376 minutes, 279 balls, 8x4) was confidence personified in scoring his fourth Ranji hundred. In the company of the compact debutant Mayank Siddana (41, 162 minutes, 108 balls, 3x4), he put on 86 runs. Fast bowler M.P. Arjun sent back Siddana in the first over after the break. The hard working fast bowler Ashwin Yadav then forced Manpreet Gony to drag one on to his stumps. In the next over, Arjun could have dismissed Kaul (then on 71) but Amol Shinde missed a simple catch in the slip cordon. Kaul then in the company of Amanpreet Singh put on 50 for the last wicket to take the score to 291. Strangely, D.B. Ravi Teja (as stand in captain for the injured N. Arjun Yadav), did not give even a single over to off-spinner Ahmed Quadri on Sunday. Even though the lead issue was decided, Punjab fast bowlers Gony and Amanpreet Singh bowled their heart out to trouble the openers T. Suman and Ravi Teja. Maharashtra vs Railways, Day 3 at Ratnagiri Maharashtra 244 and 34 for 0 (Khadiwale 20*) need another 269 runs to beat Railways 212 and 334 for 6 dec (Goud 89, Sanyal 82, Kartik 56) Scorecard The battle between Railways and Maharashtra is set for an intriguing finish. Railways, who need a win to boost their chances of progressing, set Maharashtra a challenging 303 to win. In reply, Maharashtra's openers were off to a steady start, putting on 34 in their eight overs. Railways' openers began the day with a 16-run lead in Ratnagiri - they had wiped out the first-innings deficit the previous evening - but both fell early. Mun Mangela struck twice to reduce the visitors for 59 for 3. However, as in the first innings, Yere Goud and Sanjib Sanyal rescued their side. They had scores in the 70s then, and this time both moved on to the 80s but failed to go beyond. The two batted 47.1 overs for their 141-run stand. As in the first innings, Sanyal was the first to fall, and Goud the sixth man out. Left-arm spinner Murali Kartik came up the order and boosted the run-rate with ten fours in his 49-ball 56. There was a quick cameo from Deepak Yadav before Railways declared at 334 for 6. Another POV Railways set Maharashtra 303 target Ratnagiri: Set to score 303 to win their Ranji Trophy Elite Division Group B tie against Railways, Maharashtra made 34 without losing a wicket at close on the third day of the four-day match here on Sunday. Railways declared their second innings closed at 334 for six after resuming at their overnight 48 for no loss to leave the home team bat for eight overs before stumps. The visitors lost openers Sanjay Bangar and V Cheluvaraj soon after resumption of play on Sunday morning as well as the wicket of Harshad Rawle for a duck to totter at 59 for three. Yere Gaud (89) and Sanjib Sanyal (82 with 12 fours) steadied the innings with a stand of 141 runs for the fourth wicket. After the fall of Sanyal, who batted for three hours, Gaud, who occupied the crease for nearly five hours and hit nine fours, put on a rollicking 97-run stand with Murali Kartik, who made a breezy 49-ball 56 with ten fours, in 18.3 overs. The fifth wicket stand between Gaud and Kartik enabled Railways to apply the declaration before stumps, but their aim to get an early wicket or two of Maharashtra did not bear fruit as openers Harshad Khadiwale (20) and Rohan Bhosale (9) remained unbeaten. Railways, who conceded a narrow 32-run lead to the hosts, have ten points to their credit and need at least an outright victory to keep their chances of entering the knock-out rounds alive, while Maharashtra, with only four points so far, are aiming to deny them the victory. Gujarat vs Rajasthan, Day 3 at Jaipur Gujarat 227 (Thaker 52, NK Patel 51, Aslam 4-22) and 99 for 3 (Panchal 44) beat Rajasthan 136 (Saxena 39, Singh 4-31) and 186 (Chanwaria 88, Singh 7-31) by seven wickets Scorecard Gujarat have almost firmed their place in the quarter-finals, and will be assured of a top-three finish from Group A if Delhi fail to win by an innings or ten wickets on Monday. Rajasthan began in Jaipur with a slender lead of 57 with three wickets left in the second innings, and Gujarat medium-pacer Amit Singh scalped all three to finish with figures of 7 for 31, his first five-wicket haul in first-class games. It also completed his maiden ten-wicket haul - he had taken 4 for 31 in the first innings. Singh's 7 for 31 is the third-best figures for a Gujarat bowler; Jasubhai Patel had two eight-wicket hauls during his career. For Rajasthan, debutant Vinod Chanawaria was the last man out, falling 12 short of his maiden first-class ton. A ten-wicket win would have given Gujarat a bonus point and a spot in the quarter-finals, but Sumit Mathur removed Nilesh Modi early. He took the second wicket as well, but Gujarat were already 80 chasing 96, a target they achieved with seven wickets and a day to spare. Another POV Gujarat humiliate Rajasthan by 7 wickets Jaipur: A fine bowling spell by lanky medium pacer Amit Singh (7-31) helped Gujarat humiliate Rajasthan by seven wickets on the third day of the Ranji Super League match at KL Saini stadium at Mansarovar on Sunday. The visitors shot out Rajasthan for 186 in the home team second innings before notching up the victory target of 95 runs in just 34.3 overs to complete a comprehensive victory in less than three days. Gujarat bagged five points from this win to take their tally to 23 and are now assured of a quarterfinal berth. On the other hand, Rajasthan were relegated from the elite group with just two points from six matches. Gujarat lost Nilesh Modi early in the run chase for five but Priyanka Panchal (44) and Neeraj Patel (31) propelled the visitors towards victory by stroking freely against Rajasthan medium pacers who failed to exploit the conditions. Soon after lunch, the Gujarat duo fell in quick succession but Sunny Patel (8) and Digant Popat (8) remained unbeaten to guide their team to 99 for 3 to set up the win. Earlier, Rajasthan who had conceded a first innings lead of 91 runs, resumed their second innings at their overnight score of 148 for seven. Vinod Chanwaria, who was unbeaten on 79 overnight, continued to thwart Gujarat bowlers but Pankaj Singh (28) fell after resisting for 36 minutes. Shailendra Gehlot (0) could survive only two balls. With only last man Aslam left at the other end, Chanwaria tried to go for his shots and reach the elusive hundred on debut but was caught by Nilesh Modi for 88 off Amit Singh. Chanwaria needed 182 balls for his 88 and hit 13 fours and a six. Karnataka vs UP, Day 3 at Bangalore Uttar Pradesh 295 for 2 (Srivastava 154*, Kaif 103*) trail Karnataka 511 by 216 runs Scorecard Srivastava and Kaif keep UP in the hunt Sidharth Monga at the Chinnaswamy Stadium December 14, 2008 322370.jpgTanmay Srivastava's fluent unbeaten century gave UP a chance of getting the first-innings lead© Nishant Ratnakar/ Bangalore Mirror Tanmay Srivastava and Mohammad Kaif played in their last league match of the season just as they did in their first. Srivastava scored a fluent century, Kaif's effort was more circumspect, and between them they put on an unbeaten 242-run stand. Uttar Pradesh lost only Suresh Raina on the day, moving towards Karnataka's 511 in what has essentially become a first-innings match. In the first match, against Andhra, the two had added 285 to get UP a first-innings lead. Here they batted together for 349 minutes, and ended the third day 217 short of a first-innings lead that will enhance their chances of making the quarter-finals. The pair were brought together by the dismissal of Raina who looked uncomfortable against the short stuff. He fended NC Aiyappa on a few occasions but finally got going with a trademark cover drive. The next ball, another bouncer was, however, top-edged to Sunil Raju at fine leg. UP had added nine to their overnight 44 for 1 by then. UP arrived needing an outright win to be safe, but could have been in danger of collapse. The good thing was, however, that two of their most reliable batsmen were out in the middle, on a pitch for which you could take along camping material when going in to bat. Srivastava had progressed almost unnoticed to 29 yesterday, and continued in similar fashion today. Kaif was not as comfortable to begin with, inside-edging R Vinay Kumar past Thilak Naidu early. In Vinay Kumar's next over he took a blow on the body, before pulling out an exquisite punch-drive straight down the ground. Kaif continued in his careful way while Srivastava kept capitalising on error. The partnership began slowly, reflecting Kaif's cautious start. In the first 17.3 overs, the two added only 27, Kaif scoring 12 off 59. After the first drinks break, though, having sized up the pitch, the batsmen started scoring more freely. Kaif cover-drove Aiyappa, Srivastava square-cut Sunil Joshi to reach his half century, and followed it up with two boundaries in the next over. Vinay Kumar, brought in for a spell just before lunch, managed to trouble Kaif again, the only period of contest between bat and ball through the day. He beat Kaif with one that held its line in the first over, got an outside edge that avoided the slips in his next, and then beat him with a straighter delivery again. From the other end, though, Srivastava took Sunil Raju for three lovely cover-driven boundaries. He hit one between mid-off and extra cover, the next to the right of cover, and another stepping down and hitting inside out. The two had added 91 by lunch, 31 of those scored by Kaif. Resuming on 92, Srivastava got a streaky outside edge to move to 99, and then took a single to just wide of mid-off to reach his third first-class century. The century gift was four overthrows. Post-lunch, Kaif looked more positive, while also blunting the bowling. Joshi bowled one over of instant replays: the ball always full, Kaif always getting his front foot down to the pitch of the ball, defending it straight back, the ball stopping just by Joshi. 250197.jpgMohammad Kaif's circumspect hundred frustrated Karnataka © AFP Karnataka's fields were confoundingly defensive for a team who had made 511 and a run-rate of less than three suggested as much. Srivastava played most of his innings with a deep point in place, and singles were readily available for him. Kaif would go back into his defensive mode, before suddenly stepping out and hitting the spinners over the in-field. The immediate response to such hits was sending a fielder back, and then Kaif would go back to picking up his singles. By tea, Karnataka were a tired lot, having tried seven bowlers without much success. The partnership had reached 173 in 66.3 overs. Srivastava had slowed down a bit to reach 125, and Kaif had sped up a bit to reach 70, off 214 deliveries. Post-tea Kaif gave Karnataka their last chance of the day. He stepped out to hit C Raghu, but failed to connect well enough and hit it just wide of mid-off. Ganesh Satish, substituting for Uthappa, dropped the catch. After that Kaif stepped up another gear, moving from 88 to 100 with three boundaries: a pull, a leg glance, and a perfectly-placed cover-drive. One of the UP fans in the crowd chose to make his presence in the ground felt then, fully clothed thankfully, and came and shook both batsmen's hands and ran away peacefully. Srivastava reached the last milestone of the day, converting his second century of the season into a second 150. Although they were still short of taking three points by some way, they got some good news from elsewhere. Baroda, one of their competitors for the quarter-final spot, lost outright to Tamil Nadu and were almost knocked out of the reckoning. UP, though, have a brittle middle-order and will need more from Kaif and Srivastava to take three points from here.

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ROUND VI, DAY 4 Ranji Trophy Super League, 6th round, 4th day Orissa vs Mumbai, Day 3 at Cuttack Mumbai 180 (Samant 46, B Mohanty 5-50, DS Mohanty 3-28) and 361 for 5 dec (Rahane 201, Jaffer 66, Kukreja 53) beat Orissa 108 (H Das 62*, Kulkarni 5-27, Waingankar 2-10) and 118 (Jayachandra 72, Shaikh 3-30) by 315 runs Scorecard Baroda vs Tamil Nadu, Day 3 at Vadodara Tamil Nadu 117 (Amarnath 5-24, Argal 3-39) and 402 (Karthik 123, Prasanna 92, Argal 4-59) beat Baroda 166 (YK Pathan 35, Amarnath 5-60) and 94 (Gaekwad 37*, Balaji 5-47, Ganapathy 4-47) by 259 runs Scorecard Saurashtra vs Delhi, Day 4 at Rajkot Delhi 384 (Dhawan 93, Kohli 69, Chopra 58, Nanda 47) and 132 for 0 (Dhawan 84*, Chopra 42*) beat Saurashtra 241 (Chauhan 61, Jadeja 56, Awana 5-60) and 274 (Jadeja 143, Awana 5-77) by ten wickets Scorecard Delhi stay alive with resounding win Cricinfo staff December 15, 2008 Delhi have bounced back the way champions are expected to. A win was what last year's winners sorely needed to keep their title defence alive, and they battled hard to beat hosts Saurashtra at the Madhavrao Scindia Cricket Ground. 339356.jpgShikhar Dhawan's quickfire 84 guided Delhi to a resounding ten-wicket win Saurashtra began the final day with two second-innings wickets down, trailing Delhi by 97 runs. They would have been confident of their chances, with Cheteshwar Pujara, who's scored heavily in Rajkot this season, and the experienced Shitanshu Kotak resuming the innings. However, Delhi found a hero in Parvinder Awana, who picked the right day to complete his maiden first-class ten-wicket match haul. Awana, who took a maiden five-for in the first innings, gave his team the upper hand by dismissing Kotak and Pujara in successive overs. Left-arm seamer Pradeep Sangwan soon made it 86 for 5 when he snared Jaydev Shah, the Saurashtra captain; Delhi were still 57 runs in the lead. Allrounder Ravindra Jadeja had a double-century in an earlier game, and under pressure he came up with a brisk 166-ball 143. He took charge of the innings, adding vital partnerships with Sagar Jogiyani (26) and Rakesh Dhurv (17). At 212 for 6, a lead of 69 and 40-odd overs completed, Saurashtra weren't safe yet. Jadeja needed support at the other end, but Awana once again did his two-in-two trick: Dhurv and Kamlesh Makvana were removed in consecutive overs. Running out of partners, Jadeja needed to score as many runs as possible. Saurashtra's final two pairs put on 56, with the two tailenders contributing only three. Jadeja was last man out, caught-and-bowled to Awana, setting Delhi 132 to win. With 27 overs to reach the target, it was Shikhar Dhawan, the top scorer in their first innings, who gave the Delhi innings the much-needed impetus. He smashed 84 off 68 balls, with eight fours and two sixes, and more importantly, stayed unbeaten. Aakash Chopra - who made 42 off 64 - stayed with Dhawan to help Delhi gain a vital bonus point by virtue of a ten-wicket win. Delhi, now fourth in the standings, will play their final league game against Rajasthan, who have already been relegated to the Plate League, while Saurashtra, who have a one-point edge in third place, host Hyderabad. Second-placed Gujarat could be upstaged if results don't go in their favour, but they will start the final round as favourites to reach the quarter-finals. Another POV Delhi smile, finally : Thumps Saurashtra by 10 wickets 16_12_2008_021_003_014.jpg THEY HUFFED and they puffed, but once Delhi finally kicked the door open, they took over Saurashtra’s bastion in style. Though it has taken them some time and a lot of effort, the champions are right back in the race for the quarterfinals after a 10-wicket crushing of Saurashtra. It was difficult to pick one as the stand-out performer — Parvinder Awana, Ravindra Jadeja or Shikhar Dhawan. Awana’s five-wicket haul uprooted the Saurashtra middle-order on Monday, Jadeja’s counter-attacking 143 from 166 balls gave a bit of hope to the hosts, and Shikhar Dhawan’s outrageous hitting helped hunt down the 4.8 runs-an-over target of 132 with ridiculous ease, extending Delhi’s defending champions tag at least until the last league match. Together, the trio staged an entertaining final day’s play as Delhi also took a bonus point with their 10-wicket victory. Having bowled the hosts out for 274 in their 2nd innings, Delhi needed 132 off 27 overs for a win. Delhi openers Aakash Chopra and Shikhar Dhawan wasted little time in getting to work, bludgeoning the Saurashtra attack to overhaul the target in just 21 overs. Dhawan, in particular, looked back to his best, smashing his way to 84 n.o. off just 62 balls. Dhawan seemed to develop a special liking for Balakrishna Jadeja’s steady left-arm seam, carting him for big sixes and four boundaries in a three-over opening spell that cost 34 runs. Jolted by the sheer audacity of the Delhi run chase — they raised 77 in the first 10 overs — Saurashtra contributed to Dhawan’s 29-ball half-century with needless overthrows, full tosses and short-pitched deliveries. The skipper-deputy duo became cautious towards the end, but when the opening pair had walked out in the fourth innings, they had little options but to go for the offensive with 27 overs left in the match. Meanwhile, Dhawan signalled his intent right from the start, smashing Balkrishna Jadeja for a couple of cracking fours — over mid-on and third man — and then followed it up with a massive six. Saurashtra should have removed Dhawan in his first over had Chirag Pathak held on to a simple chance at square-leg. But he didn’t, and Dhawan made him pay Dhawan tore . into the bowling with aplomb. With Chopra playing the perfect foil to Dhawan’s carnage, Delhi moved to the target and, more pertinently back in contention. Jadeja leads fightback Ravindra Jadeja had opted for that attitude earlier in the afternoon. The left-hander arrived in the middle of a superlative spell from Awana with the old ball. With Saurashtra five down, Jadeja led the fightback, hitting anything banged short or wide, picking up maximum runs on the off-side with his delectable backfoot play as he put on 87 runs with Sagar Jogiyani. Jadeja scored his second century of the season in just 110 balls even as Awana returned for his second spell to bag two more wickets. Once Yogesh Nagar got rid of Jobanputra with Saurashtra at 253/9, Jadeja quickly switched gears, killing time and holding strike. Delhi finally took the second new ball after 85.4 overs and Awana got his second consecutive five-wicket haul when he took a soft return catch to end Jadeja’s defiance and allow his batsmen to go for the kill. Delhi now need to win their last league match, and hope that Saurashtra, one point ahead of them in the points tally with 18, don’t get an equal five in their game against Hyderabad. Hyderabad vs Punjab, Day 4 at Hyderabad Punjab 291 (Kaul 106, Goel 44, Sidhana 41) and 211 for 1 (Inder Singh 112*, Sohal 91) beat Hyderabad 335 (Suman 131, Quadri 80, Shine 57, Ladda 4-72) and 164 (Pai 50, Ladda 5-39) by nine wickets Scorecard If Delhi kept their hopes alive, so did Punjab. They will, however, need a lot of luck if they are to qualify in the top three from Group A. Punjab took Hyderabad's remaining eight second-innings wickets in 46.2 overs on the final day at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, and a unbroken 197-run second-wicket stand saw them reach their target in 36.2. Hyderabad started the day leading by 112, and their overnight pair of Anoop Pai and Amol Shinde extended it to 155. Legspinner Sarabjit Ladda, though, triggered a collapse. Shinde was caught by Ravi Inder Singh for 43, and Abhinav Kumar was dismissed in the same manner nine runs later. Pai was bowled by Ladda on 50, and the wickets of Syed Quadri and Arjun Yadav saw the bowler complete his maiden five-for. MP Arjun resisted with his 25, before left-arm spinner Varun Khanna closed the innings with two wickets in two balls. Chasing 209, Punjab lost opener Karan Goel early, but Inder Singh and Sohal's scores 112 and 91 were enough to seal the deal. Punjab now have 12 points from six games, and will need to win with a bonus point against Mumbai - already in the quarter-final - and pray that Saurashtra lose and Delhi are kept to one point in the final round of matches. Another POV Punjab stuns Hyderabad by nine wickets win Principal Correspondent 2008121654211601.jpgCELEBRATION TIME: Punjab’s Sunny Sohal and Ravi Inder Singh are cheered by their mates after the win over host Hyderabad on Monday.. HYDERABAD: Punjab fought back to record a nine-wicket victory over Hyderabad thanks to an impressive spell by leg-spinner Sarabjit Singh (five for 39) and then a brilliant century by Ravi Inder Singh (112 n.o., 109b, 12x4) in the Ranji Trophy super league Group ‘A’ match at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Monday. It was a pathetic batting display by Hyderabad against quality bowling by Sarabjit. He started the slide in the morning by removing Amol Shinde (43, 111, 4x4) with a typical leg-spinner’s dismissal — the ball spinning away to take the edge even as the batsman leaned forward to be caught at slip. Big blow Then, Sarabjit struck another big blow by cleaning up the well-set southpaw Anoop Pai (50, 143b, 5x4) with a beauty of a top-spinner which had the batsman clueless. The two decisive blows soon saw Hyderabad being bundled out for 164 in the 10th over after the lunch break. Abhinav Kumar, Ahmed Quadri and captain N. Arjun Yadav paid dearly for their adventurism. Punjab needed 209 runs from 41 possible overs. And, the chase was on from the beginning as opener Sunny Sohal (91 n.o., 100b, 8x4) came up with some pleasing drives on either side of the wicket. Fast bowler S. M. Shoaib trapped Karan Goel leg-before in the third over . But it soon became a grand show by Ravi Inder who thrived on the largesse of Shinde at slip. The latter dropped him in fast bowler Ashwin Yadav’s first over with the batsman on 19. But, soon the gritty left-hander treated the bowling on merit and never missed punishing the erring bowlers to score his third Ranji century in his second season. . Punjab now has 12 points from six matches while, Hyderabad has 10 from similar number of games with one more round to go. Maharashtra vs Railways, Day 4 at Ratnagiri Railways 212 (Goud 75, Sanyal 70, Fallah 5-49) and 334 for 6 dec (Goud 89, Sanyal 82, Kartik 56) drew with Maharashtra 244 (Shrikhande 113, Sanyal 4-26) and 251 for 5 (Jadhav 114*, Bawne 52) Scorecard An unbeaten century from Kedar Jadhav ensured Maharashtra earned three vital points in their bid to avoid relegation to the Plate League. The draw now leaves Railways needing a win against Group B leaders Tamil Nadu to qualify for the quarter-finals. If Railways win by an innings or ten wickets, they will gain a bonus point and move ahead of Uttar Pradesh, who are currently in second place but have completed their league games. Just a win will leave them hoping that Maharashtra take the first-innings lead or score a victory over Karnataka in their last game. Maharashtra, resuming the day on 34 for 0, needed 269 more on the final day to win. But they chose caution over glory, not risking the three points (for the first-innings lead) already in the bag: a loss would have seen them get none. Openers Harshad Khadiwale and Rohan Bhosale doubled the overnight score before Khadiwale was bowled by Anureet Singh. Ameya Shrikhande, whose first-innings ton had given his team the advantage, was quickly dismissed for 13, but Jadhav and Ankit Bawne frustrated Railways. The two put on 143, but more significantly their stand lasted 55.5 overs. Bawne was trapped leg-before by Sanjay Bangar, the Railways captain. Nikhil Paradkar then played out 25 deliveries for his 1, and Rohit Motwani 16 for his 1 not out as Jadhav remained steady at the other end. Maharashtra scored 24 runs in 15 overs after Bawne fell. Jadhav finished on 114 off 252 balls, with 15 fours and a six. Another POV Maharashtra draw with Rlys to earn 3 points Ratnagiri: Kedar Chavan's unbeaten century helped Maharashtra stave off Railways' bid for outright victory in their Ranji Trophy Elite Division Group B match at the Chatrapati Shivaji Stadium, here on Monday. Chavan was at the crease for 340 minutes for his unbeaten 114 that included 15 fours and a six. And it was match-saving fourth-wicket partnership of 143 runs with Ankit Bawne (52 in 242 minutes) that ensured three points for the hosts who had taken a 32-run lead over Railways. At stumps on the final day on Monday, Maharashtra were 252 for five with Chavan, who faced 252 balls, and Rohit Motwani (1) at the crease. Earlier, the visitors fancied their hopes of turning the match around capturing the top three Maharashtra wickets with only 84 on board after the home team resumed their second innings at the overnight score of 34 without loss chasing 303 for victory. But Chavan and Bawne, who struck only three fours in his 165-ball knock, stalled their progress. The draw helped Maharashtra boost their tally to seven points with one match in hand in the seven-match group while Railways stayed fourth with eleven points from five ties. Railways take on pool leaders Tamil Nadu in the last league tie at Chennai from December 18 and Maharashtra travel to Bangalore to face Karnataka in their final league engagement. Gujarat vs Rajasthan, Day 3 at Jaipur Gujarat 227 (Thaker 52, NK Patel 51, Aslam 4-22) and 99 for 3 (Panchal 44) beat Rajasthan 136 (Saxena 39, Singh 4-31) and 186 (Chanwaria 88, Singh 7-31) by seven wickets Scorecard Karnataka vs UP, Day 4 at Bangalore Karnataka 511 (Akhil 135, Uthappa 65, Raghu 64, Chawla 3-141) drew with Uttar Pradesh 567 (Srivastava 159, Kaif 112, Chawla 96, Aiyappa 3-108) Scorecard Chawla takes UP closer to quarter-final spot Sidharth Monga at the Chinnaswamy Stadium December 15, 2008 372227.jpgPiyush Chawla's 96 handed UP a valuable three points© Nishant Ratnakar/ Bangalore Mirror While all about him were losing their heads, and their wickets, Piyush Chawla kept his, to score a crucial 96 and take Uttar Pradesh a step closer to the quarter-finals. Coming in just before lunch, with UP still 143 short of Karnataka's 511, he strung together a partnership with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, then saw two wickets fall to let Karnataka back in. UP were 55 behind when No. 10 Amir Khan came out but the two batted sensibly for the much-needed three points in this, their last league game. UP now have 17 points, three ahead of third-placed Karnataka and six ahead of Railways, who need a win with a bonus point in their last match - away to table-toppers Tamil Nadu - to deny UP a place in the last eight. While the good news for UP came from Ratnagiri, where Maharashtra denied Railways an outright win, it wouldn't have counted for much had their batsmen not delivered in Bangalore. If they do make it to the quarters, UP will owe a lot to Chawla, given that the middle and lower-middle order failed to build on the 247-run partnership between Tanmay Srivastava and Mohammad Kaif. Their early dismissals, without adding much to their overnight centuries, slowed down the scoring - UP managed nine runs in the first 45 minutes and lost both set batsmen - put the middle order under pressure. Parvinder Singh and Bhuvneshwar Kumar got a partnership going, with Parvinder the surer of the two. However, just before lunch Parvinder played with hard hands at one from Balachander Akhil that stopped a touch. While NC Aiyappa accounted for Srivastava, Akhil removed Kaif. Karnataka's tactics of drying up the runs looked to be working in the first session: 83 runs were scored in 35 overs for the loss of three wickets. But Chawla, though batting at No. 7, played as well as any batsman in this contest, and manipulated the field to keep picking up singles and twos, while hitting the odd shock boundary. Bhuvneshwar, who made a circumspect start - his high bat swing coming from point causing him troubles - didn't throw away the start either. Bhuvneshwar, who started off as a No. 10 batsman, has scored important 20s and 30s for UP this season, but is usually criticised for his slow batting and failure to make big scores. He insists he is better than that, and he got a special applause from his team-mates when he reached 50 at a time when they most needed it. The sixth-wicket partnership had added 60 runs in quick time, and Karnataka were looking short of inspiration when Vinay Kumar struck in the first over of his afternoon spell. He beat Bhuvneshwar's high back lift with an in-coming delivery, and started the big turnaround. Praveen came in, went for a big hit first ball, and holed out to mid-off. RP took guard to face the hat-trick ball, and not only did he survive, but calmed the UP nerves with a patient 30-run partnership with Chawla. Before madness struck again. Vinay Kumar was in the middle of an inspired spell - the third over before tea - when RP got a tickle down the leg side for four. Perhaps that gave him confidence, but the result was another catch - to midwicket this time. Vinay Kumar was rejuvenated, as were Karnataka, and Chawla stood helplessly at non-striker's end, on 49. Amir Khan, the wicketkeeper who started his career as an opener, but now bats in the tail, was just the man UP needed. Earlier in the season, he had scored an unbeaten 7 in close to two hours to save the match against Baroda. He came out with the same intent today. Every ball he defended was met with a huge cheer from the UP dressing room. At the other end, Chawla trusted his partner enough to not farm the strike, and backed his own ability enough to keep going for the boundaries as well. He hit Sunil Joshi for a straight six, smartly late-cut Sunil Raju for a four, and kept flicking the pace bowlers over midwicket for boundaries - he hit 12 in all. The pitch was still flat, the field was back on to the defensive, and all UP had to avoid was silliness and panic. None of that came through, as the batsmen were prepared to play out maiden overs before picking the right delivery to hit. Karnataka brought on offspinner Raju, the only bowler to have got any purchase from the wicket but had not been used all day, with 16 runs still required. The one moment of indiscretion came when Chawla stepped out to hit him over the top, but didn't connect properly. And the ball eluded Aiyappa running in from mid-off. Chawla put his head down again, only to release all the tension three overs later. With a six over mid-off, off Raju, Chawla took UP beyond 511 and his own score past his previous-best of 82. He celebrated it with a six off the next ball. He then late-cut the next ball for four to move into his 90s. Despite the match having entered the mandatory overs, UP decided to let him go on for a maiden century, but Karnataka spread the field and didn't let it come easy. Frustrated, he holed out off Uthappa, but UP decided to let Amir go for his half-century - he needed 20 then. Even Amir missed the landmark by three, but the two will know they did the best they could to get more shots at landmarks this season.

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The two stars of Round VI had to say these things about their performance: It is my best knock so far: Rahane Taus Rizvi Monday, December 15, 2008 03:32 IST MUMBAI: Ajinkya Rahane believes in keeping things simple. And this simplicity has only worked in favour of the 20-year-old who scored his career’s first double hundred on a difficult wicket against a Debashish Mohanty-led attack, helping Mumbai register their fourth outright win in the Group A of the Ranji Trophy Super League, beating Orissa on the penultimate day of the four day tie at the Barabati Stadium, Cuttack, on Sunday. The youngster, who was unbeaten on 75 overnight, slammed a classy 201 off 244 balls that saw Mumbai give Orissa a stiff target of 434, which was difficult for the hosts as they succumbed to Mumbai’s pace attack, led by the young Dhawal Kulkarni. Rahane had two century partnerships in his mammoth knock. First, the second wicket partnership of 145 runs with opener Sahil Kukreja followed by a 173-run stand with skipper Wasim Jaffer. Rahane described his double ton as a crucial. “It is one of the best knocks I have played in my career. This is my first double hundred and it couldn’t have come at a better time. It was crucial as we were all out for 180 in the first innings, and despite getting a 72-run lead we had to put up a good total in the second innings to press for a win,†Rahane told DNA from Cuttack. The youngster said he did not go for any extra and just kept things to the basics. “My plan was to keep it simple and play my natural game - on the merit of the ball and not go for rash shots. The patience paid off,†he added. Playing against the likes of experienced seamer Mohanty on a grassy wicket was an useful experience for Rahane. “I did not think who was bowling in the opposition. With the assistance from the wicket, they bowled well in the first innings. I learnt from my mistakes of the first innings and didn’t want to repeat them. My aim was just to stand there and give Mumbai upper hand,†he said. After Sunday’s knock, the Mumbai lad has become the leading run scorer in Ranji Trophy with 762 from six outings, however, he is modest to talk about it. “My job is not yet over. We have just played league and qualified for the quarterfinals and it will be important to score in the knockout stages, which is crucial,†he felt. Rahane says everything is going according to plans. “My aim is to play for India. I am going on the right track but my priority is to score runs in crucial matches,†said Rahane. Coach Pravin Amre too was impressed with the way Rahane has been shaping up. “Rahane was picked up for the India A team’s tour of Australia. He squandered the opportunity but came back strongly in the domestic circuit. He worked on his mental aspect and the approach. He is a talented player with the right technique and a good opening material for India. He has a bright future if he continues this,†Amre said. Awana keeps it simple G S Vivek Posted: Dec 16, 2008 at 2341 hrs IST Rajkot : Delhi pacer hopes his 10-wicket haul against Saurashtra will help further his career Parvinder Awana is simplicity personified in a complex cricketing world. The 22-year old prefers not to see the wicket before a match, allows his skipper to choose his bowling end and doesn’t think much when he’s bowling, except following one self-made rule — keep hitting a particular length. “When you look at the wicket, you tend to develop notions about it. I just like to bowl in a rhythm, with full force all the time and get wickets. Yes, I am a bit superstitious of bowling from the same end throughout a match because I feel cosy and comfortable on the same run-up,†he says, after bowling 43 overs — from the same end, both with the old and the new ball. Awana admits his match-winning effort in Delhi’s crucial away tie against Saurashtra could be his turning point. “This ten-wicket haul helped my team get out of a difficult situation and may get me into the North zone team. There have been two distinct landmarks in my cricketing career so far — I got into the team because of the speedster contest where I was a finalist, then my hat-trick helped me get another game last season. Hopefully, this performance against Saurashtra would take me further,†he says. Coming from a small village Harrolla near Noida, Awana admits he was anxious about his performance this time around. “I called up home and told them I was slightly tense, because I knew I was bowling well but not getting wickets. ‘Just bowl and leave the rest to God,’ they told me. I did just that,†he says. Awana picks Ravinder Jadeja’s dismissal as the best of the match. “It was my tenth and will remain special. He was playing really well and looked like walking away with the match, and I was edgy about getting my tenth. I almost thought I had missed it,†he admits. After a splendid performance in the semi-finals last year, Awana saw the final — and the initial matches this season — from the bench, but has no qualms about waiting for his turn. “Ishant is the first choice seamer, Nehra bhai is much senior and a class material. Sumit (Narhwal) also did well so I have had to wait for my turn. Honestly, I was a little surprised when I was called up to play the Hyderabad game in the morning but I guess it was a lucky break for me. From thereon, I had decided to bowl quick, clocked in excess of 138 kmph, and keep my place in the team. I am happy to have done that, “ he says, though admitting that the biggest lesson he’s learnt from this game is to bowl quick only in patches and check his pace to get some lateral movement. Awana and Narhwal together form Delhi’s new pace pair. “We complement each other well. Sumit is the senior so he advises more. We play together even for our company so the understanding is better. As they say, fast bowlers hunt in pairs, I guess I have found my partner,†he concludes before rushing to board the team bus. In two days’ time, Awana would be required to enact an encore to get Delhi into the quarter-finals.

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ROUND VII, DAY 1 Ranji Trophy Super League, 7th round, 1st day Rajasthan vs Delhi, at Jaipur, Day 1 Quarter-final contender made to battle hard Cricinfo staff December 18, 2008 Rajasthan 197 for 2 (Saxena 71, Kuldeep Singh 71*) v Delhi Scorecard 326605.jpgVineet 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. Another POV IN A scenario in which skill, determination and "destiny", as the players love to call it, would have to come together in perfect harmony for Delhi to sneak through the backdoor to the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals, the defending champions once again couldn't keep their end of the deal. The only certainty with Delhi is uncertainty. After winning two back-to-back matches against Orissa and Saurashtra and going into the final league match against Rajasthan with only a point separating them from Saurashtra, Delhi had got its much-needed second wind. But in their noble endeavour, Delhi forgot one thing, that destiny is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be seized and plucked from thin air. But where Delhi fumbled, the 29-year-old Kuldeep Singh succeeded. His is a remarkable story, as he made a comeback to Rajasthan's days' squad after a seemingly eternal wait of five years - he last played against Bengal in 2003. Hardened by the wait, Kuldeep played with remarkable discipline and fortitude, finishing the day unbeaten on 71 that helped Rajasthan to a respectable 197 for two at stumps after Delhi inserted Rajasthan under a duvet of thick clouds. Some would say Kuldeep Singh was lucky to be dropped twice so that he remained unbeaten on 71 when bad light stopped play on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy Super league match between Delhi and Rajasthan. Debutant Kapil Yadav dropped a sitter, and Delhi wicket-keeper Punit Bisht then dropped a difficult chance to get the Rajasthan opener out, both off the bowling of leg-spinner Chetnya Nanda. Kuldeep, though, has had to wait for more than two years to play his 10th Ranji match, and one thing that can’t be doubted is his patience. So combining both luck and patience with plenty of application, he frustrated the visitors in his 334-minute unbeaten stay at the crease. But while Kuldeep was the rock for Rajasthan, Vineet Saxena was the scissor who cut through Delhi's bowlers by scoring a fluent 71. The pair came together at 19 for one and stitched together an invaluable 138-run partnership before a rare miscommunication in calling cut short Saxena's classy effort. Opener Vineet Saxena had left after having played an identical innings of 71 runs. Together, the two put on 138 runs for the second wicket after Vinod Chanwaria had been dismissed early. Delhi chose to field first, hoping to dismiss the struggling Rajasthan batting order cheaply, and go for the win that would put them in with a chance to qualify for the knockout rounds. But the move didn’t pay any dividends as the hosts were content in playing within their limitations. Rajasthan kept at it for 84 overs on Thursday, scoring only 197 runs for the loss of two wickets. This slow-paced approach might have bored the fans and irritated the Delhi team, but it was the only way forward for the hosts, whose batting unit is yet to compile a big score this season. For Delhi, it was a day of frustration as the bowlers, led by the tireless Awana, put in a disciplined performance but were hardly threatening - partly due to the slowish nature of the track and partly due to lackluster fielding at crucial moments. Delhi players can also feel aggrieved at the umpires. However, things had seemed bright for the visitors in the morning session as Awana started from where he had left in Rajkot. Sinewy and strong, Awana's root of success is undoubtedly discipline. It is apparent in the way he prepares to bowl, measuring his run-up meticulously, planting his fingers carefully on the seam, before setting off in a languid manner to hit full stride. In his first spell, he bowled with the frugality of a local shop merchant, giving away just six runs in his first nine overs. His later spells too were tight, if not as menacing. Debutant Kapil Yadav kept things simple while bowling but snaffled Kuldeep's easy catch when he was on 55. It might prove costly, but write Delhi off at your own peril, uncertainty is their thing, after all! Delhi are not out of the equation yet, though they have only themselves blame for the position they find themselves in. First, they couldn’t make further inroads after Parvinder Awana had dismissed Chanwaria in the first hour of play. And then, when the opportunity came their way, they fluffed it. There were also quite a few play-and-misses from the batsmen right through out the day, with edges not carrying to the slip fielders. The only time Delhi got lucky was when a well-set Saxena was run out because of a bad mix-up with Kuldeep. To cap the bad day for Delhi, a few close leg before appeals was turned down by umpires BS Bhatti and Rajiv Risodkar. Hyderabad vs Saurashtra, at Rajkot, Day 1 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 Scorecard 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. Another POV A rough day for batsmen Special Correspondent Rajkot: Balkrishna Jadeja (six for 27) was in full cry at the Race Course ground here where 16 wickets tumbled on the first day of the Ranji Trophy Super League match between Saurashtra and Hyderabad. For a change, the famously high-scoring venue saw an intense contest between the bat and the ball and after the visitor’s seamers and spinners first skittled out the home for 133, only to suffer similarly, falling to 112 for six at stumps. After the Hyderabad openers had rattled up 30 in seven overs, Jadeja single-handedly ensured that his team remained in the fight. Play began under overcast conditions and Hyderabad’s new-ball bowler S.B. Shoaib got rid of Bhushan Chauhan early with a delivery that gained height and moved away. Skipper Jaydev Shah promoted himself, essayed a few flashy shots and offered a chance at short slip before diverting Shoiab on to this leg stump. Ashwin Yadav’s smart use of the seam drew Chirag Pathak and Ravindra Jadeja into false shots on a sluggish pitch and he then trapped Rakesh Dhruv leg before. Once an opener, Sagar Jogiyani understood the nature of the pitch and spent an hour and seven minutes to make a useful 38, playing the ball late. Even Cheteshwar Pujara struggled to come to grips with the conditions on a miserable day for batsmen, struggling for timing before a direct hit from Mohammad Shakeer sent him back. Baroda vs Andhra , at Vadodara, Day 1 Baroda 201 for 1 (Parab 108*, Bilakhia 65*) v Andhra Scorecard 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. Another POV Satyajit Parab slams century Principal Correspondent VADODARA: Opener Satyajit Parab’s unbeaten 108 (271b, 373m, 12x4) and his unbroken 136-run second-wicket partnership with Azhar Bilakhia (65 runs, 159b, 218m, 6x4) were the highlights of the first day’s play of the super league Elite Group ‘B’ match against Andhra at Motibaug here on Thursday. Parab, who scored his first century of the season, was a picture of concentration. Along with Bilakhia he tormented the toothless Andhra attack in the last two sessions. Parab, with his meticulous footwork and loads of confidence, seldom hesitated to cut loose on the wayward deliveries. Parab, on 90, smacked Vijay Kumar for a four through cover in the 83rd over and in the next reached the magical figure by elegantly flicking Kalyan Krishna through square leg much to the jubilation of his teammates. Admirable batting Andhra took the new ball after the completion of 80 overs but both Parab and Azhar tackled the medium pacers admirably amidst fading light. Opting to bat, Baroda was off to sedate start with openers skipper Connor Williams and Parab preferring caution to aggression. At lunch Baroda registered 65 runs in 36 overs with less than two runs per over. The pre-lunch session saw the Andhra bowlers failing to capitalise on the morning conditions. Medium pacers Kaylan Krishna, Vijay Kumar and debutant Achutha Rao succeeded in beating the batsmen at regular intervals but the much-needed breakthrough eluded them. Andhra skipper Gnaneswara Rao introduced spin in the 21st over but both the part-time offie Watekar and leggie M. Suresh proved ineffective. Andhra tasted the only success of the day in the first over after lunch when Connor Williams slashed an away-gong delivery from Achutha Rao to be caught in the slip cordon. Then Bilakhia joined Parab and together they dominated the proceedings. Tamil Nadu vs Railways at Chennai, Day 1 Tamil Nadu 295 for 4 (Mukund 129*, Karthik 113) v Railways Scorecard 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. Another POV Abhinav, Karthik score centuries Sports Reporter 2008121956801801.jpgIMPRESSIVE DISPLAY: Tamil Nadu’s Dinesh Karthik (left) and Abhinav Mukund were involved in a double century partnership against Railways. Chennai: Abhinav Mukund and Dinesh Karthik put on 210 runs for the third wicket to propel Tamil Nadu to 295 for four at the end of day one of its final Ranji Trophy Super League Group match against Railways at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here on Thursday. Both batsmen made their third century for the season. Abhinav stayed a whole day at the crease for the second time this season, a phenomenal achievement for an 18-year-old. On 88, he reached 1,000 Ranji Trophy runs in his 11th game. Compact defence The left-handed opener was unobtrusive for most part, frequently placing the ball a few feet short of mid-on or cover to give Karthik the strike. His defence, against a Railways attack that lacked penetration, was compact. He spent more than an hour in the nineties, and brought up his hundred, fittingly, with a single to the onside. He stroked fourteen 4s, the best of them a hold-the-pose straight drive, and a sweetly-timed six over midwicket off Murali Kartik. When Dinesh Karthik joined Abhinav, Tamil Nadu was on a dicey nine for two. K.B. Arun Karthik had top-edged a backfoot punch off Anureet to Prosenjit Das, who took it low tumbling left from second slip, and in the very next over, the fourth of the morning, R. Prasanna had played half forward with an angled blade — the left-hander’s new ball no-no — to edge Sabir Ali to the keeper. After enduring an uncertain first 10 minutes — Abhinav squirting to gully an Anureet delivery that moved away late, Karthik surviving a loud lbw appeal after Sanjib Sanyal ducked one in — the partnership bloomed. Karthik brought up his first boundary, leaning back to cut Sabir behind point, and straight-drove Sanyal with unfettered forward stride and high elbow, both of which would continually torment the Railways fielders thereafter. Good knock Resuming on 58 after lunch, Tamil Nadu’s skipper cantered on, stroking three 4s in one Anureet over — a cover drive and two liquid-wristed on drives, before rocking back to punch Kulamani Parida in front of point to bring up his second successive Ranji hundred. He fell leg before at 113, struck on the back pad after he inexplicably left a Parida off-break alone. Parida could have had Karthik on 88, but the Railways skipper Sanjay Bangar missed a chest-high chance at slip after Karthik top-edged a slash. Railways’s fielding was shoddy throughout and gave Tamil Nadu its second early Christmas gift two overs from stumps, V. Cheluvaraj dropping Abhinav on 127, a sitter at first slip off a visibly appalled Anureet. Gujarat vs Orissa at Bhuvaneshwar, Day 1 Gujarat 5 for 0 trail Orissa 162 (Niranjan Behera 49, Parmar 6-53) by 157 runs Scorecard 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. Another POV Orissa crumble before Gujarat bowling attack in Ranji Trophy Bhubaneswar , Dec 18 Orissa batsmen crumbled under piercing attack by Gujarat bowlers to be restricted at 162 in their first innings in first day of the Ranji Trophy&aposs Elite Division match at the East Coast Railway stadium here today. Seven Orissa batsmen failed to reach the double digit, while two of them could not open their account in the face of Gujarati bowling led by Mohnish Parmar who bagged six wickets off 53 runs. Electing to bat first, Orissa struggled from the very beginning although opener Paresh Patel made a gutsy 31 that contained five boundaries. But the score remained abysmally slow as he stuck around for 141 minutes facing 100 balls. Niranjan Bbehera missed a half-century by one run as he was sent back to the pavilion after scoring 49 with the help of three boundaries off 189 balls. He remained at the crease for 221 minutes. Though Orissa had gathered 77 runs for two wickets at lunch, the hosts lost quick wickets thereafter as the middle order batsmen failed to withstand the menacing bowling attack marked by precision and accuracy. They were all out for 162. Mohnish Parmar captured six wickets conceding 53 runs as the 29 overs he bowled contained eight maidens. Parmar now has 28 wickets this season, five behind teammate Siddharth Trivedi. Siddharth Trivedi claimed two wickets, while Ishwar Choudhury and Amit Singh got one each. Beginning their first innings, Gujarat were five for no loss with Rajesh Tabiyar(1) and Priyank Panchal(2) at the crease at close of play. Mumbai vs Punjab, at Mumbai , Day 1 Mumbai 90 for 1 (Rahane 53*, Samant 35*) trail Punjab 202 (Kakkar 67, Shaikh 4-50) by 112 runs Scorecard Shaikh and Rahane put Mumbai in control The Bulletin by Nagraj Gollapudi at the Brabourne Stadium December 18, 2008 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. 383292.jpgRahil Shaikh picked up a four-wicket innings haul in his second game as Mumbai restricted Punjab to 202 Punjab came out aggressively in defence of their total. Amanpreet Singh attacked the channel in and around off stump consistently. He made an immediate impact, inducing an edge from Jaffer, picked easily by Pankaj Dharmani at first slip. Vinayak Samant was tentative in his role as a makeshift opener and Punjab sniffed a chance to make further inroads. But Rahane, the tournament's leading run-getter, continued his splendid form and asserted himself brilliantly. He got off the blocks with a fluent cover drive against Gagandeep Singh and followed it with a back-foot punch that found its way past mid-off. Despite being younger to Samant by 16 years, Rahane understood he was the senior with the bat. A naturally attacking batsman, Rahane did not mind taking chances. Amanpreet continued probing an off stump line and nearly had his second success when an edge from Rahane fell a yard short of Uday Kaul behind the stumps. A half-hearted steer had failed to carry to slips the delivery before that. But the diminutive Rahane, who has scored four hundreds this season, was not going to hold back and brought up his fifty with a brilliant cover drive off a half volley from Gagandeep. Earlier a valuable 95-run partnership for the fifth wicket between Ankur Kakkar and Uday Kaul saved Punjab. Dharmani's decision to bat first failed miserably, with Mumbai's pace attack taking four quick wickets in the first hour. Making full use of the slight grass left on the pitch, the Mumbai fast-bowling trio of Rajesh Verma, Usman Malvi and Shaikh moved the ball appreciably in the air in addition to sticking to a tight line, forcing the batsmen to play. The left-armer Shaikh, playing only his second game, earned a wicket off his third ball. He got enough lift off the pitch and Ravi Inder Singh's attempted cut only resulted in a top-edge. Shaikh was the second bowler to pick a wicket in his first over after Malvi's late inswinger had trapped Karan Goel for a duck in the day's second over. Punjab looked in danger after the senior pair of Dharmani and Sunny Sohal departed quickly. Dharmani's exit was dubious, a straight one from Shaikh hitting the tall Punjab captain above the knee. Sohal, Punjab's mainstay in their campaign so far, looked composed for a while, but Malvi breached his strong defence with a delivery that curved into him and knocked the bails off. However, the pair of Kakkar and Kaul arrested the slide by middling the ball and picking the easy single to begin win. Later, once they had realised the fast bowlers were tired, the duo played shots with freedom - Kakkar assumed the role of the aggressor while Kaul played the anchor. Shortly before lunch Kakkar unleashed himself on Shaikh with four boundaries in an over - a steer, cut, square drive and pull - to restore some parity. He pushed the accelerator immediately into the second session, playing the cut and pull with disdain off short deliveries from Malvi. Two drives through cover got him to his third half-century of the tournament. Unfortunately Kaul, who had shown ample patience at the other end, suffered a momentary lapse in concentration and paid dearly. Trying to clip Abhishek Nayar's angled delivery from around the stumps to the on side, he offered an easy edge behind. Kakkar, too, followed shortly, poking lamely at straighter one from Shaikh. Chandan Madan's 29 then helped Punjab past 200. Karnataka vs Maharashtra at Bangalore, Day 1 Maharashtra 35 for 1 (Khadiwale 23*) trail Karnataka 252 (Gautam 108, Fallah 4-47, Agharkar 3-87) by 217 runs Scorecard Karnataka falter despite Gautam ton 323750.jpgRobin Uthappa started confidently, but perished to a false stroke © Nishant Ratnakar/Bangalore Mirror 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. Karnataka were set up by a wonderfully composed knock from Gautam. He started with an extra-cover drive off Mun Mangela but hit his stride against the spinners. One might have expected a gritty, tentative innings from a man playing his second game but he batted fluently, leaning well forward to the spinners, playing with the turn and, when the ball jumped and turned, pushing the bat inside the line and letting the ball spin past him. Not once did he push at the ball hard. He skipped down the track to lift Enamul Haque jnr, the left-arm spinner from Bangladesh, for a nonchalant six over long-off, his first attacking stroke against spin. He then cut, swept and reverse-swept Salil Agharkar, the best Maharashtra spinner on view. A desperate Agharkar switched to over the wicket and a 6-3 on-side field once Gautam moved into 80s. Gautam still tried to reverse sweep, connected once and missed once before he opted for the conventional sweep with success. He reached his hundred with a cut to deep point and celebrated in style. Robin Uthappa flattered to deceive with a 57-ball 36. He batted in the V and timed the ball sweetly against the seamers before being undone by Agarkar. He later said he had told Gautam they should bat with the spin but forgot his own advice; he stretched out to drive Agarkar straight but the ball gripped and spun past him to leave him stranded down the track. Gautam received solid support from the diminutive Deepak Chougule, playing his second game of the season. He pulled Agarkar for two fours and rotated the strike well with some fine running between the wickets. However, he fell while trying to steal a single, caught out by a direct hit from substitute Sangram Atitkar at backward point. Karnataka were on 223 for 5 then and were soon 244 for 6 when Gautam was caught in front, trying to turn Samad Fallah, the left-arm seamer, to the on side. All hell broke loose. While South Africa fell in a heap in the Test Down Under, Karnataka did their own choke act at the same time. Five wickets fell for eight runs in 8.4 overs as Fallah and Haque shared the wickets. Akhil started the rot first ball after tea, when he chipped a dolly to short cover and the rest surrendered meekly.

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ROUND VII, DAY 2 Ranji Trophy Super League, 7th round, 2nd day Rajasthan vs Delhi, at Jaipur, Day 2 Delhi 117 for 0 (Dhawan 58*, Chopra 50*) trail Rajasthan 295 (Kuldeep Singh 77, Saxena 71, Awana 3-40, Sangwan 3-76) by 178 runs Scorecard After a lacklustre performance on the first day, Delhi bounced back strongly on the second and look poised to take the first-innings lead against Rajasthan at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. Overnight on 197 for 2, Rajasthan could only add 100 to that score, and Delhi's openers raced to 117 by stumps. Kuldeep Singh, resuming on 71, was run out on 77 by Yogesh Nagar, setting off Rajasthan's slide. Venugopal Rao (30) was soon caught off Parvinder Awana. There was a 37-run stand between Robin Bist (38) and Rajesh Bishnoi (21), but legspinner Chetanya Nanda broke the partnership. The last six Rajasthan wickets fell for 35 runs, with left-armer Pradeep Sangwan striking thrice. Delhi made a confident start in reply, with both their openers, Shikhar Dhawan and Aakash Chopra, pushing on to half-centuries. If Saurashtra win, Delhi will need to win their game with a bonus point. In that case, they will need to get a big first-innings lead as quickly as possible on Saturday, and give themselves enough time to dismiss Rajasthan in the second innings. Another POV Clinical Delhi bounce back : Batsmen call the shots After a listless display on the opening day of their must-win Ranji Trophy encounter against Rajasthan, Delhi needed to make things happen on Friday to stay in the hunt for a place in the quarter-finals. They did that emphatically, but at the end of a good day in office, they were still tuned into proceedings in Rajkot. 20_12_2008_023_006_011.jpg The comeback was swift, lethal and exact. And by the time Rajasthan realized that the edifice they had built with such patience and determination on Day One was crumbling, the horse had bolted. It all begun, as all crises do, by a small moment of hesitation and carelessness on the protagonist’s part. Rajasthan had started the day at 197 for two, and were looking good to post a big first-innings total. The folly of one man is the fortune of another and that is what exactly happened. Kuldeep Singh, who had bit the bullet on Thursday to score a resolute unbeaten 71, suddenly decided that it was time to shed the tortoise skin and assume the hare’s. And so, in the fourth over of the day, he set off for a non-existent single after tapping the ball to covers, only to see Yogesh Nagar throw down the stumps with a direct hit. Tight matches often hinge on moments like this, and to their credit, Delhi were vigilantly waiting for indiscretion like this to turn the tables. And when Venugopal Rao fell to Parvinder Awana for 30, panic was running riot. The defending champions, sensing the frayed nerves, tightened the noose and soon the probing bowling and cheeky chirruping from the coterie of close catchers saw an innings that had begun with so much promise for Rajasthan, brutally cut short at 296, with Pradeep Sangwan grabbing three quick wickets. Whatever hopes Rajasthan had of wresting the initiative back was quickly snuffed out by Aakash Chopra and Shikhar Dhawan, who not only put on an unbeaten opening partnership of 117 rich in high-quality strokeplay, but also did it in 30 overs, at nearly four an over, something that might be vital if they have to pull off an outright win. Chopra was unbeaten on 50 and Shikhar on 58 when bad light brought play to a premature end 16 overs short. Dhawan was at his attacking best, unleashing his destructive drives time and again. He seemed assured and spiffy at the crease, throwing his wrists with gay abandon on the loose stuff. He had one reprieve at 34 when the ‘keeper dropped him off Vikrant Yadav. Chopra was a little watchful, shouldering arms to anything dicey He hunched immaculately . into defensive posture against the moving ball like a boxer avoiding a flurry of jabs but was soon in his element as the shine wore off, driving and punching with aplomb. But Delhi would do well not to rest on their laurels, as they saw what became of Rajasthan once wickets fell in quick succession. As things stand, apart from needing a victory themselves, Delhi require Saurashtra to drop points against Hyderabad. In that game, Hyderabad, chasing 177 for a win, were precariously placed at 14 for two. If Saurashtra do pick up five points, Delhi will need to win with a bonus point to have a chance of qualifying. “All depends on what happens in Rajkot. If Saurashtra lose, we’ll play for the first-innings lead. If they win, we have to go all out for a win,” Delhi skipper Aakash Chopra said. Now with time on their hands, Delhi can plot and plan whether to go all out for a win or settle down for a first-innings lead — a decision that hinges on the result of the Rajkot match between Saurashtra and Hyderabad, which should be in by Saturday evening. Well-begun is only half done. Hyderabad vs Saurashtra, at Rajkot, Day 2 Hyderabad 140 (Teja 35, Quadri 32, BN Jadeja 6-29, RA Jadeja 3-57) and 14 for 2 need 163 runs to beat Saurashtra 133 and 183 (Pathak 33, RA Jadeja 31, Shinde 4-13, Teja 3-33) Scorecard Hyderabad make Saurashtra sweat A third-day finish is on the cards at the Madhavrao Scindia Cricket Ground in Rajkot. Hyderabad need 163 runs with eight wickets left in their second innings, but Saurashtra will fancy their chances in what has so far been a low-scoring affair. As on the first day, 16 wickets fell on the second: Hyderabad began the day at 112 for 6 in their first innings, and closed the day at 7 for 2 in their second. In between they were bundled out for 140, a seven-run first-innings lead, and kept Saurashtra to 183, resulting in a fourth-innings chase of 177. Syed Quadri and MP Arjun, Hyderabad's overnight batsmen, were dismissed quickly on the second morning, but Shoaib Ahmed took his side into the lead with his 16. Balkrishna Jadeja, who took all six wickets of Hyderabad's that fell on the first day, failed to add to his career-best figures. Ravindra Jadeja took three wickets to wrap up the innings, and was involved in the run-out of Ashwin Yadav. Saurashtra's openers got off to a steady start, adding 49 in 15.2 overs. Ravi Teja, who top in Hyderabad's first innings, removed both Bhushan Chauhan and Chirag Pathak to leave them at 77 for 3. Cheteshwar Pujara, Saurashtra's leading batsman, and Ravindra Jadeja got starts, but both failed to build on them. From 109 for 3, Saurashtra slid to 138 for 7, and some resistance from the lower order took them to 183. Off-break bowler Amol Shinde finished with 4 for 13 in the innings, his maiden four-wicket haul. Hyderabad lost their openers in the seven overs before stumps. Having dismissed Hyderabad for 140 in the first innings, the hosts will back themselves for a win on Saturday, which should cement their place in the quarter-finals unless Delhi pull off something spectacular in Jaipur. Another POV Spinners rule the roost at Rajkot Special Correspondent Rajkot: A ring of close in fielders, including the old fashioned leg trap of a forward and backward short leg provided, much needed strength to the spinners at the Race Course here on Friday. Sixteen wickets went down on the second day — including a baker’s dozen to the spinners — of the Ranji Trophy super league tie between Saurashtra and Hyderabad. The latter, set a target of 177 on a fast declining surface, finished the day at 14 for two in its second essay. After its batting debacle on the first day, the two Jadejas in the home side, Balkrishna and Ravindra ran through the Hyderabad batting line-up and restricted its lead to just seven runs. The two were involved in all the dismissals in the Hyderabad first innings; Balkrishna snapping up six wickets with Ravindra taking three and then throwing down the stumps to run out Ashwin Yadav. Reckless However, the batting top order in Chirag Pathak, Bhushan Chauhan and Jaydev Shah were reckless while the situation demanded caution. It was only due to some lusty blows from Sagar Jogiyani, Rakesh Dhruv and Kamlesh Makwana, that Saurashtra’s score swelled to 183. Baroda vs Andhra , at Vadodara, Day 2 Andhra 77 (IK Pathan 7-35) and 6 for 0 trail Baroda 400 (Parab 130, Bilakhia 73, Shah 72, Solanki 64, TA Rao 5-66, Suresh 3-98) by 317 runs Scorecard 332119.jpgIrfan Pathan took career-best figures of 7 for 35 as Andhra were shot out for 77 in Vadodara Unless Andhra make a miraculous - and highly improbable - turnaround, relegation seems imminent for the bottom-placed team in Group B. Replying to Baroda's 400, they were shot out for 77, thanks to Irfan Pathan's career-best 7 for 35, and will begin the third day needing a further 317 runs to make Baroda bat again. Baroda need a win to have any chance of making it to the quarter-finals, and they put themselves in a strong position to gain a bonus point as well. Resuming on 201 for 1, they pushed to 400. Satyajit Parab added 22 to his overnight 108, and Azharuddin Bilakhia too failed to stay at the crease for long. With the other batsmen not contributing much, it was half-centuries from Pinal Shah and Rakesh Solanki that took Baroda to 400. The last five wickets fell for 47 runs. For Andhra, debutant TA Rao took a five-wicket haul, while M Suresh scalped three. If Baroda would have disappointed with not converting their first-day 201 for 1 to a bigger total, Irfan ensured they finished the day on an absolute high, single-handedly running through the opposition, whose first innings lasted 20 overs. AG Pradeep did not bat due to an injury. Another POV Irfan Pathan sends Andhra packing Principal Correspondent VADODARA: Irfan Pathan (seven for 35), making his comeback into Baroda team after a hamstring injury, set the Motibaug Stadium aflame with his splendid performance to bundle Andhra out for a paltry 77 in the first innings on the second day of the Andhra-Baroda super league elite group ‘B’ match here on Friday. Andhra, following on, was six for no loss. Earlier, Baroda, resuming at 201 for one, went on score 400. Andhra batsmen looked all at sea as fiery Irfan Pathan ran through the line up right from the first ball. Opener Hemal Watekar played across to a beauty of a delivery pitched in the block-hole and saw his wickets shattered. In the India international’s third over, Prabhu Kiran fell attempting an extravagant stroke. Pathan trapped L.N. Prasad Reddy in front in his fourth over and then delivered a body blow with a twin strike in the eighth over, snapping up M. Suresh and Manoj Sai. Middle order batsmen A.G. Pradeep did not bat as he had dislocated his shoulder while fielding. Earlier, Baroda’s overnight batsman Azharuddin Bilakhia (73, 176b, 7x4) failed to tackle a raising delivery off Kalyan Krishna and was caught behind. Centurion Satyajit Parab (130, 292b, 15x4) played a half-hearted cover drive off Atchutha Rao, straight into the hands of Gnaneswara Rao. And with Shatrunjay Gaekwad and Yusuf Pathan departing early, Baroda was 303 for five at lunch. The post lunch session witnessed enterprising knocks by Rakesh Solanki (64) and Pinal Shah (72), before the Baroda innings ended. In the process, Achutha Rao (five for 66) became the sixth bowler to claim five wickets on debut for Andhra. Tamil Nadu vs Railways at Chennai, Day 2 Railways 78 for 1 (Cheluvaraj 50*) trail Tamil Nadu 475 for 6 dec (Mukund 162, Karthik 113, Ashwin 103*) by 397 runs Scorecard With Karnataka placed favourably against Maharashtra, Railways' hopes of a quarter-final place look increasingly bleak after Tamil Nadu raked up an imposing 475 for 6 declared. The hosts began the day in Chennai at 295 for 4, and their tally was boosted by offspinner R Ashwin's maiden first-class century. Ashwin became the third centurion in the innings after Abhinav Mukund and Dinesh Karthik scored ton on Thursday. He added 87 for the sixth wicket with Mukund, who was eventually dismissed for 162, which included 18 fours and a six. Ashwin hit 15 fours in his 103, and shared an unbroken 83-run partnership with C Ganapathy, who scored 31 off 94 balls. Tamil Nadu declared soon after Ashwin got his century. Railways made a slow start to their innings, and lost Prasanjit Das for 7, the team total was 12 then after eight overs. V Cheluvaraj, playing his second game, made an unbeaten 50 as Railways played out the day without further loss. Yere Goud gave him company, taking 63 balls for his 12 not out. Another POV Memorable day for Ashwin Sports Reporter 2008122060632201.jpgIN FULL FLOW: Tamil Nadu’s R. Ashwin lit up the M.A. Chidambaram stadium with his maiden ton. Chennai: R. Ashwin lit up day two of the Ranji Trophy Super League match between Tamil Nadu and Railways at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium with his maiden first class hundred. Tamil Nadu declared some forty five minutes before tea at 475 for six, after Ashwin brought up the landmark. In reply, a cover-drive-laden unbeaten half century from V. Cheluvaraj took Railways to 78 for one at close, after Palani Amarnath had removed his opening partner Prasanjit Das in the eighth over. Responsible bat Ashwin’s batting returns before this match, two fifties and an average of just over 21, had shown him to be a responsible lower-order bat but no more. But his presence at number seven indicated that his team thought more of him. From the moment he off-drove Sabir Ali for four with barely an inch of follow through, two overs after marking his guard, the 22-year-old must have sensed that he could affirm that belief. With Abhinav Mukund enjoying at the other end the returns from the patience he had invested on day one, the pair scored nearly a boundary every over in the hour and a half they combined for. In between taking walked singles to third man, Abhinav square-drove Sabir Ali, late cut Bangar, and slashed Anureet Singh off the back foot to bring up 150. On 161, facing his 299th ball, the lefty ran down yards to Murali Kartik and missed with his heave. Cheluvaraj was adjudged by the third umpire to have taken the bails off after Abhinav had regained the crease. But he fell soon after, top edging a slog off part-time offie Dipak Yadav into Anureet’s hands at point. Both teams observed a minute’s silence before play began, as a mark of respect for former TNCA office-bearer T.R. Kannan who died on Thursday. Gujarat vs Orissa at Bhuvaneshwar, Day 2 Gujarat 210 for 3 (PA Patel 127*, Panchal 59) lead Orissa 162 by 48 runs Scorecard While Delhi and Saurashtra battle for a quarter-final place, Gujarat have virtually booked their spot from Group A. If Gujarat lose this game, Delhi and Saurashtra have a chance to catch up with them, but they adopted a cautious approach to put themselves in a strong position against Orissa. After dismissing the hosts for 162 on the first day, Gujarat crawled to 210 for 3 in 92 overs by stumps on the second. Parthiv Patel, the Gujarat captain, led from the front with an unbeaten 127 after Gujarat lost two quick wickets on the second morning. It was a patient 280-ball knock from Parthiv, who got support from Priyank Panchal. They added 164 for the third wicket. Panchal scored 59 off 205 deliveries. Bhavik Thaker, though, outdid the others in slowly building an innings: he hit one four in his unbeaten 59-ball innings. With the first-innings lead, Gujarat have three points in the bag, and only a loss can dampen their quarter-final prospects. Another POV Parthiv cracks ton to boost Gujarat parthiv-patel-test_313.jpg Bhubaneswar: An unbeaten 127 by skipper Parthiv Patel propelled Gujarat's tally from a shaky start to an impressive 210 for three in its first innings on the second day of its Ranji Trophy Elite Group tie against Orissa here on Friday. Resuming from their overnight score of five for no loss, the guests lost the wicket of Rajesh Tabiyar who was run out before any addition to the team's run tally. The visitors lost another early wicket when their score was nine as Niraj Patel was lbw off Debasis Mohanty for three. However, Gujarat not only recovered from the initial jolt but also surged ahead steadily displaying extraordinary skill and patience to surpass a paltry 162 runs by the hosts. Taking full control of the game, Parthiv Patel showing exemplary persevarence piled up run after run scoring a century. His run gathering spree did not stop as he went on to amass 127 that contained nine boundaries and was still in the middle at close of the day's play. Parthiv's spellbinding show lasted 349 minutes as he faced 280 balls. He was assisted by Priyank Panchal who scored a useful 59 that included three hits to the fence before being caught by wicketkeeper Haldhar Das off Paresh Patel. At the end of the day's play, Parthiv (127) and Bhavik Thakar (4) were at crease. Mumbai vs Punjab, at Mumbai , Day 2 Punjab 202 & 18 for 0 trail Mumbai 436 for 9 declared (Muzumdar 113, Rohit 85, Rahane 80, Samant 65, Nayar 61, Kakkar 3-93) by 216 runs Scorecard Muzumdar ton strengthens Mumbai's advantage The Bulletin by Nagraj Gollapudi at the Brabourne Stadium December 19, 2008 Mumbai continued to dictate terms for the second straight day at the Brabourne Stadium, with Amol Muzumdar and Rohit Sharma's handsome knocks taking the game further away from Punjab. Muzumdar scored his first hundred of the season, and his 132-run fourth-wicket stand with Rohit was the main highlight of a day on which Punjab failed to make any impression. 383468.jpgAmol Muzumdar scored his first century of the season At stumps, Punjab's opening pair of Sunny Sohal and Karan Goel played with caution the four overs of spin from Ramesh Powar and Ankit Chavan, who are bound to play a bigger role on Saturday as Mumbai try to seal the match. Ajinkya Rahane, who had cracked a stroke-filled half-century the previous evening, once again started off on a brisk note, punishing the loose balls from Gagandeep Singh and Amanpreet Singh. However, half an hour into the morning, Rahane was adjudged leg-before after he tried to push an offcutter from Gagandeep for a single into the vacant midwicket region. It was a big wicket because Rahane, the tournament highest run-getter this year, was key to Mumbai's chances to score an innings victory. In walked Muzumdar with the weight of expectations on his slim shoulders: his unconvincing form (two fifties in six previous games) had added to the pressure on the top order. But, today, Muzumdar seemed to have exorcised his ghosts finally. He took charge straightaway with two magnificent drives past cover, both fours, against the well-flighted legbreaks of Sarabjit Ladda. Nimble on the feet, Muzumdar was quick to move forward as well as draw back if the bowler tried to attack him. Making use of the width on offer and the gaps in the field, especially behind the wicket, Muzumdar utilised the cut and the paddle- sweep frequently as he marched to his third half-century of the season before lunch. He was joined by Rohit once Vinayak Samant, the other overnight batsman, departed soon after reaching his fifty. In a moment of misjudgment, Samant stayed back to a delivery from left-arm spinner Ankur Kakkar; the ball jumped off the pitch and turned away to bowl him. Rohit started on an extravagant note with two full-blooded fours: the first over Kakkar's head, followed by one clubbed over mid-off. When Ladda offered him width, Rohit accepted with glee, slashing the legspinner past point for another four. By lunch, Mumbai were set to post an imposing lead having gone past Punjab's score. With the pitch completely dry, the ball gripped the surface and provided the comfort of an extra moment for the batsman to decide his shot. The only way Punjab could have expected to strike back was by tossing the ball up or pinning the batsmen down - something neither of their three spinners - Ladda, Varun Khanna and Kakkar - managed consistently. It only helped Mumbai dominate. Rohit brought up his half-century in a swift manner, charging Gagandeep for an easy on-drive for four. Two balls later, a solid front-foot punch raced away to the sightscreen behind the bowler. Playing with gusto, he stood his ground once again to punch it past the straight boundary to end the over. Rohit looked ominous as he neared his second century of the season, but a lofted attempt to clear the boundary landed in the hands of Ravi Inder Singh at mid-off. But Punjab's misery was far from over, with Muzumdar, enjoying the Rohit show from the other end, closing in on the century with consecutive sweeps against Kakkar. Having cut Kakkar in front of square for another four, an emotional Muzumdar celebrated his maiden ton this season with a leap and a punch in the air. He was doubly happy as his parents were at the ground to witness his big moment. Then as a gesture to thanks his team-mates, he simultaneously doffed his cap and bowed towards the Mumbai dressing room. At the other end, Abhishek Nayar, playing his first game of the season, crushed Punjab's spirits further with an attacking half-century as he stitched a valuable partnership with Muzumdar for the fifth wicket. Though Muzumdar failed to carry on, trapped plumb going for a prod against Khanna, he had done enough to help Mumbai take the game out of Punjab's reach. Karnataka vs Maharashtra at Bangalore, Day 2 Karnataka 252 and 131 for 5 (Akhil 30*, ) lead Maharashtra 210 (Khadiwale 70, Shilamkar 39, , Appanna 4-40, Joshi 4-62) by 173 runs Scorecard Maharashtra fight but advantage Karnataka 318241.jpgHarshad Khadiwale battled valiantly for 70 runs but Karnataka, led by Sunil Joshi, seized the advantage © Nishant Ratnakar/Bangalore Mirror Fourteen wickets fell on a spinners' day as Karnataka surged to a healthy 173-run lead with five wickets remaining in their second innings at the RSI Ground in Bangalore. Sunil Joshi harassed Maharashtra'a top order and KP Appanna cleaned up the tail to give their batsmen a chance to take the game away from the visitors. Anything over 225 in the fourth innings is going to be tough on this pitch and the match appears to be heading for a third-day finish. There were a couple of brave charges from Maharashtra during the day - a 69-run partnership between Harshad Khadiwale and Kedar Jadhav and a 44-run stand between Deepak Shilamkar and Rohit Motwani - to create some momentum and raise hopes but Maharashtra were in free fall against the spinners. Jadhav and Khadiwale batted with purpose and with a plan. Jadhav, who was dropped first-ball by Deepak Chougule off Joshi in the slips, employed the slog-sweep to good effect. He picked two boundaries with that shot and, when Joshi altered the line to outside off, he square-drove pleasingly to pick a few runs. Joshi did trouble him on a couple of occasions when the ball jumped and reared up chest-high but that would have been expected on this pitch. If Jadhav swept, Khadiwale chose to cover-drive with the turn against the left-arm spinners. He cover-drove KP Appanna - who wasn't effective till he came later to wipe out the tail - repeatedly and also deployed the sweep on occasions. He also picked quite a few singles with dabs here and there to keep the score ticking and followed up a lovely inside-out cover drive with a swept four to bring up his fifty and the team's hundred. He was dropped on 53 by a diving C Gautam at silly point. Maharashtra were at 127 for 3 when Jadhav fell, trapped in front by C Raghu, and Joshi swung in immediately to clean up Ganesh Gaekwad with a ripper that pitched on middle and leg and hit off stump. He lured Khadiwale with turn and bounce to offer a catch that was held brilliantly by Raghu, who flung low to his left to hold it. Joshi had been operating unsuccessfully for 12 overs from the Pavilion End before he struck gold in his first over after switching to the Club House End. Three wickets fell in the space of 12 runs before Shilamkar and Motwani attempted to revive the innings. Shilamkar was the aggressor, hitting a breezy 39 in the partnership. Shilamkar too followed the general Maharashtra plan: Sweep when you can and cut if they bowl short. The tactic fetched him quick runs but he fell while pushing Appanna to silly point. Motwani continued to remain resolute in defence but the rest collapsed. The last four wickets fell for three runs as Appanna ran riot. Knowing it would be only time before they pop one to the close-in men, Karnataka tried to be positive in their second innings. KB Pawan started with a straight-driven boundary off the first ball of the innings from Samad Fallah and Maharashtra, unsurprisingly, had the left-arm spinner Salil Agharkar share the new ball. Pawan swept him for a boundary but fell to the offspinner Ganesh Gaekwad, failing to clear mid-on. And Uthappa, who had resisted the urge to reverse-sweep in the first innings, tried it fatally against Agharkar. The first-innings centurion Gautam looked comfortable in his short stay of 26 runs. He cut Agarkar to the point boundary, lifted Enamul Haque jnr over long-off in a repeat of his first-innings six and cover-drove Gaekwad to the boundary off the first ball post tea. However, Gaekwad had him caught at silly point and went on to claim Thilak Naidu with a one that turned and bounced sharply to take the glove and lob to backward short-leg. Karnataka were at 92 for 5 but recovered courtesy an unbroken 39-run partnership between B Akhil and Raghu. The tall Akhil, who scored 30 runs, was the first batsman who repeatedly stepped down the track to keep the spinners at bay. He started off with a fierce sweep over square leg and started skipping down to either play a forcing shot or a defensive stroke. If the last five can add another 40-50 runs on Saturday, Karnataka could well book a berth in the quarter-finals.

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ROUND VII, DAY 3 Ranji Trophy Super League, 7th round, 3rd day Rajasthan vs Delhi, at Jaipur, Day 3 Delhi 505 for 5 (Chopra 210, Dhawan 118, Kohli 83) lead Rajasthan 295 by 210 runs Scorecard Defending champions Delhi knocked out Delhi dominated proceedings at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, but the defending champions will perhaps regret losing four wickets after going past the 400-mark with one batsman out. Even if Delhi win this game by an innings or ten wickets - gaining six points to catch up with Saurashtra and equalling them on three wins - they do not stand a chance to match them on the quotient - the runs per wicket scored by a team divided by the runs per wicket conceded. Resuming on 117 for 0, Delhi's openers were only separated after they had piled on 280. Shikhar Dhawan fell for 118, but Virat Kohli continued the run-fest along with Aakash Chopra, who went on to score a double-century. The two took the score past 400, but Kohli failed to go on to a hundred. His dismissal triggered a collapse - given the run-scoring before it - with four wickets falling in the space of 49 runs. Rajat Bhatia and Yogesh Nagar took Delhi past 500 before stumps. Chopra, despite the double ton, was disappointed with missing out on a quarter-final berth. "We are disappointed as we could not make the quarterfinals. Matches against Mumbai, Gujarat and Hyderabad hurt us," he told the Hindu. 171853.jpgAakash Chopra scored a double-century, but the Delhi captain would be disappointed that his team have not made it to the quarter-finals Vijay Dahiya, the Delhi coach, however, backed his players and wanted them to maintain the focus for this match. "It's difficult to remain motivated after knowing that we are not reaching the quarters," he said. "Still we would try for a win." Another POV End of the road for Delhi The irony couldn’t have been more macabre. For the whole of this season, Delhi had pined for a batting display that would befit the status of defending champions, a tag that has apparently hindered more than it has spurred Delhi on. The statistics were damning —six matches and not a single century from any batsman. No wonder coach Vijay Dahiya was so emphatic in blaming the batsmen for the stuttering campaign prior to Delhi’s last Ranji Trophy league game against Rajasthan. However, the day the batsmen — led by the irrepressible Aakash Chopra who played an innings of stand-up brilliance to notch up his fifth double-century (210) in first-class cricket — came to the party to notch an imposing 505 for five at stumps on Day Three in reply to Rajasthan’s 296 all out, it had already been gate-crashed by Saurashtra. Delhi were trailing Saurashtra by a point and needed them to slip up — which they didn’t — to make it through. Luck is infatuated by the efficient and the consistent and Delhi, in all honesty, were found wanting in both departments this season. So, on a day that saw two centuries, from Shikhar Dhawan and Chopra — an equivalent of tiger sighting for Delhi this season — the defending champions were knocked out of their perch and out of this year’s competition. Even a win with a bonus point now would not suffice. Still, to give credit where it is due, Delhi were flawless on the day . 21_12_2008_023_001_009.jpg Personal records were the only thing left for the defending champions to play for as Day Three progressed against Rajasthan on Saturday. By the time the first drinks break was taken, Delhi’s hopes of sneaking into the Ranji Trophy quarter-finals were over, as news broke of Saurashtra’s resounding win over Hyderabad in Rajkot. So, both Aakash Chopra and Shikhar Dhawan settled down to make up for the lost runs in their season. Chopra completed his double ton, his fifth in first-class cricket, and Dhawan made his first century of the season. Even Virat Kohli chipped in with 83. But after Kohli’s dismissal, who feathered a catch to wicketkeeper Vikram Singh off Pankaj Singh, the match meandered towards a draw as Delhi started to lose steam and motivation. All the combinations and permutations had drawn the same conclusion: Delhi were out, even if they had registered a bonus victory. Saurashtra’s run-quotient was insurmountable. Delhi had started the day briskly. Going at over four runs an over, they racked up 178 in 37 overs in the first session with the loss of just Dhawan’s wicket. But as the day progressed, there was nothing to look forward to. And so, even after scoring 500 runs and with a sizeable lead of 210 runs, Delhi did not declare. Resuming at 117 without loss, Chopra and Dhawan, realising the need to score quickly to give Delhi a chance to win the game outright — they were still in the hunt then — started executing their improvisation with dexterity and came out with great purpose. Chopra, after being ignored for the central contracts despite scoring 1700 runs last season, had an axe to grind and he chose to vent his angst in a perfect manner. There was a bristling, unshakeable determination about him on Saturday and a strong intent to see Delhi through. Normally, contend to bide his time and grind to big scores, Chopra was the enforcer on Saturday, scoring runs much quicker than Dhawan, and looking extremely delightful as he did so. His balance when he leant into the drives and danced down the track was supreme, and his concentration unwavering. His movements at the crease were assured; he hardly seemed troubled. Dhawan too was in sublime touch, biffing anything full through covers and flicking with disdain. But after completing his century, he fell to an extravagant sweep. Virat Kohli joined Chopra after lunch, when the truth had dawned on Delhi that they won’t qualify, and went for Rajasthan’s jugular as Chopra slowed down. His quick-fire 83 off 123 deliveries were masterful. Rajat Bhatia (26) and Yogesh Nagar (15) were the unbeaten batsmen as Delhi ended the day at 505 for five. “It is heartbreak. Regardless of the runs we scored it was pretty obvious that we were not going anywhere,†Delhi skipper Aakash Chopra said. Coach Dahiya looked back on lost opportunities: “These were the first tons for the team this season. This sums the season. We have only ourselves to blame.†Delhi can take heart in the fact that it was better late than never. Hyderabad vs Saurashtra, at Rajkot, Day 3 Saurashtra 133 (Jogiyani 38, Ashwin Yadav 3-19, Shanker 3-28) and 183 (Pathak 33, RA Jadeja 31, Shinde 4-13, Teja 3-33) beat Hyderabad 140 (Teja 35, Quadri 32, BN Jadeja 6-29, RA Jadeja 3-57 and 71 (RA Jadeja 7-31, Dhurv 3-20) by 105 runs Scorecard Jadeja bowls Saurashtra to a big win Saurashtra have booked their place in the quarter-finals after beating Hyderabad by 105 runs at the Madhavrao Scindia Cricket Ground in Rajkot. Chasing 177, Hyderabad folded for 71. Ravindra Jadeja and Rakesh Dhurv, who shared the two wickets on the third evening, wrapped up the game before lunch. Jadeja took 7 for 31, his career-best figures, and also completed his first ten-wicket haul in first-class matches. Dhurv ended the innings with 3 for 20 off his nine overs. Saurashtra, who began the round with a one-point lead over Delhi, have a mathematical chance of being upstaged; however, it is virtually impossible the mathematical will become a realistic chance. Another POV Star turn by Ravindra Jadeja Special Correspondent Rajkot: Those who admire courage and skill in a cricket match will give high marks to Ravindra Jadeja for his extraordinary performance in this crucial Ranji Trophy super league match between Saurashtra and Hyderabad. On the opening day of the match on Thursday, he was out for zero and then conceded 45 runs in his wicket-less spell of 10 overs. But since these setbacks, the gifted all-rounder has proved his worth as a bowler, batsmen and fielder to pave the way for Saurashtra to beat Hyderabad by 105 runs at the Race Course ground here on Saturday, nearly five and half sessions ahead of the scheduled finish. He exploited the helpful pitch and spun out Hyderabad for 71 one hour before lunch, thus giving Saurashtra five points from the match and a total of 23 from the league. A magical seven-wicket haul by left-arm leg spinner Ravindra Jadeja helped Saurashtra beat Hyderabad by 105 runs in their final Ranji Trophy Elite Division match to keep alive their chances of entering the knock-out stage of the tournament. In all Hyderabad faced 161 balls in the second innings and the left arm spinner finished with a fine analysis of seven for 31 from 12.5 overs in the second innings and 10 for 88 in the match. Rakesh Dhruv, a bowler of Jadeja’s ilk, took three and substitute fielder Arpit Vasavda held three catches around the bat. Saurashtra will wait for the outcome of the match between Delhi and Rajasthan at Jaipur. Delhi needs six points from that match to level with Saurashtra at 23 and also better Saurashtra run quotient of 1.40 after seven matches. Delhi’s run quotient was 0.926 after six matches. Baroda vs Andhra , at Vadodara, Day 3 Baroda 400 (Parab 130, Bilakhia 73, Shah 72, Solanki 64, TA Rao 5-66, Suresh 3-98) beat Andhra 77 (IK Pathan 7-35) and 263 ( Kiran 65*, Suresh 54, YK Pathan 4-72) by an innings and 60 runs Scorecard 332119.jpgIrfan Pathan took career-best figures of 7 for 35 as Andhra were shot out for 77 in Vadodara Andhra put up a much better effort in their second innings - they were shot out for 77 in the first - but it still was not enough to make Baroda bat a second time in Vadodara. The six points, though, won't help Baroda make it to the quarter-finals. Andhra's top order progressed slowly on the third day. M Suresh, batting at No. 3, and B Sumanth put on 73 for the third wicket. Suresh reached his fifth first-class half-century, but fell with Andhra's score on 123. Hopes of wiping out the first-innings deficit were almost over when they slipped from 160 for 3 to 171 for 6, but D Prabhu Kiran and debutant TA Rao provided stiff resistance. Rao made 28 off 54 balls, but Yusuf Pathan, who took four in the innings, ended the 68-run stand. He took a wicket next ball, and Kiran put on 24 in 2.2 overs for the ninth wicket - effectively the last as AG Pradeep was injured - along with DP Vijaykumar. Kiran, playing his second game, hit five fours and three sixes in a run-a-ball 65, his maiden half-century. Another POV Yusuf Pathan bowls Baroda to innings win Principal Correspondent VADODARA: Baroda defeated Andhra by an innings and 60 runs with a day to spare in the Ranji super league Elite Group ‘B’ match at Motibaug Stadium here on Saturday. With this emphatic victory Baroda garnered six points (including one bonus point) to finish with 15 points, while Andhra finished at the bottom of the table with three points thus being relegated to Plate division. Barring all-rounder M. Suresh (54, 132b, 5x4) and Prabhu Kiran (65, 66b, 5x4, 3x6), the Andhra batsmen failed to learn lessons from their mistakes they committed on Friday and got out to indiscreet strokes. Resuming at six for no loss, Andhra, trailing by 323 runs, saw both its openers return to the pavilion before lunch. Watekar failed to negotiate a sharp in-swinging delivery off Veragi, while L.N. Prasad Reddy poked at an away-going delivery, only to b snapped up splendidly by the diving wicket-keeper Pinal Shah. Andhra was 94 for two in 35 overs at lunch. Suresh fights hard All-rounder M. Suresh, showing fine temperament and determination, played an innings of patience entwined with brilliant stroke play to notch up the third fifty of the season. However, diminutive left-arm spinner Rajesh Pawar broke the 73-run third wicket partnership between Suresh and Sumanth trapping the former in front. Soon Sumanth and skipper Gnaneswara Rao were out going for for extravagant strokes. A mix-up between Prabhu Kiran and Manoj Sai saw the exit of the latter. Prabhu Kiran found an able partner in medium pacer Atchutha Rao and both went hammer and tongs at Baroda bowlers, especially Yusuf Pathan, smacking them all over the park. Middle order batsman A.G. Pradeep, who dislocated his shoulder while fielding, did not bat in the second innings too. Yusuf Pathan emerged as top wicket taker for Baroda with four for 72. Tamil Nadu vs Railways at Chennai, Day 2 Tamil Nadu 475 for 6 dec and 33 for 0 (AB Karthik 27*) lead Railways 314 (Goud 97, Cheluvaraj 65, Mahesh 4-90) by 194 runs Scorecard Tamil Nadu opted not to make Railways to follow on after they gained a 161-run first-innings lead in Chennai. Yere Goud, overnight on 12, led the fight for the visitors with his 97, but no other batsman went past 50 on the day as Railways were dismissed for 314. Yo Mahesh, playing in place of L Balaji, took 4 for 90, including the wicket of V Cheluvaraj, who could only manage to add 15 to his maiden first-class half-century. Yo Mahesh sent down an astounding 21 no-balls in his 27.5 overs, and the 39 extras were the best contributor for Railways after Goud and Cheluvaraj. Three other batsmen made it to the 30s, but failed to go on to make substantial contributions. Tamil Nadu's openers scored briskly in the six overs till stumps. Another POV It’s Yomahesh’s day Special Correspondent 2008122154741601.jpgEXULTANT: Tamil Nadu’s Yomahesh celebrates the fall of Cheluvaraj of Railways on Saturday. Chennai: Vijaykumar Yomahesh’s steep and rapid lift, aided by the control exerted by the rest of Tamil Nadu’s bowlers, ensured the host a healthy first innings lead in its final Ranji Trophy group match against Railways at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday. Held together by a resolute 97 from Yere Goud, Railways was dismissed for 314, half an hour from close. Tamil Nadu ended day three at 33 for no loss, 194 ahead. Yomahesh began his first spell of the day with three consecutive no balls. He had overstepped seven times on Friday, and would finish with 22 no balls. Steaming in But that didn’t deter the 20-year-old from steaming in and bending double in his follow through. Reward came in his third over of the day, half-centurion V. Cheluvaraj nicking behind a length ball that left him off the pitch. Meanwhile, Goud batted serenely on, weaving away from Yomahesh’s bouncers, and interspersing drives among long spells of defence. He got to 50 with a leg-side whip for four off a full toss from left arm spinner C. Suresh, the 155th delivery he faced. In the third over after lunch, skipper Sanjay Bangar played forward to Suresh, and the ball seemed to bounce either off his boot or the ground to silly point. Ruled out by the third umpire, Bangar trudged off shaking his head angrily. Sanjib Sanyal then joined Goud; the two had scored fifties in each innings against Maharashtra. Their partnership chugged along to 55, before Sanyal looped a catch to mid-on, deceived in the air by offie S. Suresh Kumar. Karthik on top Two more batsmen fell before tea, Mahesh Rawat skying Ashwin and Dipak Yadav edging Yomahesh to give Dinesh Karthik his 24th and 25th dismissals of the season, putting him on top of that list. Murali Kartik then made a streaky 30 before missing a sweep off Suresh Kumar, his boot caught plumb in front. Goud was next to go, his 294-ball stay ending with a popped catch to short leg off Ashwin. It was then left to Yomahesh to finish Railways off, his pace and leap off the wicket too much for the tail to handle. Gujarat vs Orissa at Bhuvaneshwar, Day 3 Gujarat 382 for 8 (PA Patel 206, Panchal 59, TK Patel 38*) lead Orissa 162 by 220 runs Scorecard Saurashtra's win sees them level with Gujarat on 23 points in Group A, but Gujarat are a safe bet to gain three first-innings points from their match against Orissa in Bhubaneshwar and finish second in the standings. The visitors batted out a second successive day, and only a miraculous turnaround will see them lose this game, and the three points in hand. If the improbable does indeed happen, the calculators might be out again if Delhi take six points against Rajasthan. Parthiv Patel converted his overnight century to a double on a day that saw Gujarat crawl at a run-rate of 1.91 in their 90 overs - the innings rate was 2.09. They closed the day at 382 for 8, a lead of 230 on Orissa's first-innings 162. While Parthiv went at just less than a run every second ball, Timil Patel made an unbeaten 38 off 148 balls. Parthiv was pleased with his own performance but also singled out Orissa bowler B Panda for praise. "He was the most impressive of Orissa's bowlers today," Parthiv told the Times of India. Another POV Patel double ton gives Gujarat the edge parthiv-patel-test_313.jpg Bhubaneswar: Riding on a double ton by skipper Parthiv Patel, Gujarat scored 382 for 8 against Orissa in the first innings on the third day of their Ranji Trophy Super League match at the East Coast Railway Stadium here on Saturday. Parthiv, who remained undefeated on 127 on Friday, adorned his 593-minute 206 with 14 boundaries before being dismissed by Bibhudutta Panda. Resuming on their overnight 210 for 3 in response to hosts' paltry 162, the guests negotiated the hosts' bowling commendably to hold the edge. Parthiv was ably supported by Timil Patel, who scored an unbeaten 38 off 148 balls. Timil and Amit Singh(0) remained unbeaten at the end of the day's play. While Bibhudutta and Dhiraj Singh bagged two wickets each, Debasis Mohanty and Paresh Patel claimed one wicket apiece. Mumbai vs Punjab, at Mumbai , Day 3 Punjab 202 & 363 for 8 (Kaul 117*, Kakkar 58, Sohal 51, Verma 2-30) lead Mumbai 436 for 9 dec by 129 runs Scorecard Kaul's century keeps Punjab alive The Bulletin by Nagraj Gollapudi at the Brabourne Stadium December 20, 2008 Uday Kaul's vigilant century helped Punjab bounce back and frustrated Mumbai, who probably expected a favourable result at the start of the penultimate day at the Brabourne Stadium. When bad light stopped play four overs before stumps, Kaul was unbeaten on a chanceless 117. His 107-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Ankur Kakkar had helped the visitors take a 129-run lead. 383586.jpgA 107-run stand between Uday Kaul and Ankur Kakkar revived Punjab's faltering second innings Grey and overcast conditions prevailed throughout Saturday, but Mumbai's fast bowlers, particularly the pair of Usman Malvi and Rahil Shaikh, failed to make an impact in the vital first hour, either pitching too full or short or wide. Punjab's opening pair of Sunny Sohal and Karan Goel took advantage of their waywardness. An hour into the first session Wasim Jaffer decided to replace the struggling pair with the spin-pace combination of Ramesh Powar and Rajesh Verma and it proved to be a successful move. Familiar with the conditions, Verma, who plays for CCI at the same ground in the local cricket league, got enough movement in the air as he trapped Goel plumb with one that ducked in. A jaffa then beat the helpless Sohal. The ball moved away after pitching and clipped the off bail. Powar had played his hand in building the pressure by keeping the batsmen busy, and in doubt, at the other end. He drew the batsmen out with the flight and loop, something Punjab's spinners failed to do. It was a matter of time before he would trap the prey: Ravi Inder Singh's attractive short innings came to an end when he edged back to the wicketkeeper while trying to cut against Powar's spin. Punjab were left in disarray when Pankaj Dharmani, their captain, played an irresponsible shot and was caught at midwicket by Abhishek Nayar - Dharmani went for a big hit, stepping out to Powar. It was once again left to Kaul and Kakkar, whose 95-run partnership had saved the visitors from falling apart on the first day, to avoid a collapse. The duo played their parts convincingly, in contrasting styles: if Kaul played on the bowler's patience by holding back his intentions till the last moment, Kakkar was more enterprising with his power-hitting. Using his aggression smartly, the well-built Kakkar deceived the opposition bowlers, who might have thought he was taking too many chances. But Kakkar had understood that if Punjab needed to survive, someone had to pump the drives. He was lucky to get away on 33 when his attempted big hit off Powar went high towards deep mid-on, where Shaikh, easily the worst of the Mumbai fielders, failed to position himself under the ball, let alone catching it. A determined Kakkar charged Powar the next ball to hit a six over wide long-on. A swatted six over point off Ankit Chavan, the left-arm spinner, got him his second fifty of the match. At the other end, Kaul advanced against Chavan to drive through the narrow space between mid-on and midwicket for a four to get to his half-century. Mumbai's patience started to waver, with Punjab virtually dominating the second session. Just then, the visitors suffered a major setback when Kakkar feathered an edge while trying to cut Malvi too close to his body off the first ball of the final over before tea. However, Chandan Madan made sure the momentum was not lost post tea and supported Kaul well with his little cameo (32) that involved some smashing drives. Kaul moved into the 90s with a cut off Powar, a reverse-sweep in the offspinner's next over took him to 99, and he duly achieved his century with a single to midwicket. It was his second successive ton this season: his hundred in the previous game against Hyderabad had helped Punjab turn the tables and snatch a win on the final day. Punjab will now rely on Kaul to stretch their lead further and hope for an encore. A victory on Sunday will not get them to the quarter-finals but will surely boost their pride. For Mumbai, who have already qualified for the quarter-finals, the job is not done yet. Karnataka vs Maharashtra at Bangalore, Day 3 Karnataka 252 (Gautam 108, Fallah 4-47, Agharkar 3-87) and 229 (Akhil 62, Agharkar 4-56, Haque 3-67, Gaekwad 3-65) beat Maharashtra 210 (Khadiwale 70, Appanna 4-40, Joshi 4-62) and 116 (Joshi 7-29) by 155 runs Scorecard Joshi fires Karnataka into quarter-finals 378629.jpgSunil Joshi marked his 100th Ranji Trophy game with his fifth ten-wicket haul© Nishant Ratnakar/Bangalore Mirror Karnataka, led by Sunil Joshi, breezed into the quarter-finals, overwhelming Maharashtra by 155 runs on a spinners' paradise at the RSI Ground in Bangalore. Joshi marked his 100th Ranji Trophy game with his fifth ten-wicket haul to bowl out Maharashtra for 116 in their second innings. Maharashtra had no hope of an upset on this track once B Akhil and Joshi had hit out in the morning to set a target of 272. The visitors lasted only 136 minutes in their second innings; Joshi running amok to grab 7 for 29. It was Akhil who set up the stiff target with a splendid 62 though Joshi also used the long handle effectively in a breezy 35 to push Karnataka to an unassailable position. Karnataka, a lead of 173 overnight, added 98 runs on Saturday. Akhil, who didn't make the squad at the start of the season and was drafted in later in place of Bharat Chipli, had hit a vital hundred against Uttar Pradesh in the last game and upped it with a fine knock today. He was one of the few batsmen to come down the track repeatedly to the spinners, and started off with two fours - an off-drive and a sweep - in the first over of the day. Time and again, he punctuated his charges down the track with a hard sweep and once even reverse-swept a boundary. Joshi joined him at 186 for 5 and he too started off with a first-ball boundary - a clean hit over mid-on. He deployed his two favourite shots - the swing over mid-off or mid-on and the slog-sweep - to good effect. Both Akhil and Joshi knew there was no point in defending on this track as they were just one unplayable ball away from getting out. However, a tad strangely, Akhil got bogged down when Joshi began to hit. He was scoreless for 20 balls before getting out. Joshi kept swinging and was the last man out, holing out to deep midwicket. The chase was over in a blink. Joshi struck in his first over, the fourth of the innings and the last before lunch, with his signature ball on this track - pitching middle and leg and hitting off - to remove Harshad Khadiwale. The Maharashtra innings went downhill from there as Joshi kept taunting and teasing out the rest. He removed Ameya Shirkhande two balls into the second session with a snorter that turned and bounce to take the glove en route to slip. Karnataka continued their good catching form on a poor outfield. Rohan Bhosale, who offered brief resistance, flicked Joshi hard to short-leg where KB Pawan held on to a sharp chance and KP Appanna dived low to his right at square leg to remove Deepak Shilamkar. Joshi varied his length and pace to run through the tail and when Pawan dived to his front from short leg to hold on to a catch to remove Enamul Haque jnr, it was all over. The game ended in the second session of the third day and the sparse crowd rushed in to shake hands and back-slap Robin Uthappa and Joshi.

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I think Delhi and Punjab were affected by being in the wrong group. Delhi has got more points than Karnataka and UP, but still were not qualified. I know Grp A has 1 more match. But Delhi weren't bad at all. I guess it will be wise to have same number of matches for both groups going forward. Delhi were hampered by 3 of their team playing for the national team. I wish Kumble had played one last Ranji match before retiring, just like Ganguly. But, I guess he is injured. Resurgence of Gujrat and Saurashtra over their other Gujju team, Baroda is notable. Baroda used to be stronger than these two. But they are carrying too many old timers and nationals also I guess.

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3rd Quarter-Final: Gujarat v Uttar Pradesh at Vadodara - Dec 26-29, 2008 1st Quarter-Final: Mumbai v Himachal Pradesh at Ahmedabad - Dec 26-29, 2008 2nd Quarter-Final: Saurashtra v Karnataka at Mumbai (BS) - Dec 26-29, 2008 4th Quarter-Final: Tamil Nadu v Bengal at Bangalore - Dec 26-29, 2008

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3rd Quarter-Final: Gujarat v Uttar Pradesh at Vadodara - Dec 26-29, 2008 1st Quarter-Final: Mumbai v Himachal Pradesh at Ahmedabad - Dec 26-29, 2008 2nd Quarter-Final: Saurashtra v Karnataka at Mumbai (BS) - Dec 26-29, 2008 4th Quarter-Final: Tamil Nadu v Bengal at Bangalore - Dec 26-29, 2008
Bah, the new system gives Mumbai an easy chance to go to Semis. I think old system was better.
Who will Mumbai play if they manage to beat Himachal? The winner of which quarterfinal?

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3rd Quarter-Final: Gujarat v Uttar Pradesh at Vadodara - Dec 26-29, 2008 1st Quarter-Final: Mumbai v Himachal Pradesh at Ahmedabad - Dec 26-29, 2008 2nd Quarter-Final: Saurashtra v Karnataka at Mumbai (BS) - Dec 26-29, 2008 4th Quarter-Final: Tamil Nadu v Bengal at Bangalore - Dec 26-29, 2008
No way! Himachal Pradesh is in plate league!

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So is Bengal isnt it?
No. Bengal is in plate league too. But cricinfo has listed Mumbai to play with HP in the 1st quarter final. How can that be, when HP is playing/has just played the semis of plate league with MP? This is the report of Day 3 of HP vs Mp match: Himachal Pradesh all set for promotion Himachal Pradesh's move up to the Super League is certain after they piled on a massive 348-run lead on the third day in their semi-final against Madhya Pradesh in Nagpur. Bhavin Thakkar, resuming on 111, fell without scoring on Saturday, but Mukesh Sharma, the other overnight batsman, scored a career-best 161 to put his team totally in command. Himachal Pradesh, who began the day in the lead, were boosted by a 218-run stand for the fifth wicket between Sharma and Ajay Mannu, who fell seven short of his century. Madhya Pradesh dismissed the duo and Sarandeep Singh quickly, but they were to be further frustrated by the lower-order batsmen. Ashok Thakur and Vikramjeet Malik, who took four wickets apiece in Madhya Pradesh's innings, added an unbroken 51 for the ninth wicket. I'm confused now.:hmmmm2:

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No. Bengal is in plate league too. But cricinfo has listed Mumbai to play with HP in the 1st quarter final. How can that be, when HP is playing/has just played the semis of plate league with MP? I'm confused now.:hmmmm2:
yea i wondered abt tht aswell.. but they have included the toppers from the plate league.. HP is the topper form plate group A so it gets to play with super group A topper mumbai Bengal is the topper form plate group B , so it plays with super group B topper TN... now dont ask me why .. i have no idea .. :-D

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This year they are getting 2 plate finalists to super league and instead of a super 4 semis round, they have a knock-out round with 3 top teams from each group of super-league. 3+3+2 = 8 teams will play quarters. This change was done to create chances for plate team players to excel within the year, instead of waiting for a year after they move to the super league. I couldn't google out the teams for Semis. Mumai might face either UP-Guj match winner or Kar-Sau match winner. They are probably made to meet the top team of the other group only in the finals, logically.

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From cricinfo to clarify:

Quarter-final line-up (December 26-29) Gujarat v Uttar Pradesh in Vadodara Mumbai v Himachal Pradesh in Ahmedabad Saurashtra v Karnataka in Mumbai Tamil Nadu v Bengal in Bangalore

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