A round-up of the Ranji Trophy matches played on Saturday
Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, on Saturday, qualified for the quarter-finals after gaining three and one point respectively from their drawn Ranji Trophy Group A match at Belagavi in Karnataka.
Kaushik Gandhi's double ton and Vijay Shankar's century helped Tamil Nadu garner three points, owing to their first innings lead, and grab the third position in the points-table of Group A.
Tamil Nadu and Gujarat now are tied at 26 points, four points behind table-toppers Mumbai after eight matches. Gujarat are placed second after winning two and drawing five out of the eight matches. Their game against Bengal was abandoned due to smog in Delhi.
In reply to Gujarat's first innings score of 307, Tamil Nadu scored 580 for six declared, with Gandhi and Shankar hogging the limelight by scoring 202 and 102, respectively.
The foundation, earlier, was laid by opener Abhinav Mukund who missed his century by one run after he was dismissed by R B Kalaria on second day of the match. For Gujarat, opener Priyank Panchal was the top-scorer with 113 uns off 180 balls which was laced with 15 hits to the fence.
Gandhi's dogged innings was studded with 25 boundaries which he bludgeoned in his 538-ball knock. Shankar's 102 came off in 233 balls with 13 hits to the fence.
Even Baba Aparajith joined the bonhomie by scoring a resplendent 54 off 156 balls with three boundaries to his credit.
Soon after Tamil Nadu declared their innings, the umpires, after consulting with the captains, called off the match, which ended in a tame draw.
Earlier resuming at 397-4 on day four, Tamil Nadu crossed the 400-mark in the third over of the morning session. Soon after Shankar, who was batting at an overnight score of 35, raced to his half century off 131 balls.
Tamil Nadu piled up 450 runs in 177th over and posted 480 for four at lunch, but not before losing Shankar retired hurt.
In the post-lunch session, Gandhi, who was in supreme form, cracked his double ton of the match, which came off in 533 balls.
However, Gandhi could not stay longer as soon after his double ton, he lost his wicket when the score was 496 in the 195th over. The 26-year-old right-handed batsman was cleaned up by H P Patel.
Tamil Nadu breached the 500-run mark and soon after Aparajith, who had walked in place of a hurt Shankar, raced to his half century in 135 balls.
Tamil Nadu lost their sixth wicket at 522 runs, after Aswin Crist made eight runs, who was caught by substitute Karan Patel off H P Patel.
Shankar, who revisited the crease, completed his century in 226 balls, with R Aushil Srinivas remaining unbeaten on zero.
Brief Score: Gujarat 1st innings: 307 vs Tamil Nadu 1st innings: 580/6d in 229 overs (KM Gandhi
202; RB Kalaria 2/47).
Tiwary reaches 7000 runs on a farcical final day
New Delhi: Skipper Manoj Tiwary's personal milestone of 7000 first-class runs was the only highlight on inconsequential final day of the group league encounter between Bengal and Madhya Pradesh, that ended in a draw.
With Gujarat and Tamil Nadu all but assured of a quarter-final berth by the end of the third day, the final day at the Aiforce ground was only of academic interest.
With rescheduling of their smog-affected match against Gujarat being revoked, Bengal ended with 21 points from 8 games while MP finished a notch below at 20.
Bengal's chances had also evaporated once MP had saved the follow-on on the third day.
For the record, Bengal got three points by virtue of their first innings lead of 115 runs after bowling out MP for 370 in reply to their 475.
Pacer Sayan Ghosh (5/94) recorded his best figures.
With no pressure on them Abhishek Raman (91) and Prasenjit Das (72) added 155 for the opening stand. The match was called off the moment Tiwary reached his 50.
Tiwary now has Sourav Ganguly (15,687), Pankaj Roy (11,868), Arun Lal (10,421), Ashok Malhotra (9784 runs) ahead of him. However Ganguly's tally has substantial contribution from Test cricket also and even Roy, who scored 2000 plus runs in five-day format.
Lal and Malhotra -- Bengal's pillars through mid 80's to mid 90's also scored a chunk of their runs for Delhi, Haryana respectively apart from a few that they score.
While Bengal has had some new talent but may be for the umpteenth time in the last 11 years, Tiwary again emerged as the highest scorer in the season with 643 runs while the next best Sudip Chatterjee (557) is nearly 100 runs behind.
The likes of Abhianyu Easwaran and Sayan Sekhar Mondal failed to shine when they played bigger teams like Mumbai and Tamil Nadu.
Shreevats Goswami (492 runs) played an absolute gem against MP but one would have expected more such knocks from him. Had he been able to take Bengal past finishing line in a low scoring thriller at Lahli, it would have been a different situation but he lacked support at the other end.
Ditto with the bowling where Ashok Dinda (39 wickets) was cut above rest with rookie Amit Kuila (20) much behind him.
Having past his prime and not really firing with his altered action, Pragyan Ojha's 10 wickets from six matches also affected Bengal's chances.
Skipper Tiwary did not name anyone but said that they could not capitalise on situations. Not winning at Lahli against Baroda, giving away 30 plus runs against Tamil Nadu and not being able to dismiss lower order of Mumbai with 50 overs at their disposal meant that Bengal were not among the eight best states in the National Championship.
"There were moments we needed to seize but we could not.But it's a positive that we have young team which has potential. This is a team for the future. But we need to grab the chances," Tiwary told reporters at the end of the match.
Brief Scores: Bengal 475 and 261/2 (Abhishek Raman 91, Prasenjit Das 72, Manoj Tiwary 50 no) vs MP 370 (Ankit Sharma 94, Rajat Patidar 86, Sayan Ghosh 5/94).
Points: Bengal 3; MP 1.
UP bag three points in drawn Ranji game against Baroda
Nashik: Uttar Pradesh bagged three points on the back of their first innings lead in a drawn Group A Ranji Trophy game against Baroda at the Gold Club ground.
UP, who were put into bat, made 481 in the first innings. Baroda were bundled out for 458 in the first innings as the Suresh Raina led side managed to take a 23 runs lead.
UP, who resumed their second innings on 117/0, added 300 more runs to the total before declaring it on 417/3, as the opposition bowlers were taken to task.
Opener Shivam Choudhary made a patient 124 off 225 balls, a knock comprising 17 boundaries and a six. He was ably supported by Almas Shaukat, who made a gritty 91 before being caught by wicket-keeper Viraj Bhosale.
The duo stitched a 197 run stand for the opening wicket. One down Akshdeep Nath also frustrated the Baroda bowlers as he brought up his ton and remained unbeaten on 107 off 142 balls.
Rinku Singh remained unbeaten on 83 on a pitch assisting the batsman.
For Baroda, Rishi Arothe picked up two wickets.
Brief Scores: UP 481 and 417/3 d) vs Baroda (458).
Points: UP 3 , Baroda 1.
Odisha sneak into QF after Delhi lose thriller vs Saurashtra
Vadodara: Delhi, one of the most heavyweight teams of the domestic circuit, today made an inglorious exit from the Ranji Trophy losing to Saurashtra by 4 runs in their final group B league encounter.
Delhi's (21 points from 8 games) loss meant that Odisha with 22 points made it to the quarter-final along with their eastern zone neighbours Jharkhand (32) in the last eight stage of the competition.
While both teams will play their final group league encounter against each other, the result of the matches will not change the position as Jharkhand and Odisha will finish second and third respectively.
Karnataka (37 points) topped the group B while Mumbai (30), Gujarat (26) and Tamil Nadu (26) qualified from group A.
Hyderabad (31) and Haryana (31) completed the quarter-final tally from group C.
Starting the day at 109 for 4, Delhi needed 167 runs on the final day to keep themselves in the hunt for a last eight berth but were all out for 271.
What would hurt Delhi more is the fact that they got Saurashtra all-out for 99 in the first innings and also got a handy lead of 145 runs.
The failure of the bowlers to get the last five batsmen out quickly was the reason Gambhir and his boys paid dearly.
But batting mainstay Rishabh Pant (29) coud add only 10 runs before pacer Saurya Sanadia (5/93) got him caught by Kamlesh Makvana.
In trouble at 143 for five, Manan Sharma (46) and Milind Kumar (55) added 77 runs for the sixth wicket as Delhi looked on course for six points. But once the stodgy Milind who played 165 balls in four hours was gone, Delhi were in trouble again. India discard Jaydev Unadkat made it 226 for 7 with Manan gone.
Pradeep Sangwan (24) waged a lone battle but as pacer Kushang Patel (4/83 and match haul of 9 wickets) blew away the lower order.
It has been a woeful season for Delhi where save Rishabh Pant (972 runs), there was no notable performer. Pant also missed out on a chance to prove his detractors that he can score runs on tracks which are not conducive for batting and in situations where the team is in a spot of bother.
But Pant can't be blamed as team's condition could be gauged by the amount of runs the next best batsman scored.
The second highest scorer Milind Kumar (485 runs) did not even score half the runs.
Skipper Gautam Gambhir (235 from 5 games) and Shikhar Dhawan (125 from 3 games) returning from injury proved to be big disappointments for Delhi. Not to forget immensely gifted Unmukt Chand (366), who had only one big score to show for his efforts.
The biggest disappointment were bowlers with lefft-arm spinner Manan Sharma (18 wickets from 8 games) getting bulk of opportunities but could not produce even one match winning performance.
Navdeep Saini's injury also affected the team's balance with Pradeep Sangwan (15 wickets) looking the most impressive. Sangwan also scored 210 runs with the bat.
It would be interesting to see whether coach KP Bhaskar can retain his job till the end of the season with two tournaments -- Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy still to go.
Brief Scores: Saurashtra 92 and 420 vs Delhi 237 and (target 275) 271 (Milind Kumar 55, Rishabh
Pant 29, Saurya Sanadia 5/93, Kushang Patel 4/83).
Points: Delhi 0; Saurashtra 6.