A distinct lack of application by the Delhi batsmen helped Sanjay Bangar-led Railways win an exciting sixth round Ranji Trophy Super League (Group A) encounter by 22 runs, at the Roshanara Club ground in New Delhi.
Chasing a modest victory target of 136, Delhi batsmen failed to show any stomach for fight on a seaming track as they were shot out for 113 in only 44.2 overs.
Rarely does one find a side end up on a losing note when its opener has scored 151 (Unmukt Chand) in the first innings and new-ball bowler (Sumit Narwal) has taken seven wickets in an innings.
But on a track where it would have been a test of technique, the middle-order couldn't apply themselves when all they required was one good partnership.
The defeat means that Delhi who stay put on 13 points will now face defending champions Mumbai in a do-or-die encounter at the Roshanara next Wednesday.
Even Railways who registered their first outright win are on 11 points and will fancy an outside chance of making it to the knockout stage with a match against Bengal still left.
Resuming on their overnight score of 48 for four, a lot depended on the two overnight batsmen Rajat Bhatia (13) and Gaurav Chhabra (7) but both succumbed to the pressure created due to some disciplined bowling by Anureet Singh (4/53), JP Yadav (3/39).
The duo bowled in the right areas and let the pitch do the rest. First Chhabra was caught in the slips by Faiz Fazal off Anureet and then JP dismissed Bhatia whose footwork was circumspect during his 69-minute stay at the wicket. He was taken in the gully by Shreyas Khanolkar.
At 76 for six, Sumit Narwal with a brisk 39(58 balls, 5x4) tried his best but there wasn't much support from the other end save for a brief period when Narwal and Pradeep Sangwan (9) added 24 runs for the eighth wicket.
Once Sangwan was caught at forward short leg by Faiz off Harshaw Rawle, Narwal ran out of patience.
It was good thinking by skipper Bangar that led to Narwal's dismissal in the 44th over. With Vikas Mishra at the other end, Narwal hit a boundary off the third delivery and refused singles on the other four deliveries.
Having a look at the vacant thirdman area, the southpaw tried to guide the last delivery of the over only managing to edge it to Mahesh Rawat who took a smart catch behind the stumps.
In the next over, Mishra was run-out as Railways completed one of their most memorable victories in the Ranji Trophy.
Haryana survive to draw against Punjab
Left-arm spinner Rajwinder Singh scalped four wickets but Punjab still couldn't register an outright win as Haryana finished their second innings at 220 for eight on the fourth and final day to draw their Ranji Trophy Super League match.
By virtue of their first innings lead, Punjab pocketed three crucial points but still remained at the fifth place in the Group B points table behind Haryana.
Rajwinder took the wickets of R Dewan (37), Hemang Badani (47), Sachin Rana (36) and Joginder Sharma (29) to ignite hopes of a win but Haryana managed to cling on to deny them an outright victory.
Earlier, resuming at 144/3, Punjab declared their second innings at 232/6, setting a victory target of 378 at the Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium.
Punjab overnight batsmen Mandeep Singh (84) and Uday Kaul (80 not out) started off well but pacer Dhruv Singh produced a brilliant spell to dismiss the former in the 51st over, before removing Jaskaran Singh (2) and MS Gony (10).
Kaul, however, was a pillar of strength at the other end.
The 23-year-old blasted seven fours in his innings as Punjab declared their second innings at 232 for six in 60 overs.
Needing 378 to win, Haryana had a disastrous start as they lost opener Nitin Saina (0) in the third ball when he was cleaned up by Gony.
Gony also dismissed Sunny Singh in the seventh over, while Bharat Loomba removed A Rawat (13) to reduce Haryana to 36 for three in the 12th over.
Dewan and Badani tried to stem the rot with a 80-run fourth wicket partnership but once they were gone, the scare of a defeat loomed large over Haryana.
Rana (36) then came up with a 48-run stand with Pradeep Sahu to help Haryana survive the scare as the match ended in a draw.
Tiwary double ton keeps Bengal alive
Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary led from the front to score a career best 233 not out as the visitors managed to log home three points against Saurashtra in their crucial Ranji Trophy Super League Group A encounter at the Khanderi Stadium in Rajkot, on Saturday.
Bengal now have 12 points from six matches and would like to go for the kill against Railways in the final encounter which will be played at the Karnail Singh Stadium in New Delhi from Wednesday. Saurashtra meanwhile are all but relegated to Plate division.
Tiwary, who batted close to 10 hours hit 20 boundaries and two sixes facing 405 deliveries in the process as Bengal scored 569 for seven in reply to Saurashtra's first innings score of 423. His previous best was 210 against Mumbai in the 2006-07 season.
The Bengal captain started from where he left on Friday but with 128 runs still to get, he was choosy about his shot selection. If Tiwary deserves credit for guiding Bengal, off-spinner Sourashis Lahiri should also be praised for notching up his maiden first-class ton as he hit 103 (202 balls, 12x4, 2x6)and adding 209 runs for the seventh wicket which proved to be decisive in the end.
Resuming at 295 for five -- Tiwary and former captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla (45) added 66 runs for the sixth wicket and in the process safely played out the first hour.
But Shukla's impetuosity cost him as he tried to hoist off-spinner Kamlesh Makvana and was stumped by Sagar Jogiyani.
However with nothing much in the pitch, it was easy for Lahiri to settle down alongside Tiwary as they ensured three points for Bengal.
Saurya Sanandiya (4/97) returned with the best figures for Saurashtra while Jayesh Odedra, Sitanshu Kotak and Makvana got a wicket each.
Karnataka-Baroda match ends in draw
Rakesh Solanki and Ambati Rayudu thwarted Karnataka's push for a win with an unbeaten 63-run stand for the fourth wicket as Baroda scored 151 for three in their second innings on the fourth and final day to draw their Ranji Trophy Super League match in Mysore.
Karnataka, who had an 88-run first innings lead, delayed their declaration which they eventually did after scoring 391 for eight as they played 23 overs today at the Gangothri Glades Cricket Ground.
The home side did not have enough overs to bowl out Baroda who were set an impossible target of 480 to win and the match ended in a draw.
Karnataka collected three points by virtue of their first innings lead while Baroda got one.
Resuming their second innings at 302 for four, already a lead of 390, batsmen Amit Verma (80) and Stuart Binny (70) added just three and 10 runs to their overnight score of 77 and 60 respectively before falling in quick succession.
When Binny was out, Karnataka were 316 for six in their second innings and had taken an overall lead of 404 but they did not declare and continued batting.
Captain Vinay Kumar remained not out on 50 and Sreenath Aravind on three when Karnataka finally declared at 391 for eight.
In their second innings, Baroda were reduced to 88 for three when Jaykishan Kolsawala was out for 42 but Solanki and Rayudu ensured that the match ended in a draw.
Orissa get three vital points
Orissa earned three vital points on the basis of their first innings lead as their rain-marred Ranji Trophy Super League (Group B) match against Himachal Pradesh ended in a tame draw in Cuttack.
For Himachal Pradesh, pacer Rishi Dhawan (five for 63) bowled well but that wasn't enough to restrict Orissa from taking a lead of 27 runs ensuring three points in the process.
With incessant rains playing spoilsport on all three days, the outcome of the match was more or less predictable.
While the first day's play was completely washed out, only 37 overs were possible on the second day, while play was possible only after tea break on Friday.
Orissa seamers Basant Mohanty and Alok Sahoo had wreaked havoc in Himachal Pradesh's first innings as the hosts restricted the visitors to paltry 163.
On the final day, Orissa started their innings on a confident note with openers Paresh Patel (55) and Natraj Behara (13) adding 36 runs for the first wicket.
Dhawan had Behera caught behind by wicketkeeper Manvinder Bisla in the 8th over of the innings.
Next in Niranjan Behera (35) shared a valuable 87-run partnership with Paresh to take the team's total past 100-mark before getting retired hurt.
After Niranjan, Orissa fumbled in their reply as pace duo of Dhawan and Vikramjeet Malik (two for 60) triggered a batting collapse to reduce them from a comfortable 123 for one to 152 for five.
Biplab Samantray (35) showed some late resistance, which helped the team cross Himachal Pradesh's paltry first innings total of 163.
Orissa declared their innings at 190 for 8 after the departure of Samantray, who hit 4 boundaries.
In reply, Himachal were 25 for one in their second essay when play was called off.
Tamil Nadu earn three points over Mumbai
Tamil Nadu gained three points on the basis of 109-run first innings lead over Mumbai as their rain-affected Ranji Trophy Elite Group A match ended in a draw in Chennai.
Tamil Nadu, overnight 149 for 4, ended their first innings at 347 all out and at close Mumbai were 13 for two in 15 overs.
The three points took Tamil Nadu's tally to 14, while Mumbai lead the table with 21 after six outings.
A 115-run partnership between K Shrivasudevadas (99) and Rajagopal Sathish (44) proved to be the cornerstone of Tamil Nadu innings as the duo batted steadily to take their team within striking distance of a first innings lead.
Shrivasudevadas missed a deserving century, but his knock of 99 of 173-ball (11x4) helped Tamil Nadu hold the initiative for obtaining the first innings lead.
Lakshmipathy Balaji chipped in with a solid 41 of 56 balls (4x4, 1x6).
18-year old left-arm Mumbai spinner Harmeet Singh bowled impressively to claim 5 for 86.
Gujarat gain vital first innings lead
Gujarat earned three vital points thanks to a superb five wicket haul by medium pacer Ishwar Choudhury as their Ranji Trophy Super League match against Assam ended in a draw on Guwahati.
On the last day's play at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, Choudhury returned figures of five for 116 and despite a gritty 90 by Assam skipper Amal Majumdar the home team folded up for 273 giving 114-run first innings lead to the visitors.
Gujarat were all out for 387 in their first innings.