Virender Sehwag's decision to continue batting at No 3 did not make much of a difference to his poor form, but defending champions Delhi did enough to beat Jammu and Kashmir by 38 runs in the opening fixture in the North Zone leg of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, on Thursday.
Delhi scored 256 for eight in 50 overs after being put in to bat, on a typical low and slow Feroze Shah Kotla wicket, with skipper Gautam Gambhir scoring 58 and adding 99 runs in an opening stand with Unmukt Chand (42).
While Sehwag, who came in at No 3, scored only 15, Puneet Bisht (39) and Sumit Narwal (22) threw their bats around as the last couple of overs produced around 40 runs.
In reply, Jammu and Kashmir had a rollicking start, with Adil Rishi (36) and Shubham Khajuria (46) adding 72 runs in 11 overs for the second wicket. However, their inexperience showed as they were all out for 218 in 45.4 overs.
Once Rasool (30) was dismissed, J&K did not have much of a chance.
Opting to field on a slowish track, Jammu and Kashmir, led by their skipper Parveez Rasool (2-52) and left-arm spinner Waseem Raza (3-58) did well in the middle-overs when stroke-making was extremely difficult.
Skipper Gambhir, however, displayed good touch as he hit seven crisp boundaries in his 79-ball innings.
Playing on a substandard track, not conducive for good stroke-play, the left-hander waited for the loose deliveries and completed his 50 with a late cut off Rasool.
He, however, removed both openers.
While Unmukt was bowled trying to whip the offie across the line, Gambhir got a faster delivery and was rapped on the pads, trying to play the cut shot with very little room for it.
Sehwag played an exquisite square cut, but when tall left-arm slow bowler Raza fired one in the blockhole, he tried to dig it out. The bowler timed his spot jump nicely to take a neat return catch.
In another match of the North Zone leg, Haryana beat Punjab by seven runs in a 32-overs-a-side affair.
Batting first, Haryana scored 153 for eight and then restricted Punjab to 146 for eight.
The third match of the zone saw hosts Services beat Himachal Pradesh by 11 runs.
Delhi: 256-8 in 50 overs (Gautam Gambhir 58, Virender Sehwag 15, Unmukt Chand 42, Waseem Raza 3-58, Parveez Rasool 2/52)
Jammu & Kashmir: 218 in 45.4 overs (Shubham Khajuria 46, Parveez Rasool 30, Hardeep Singh 45).
Haryana: 153-8 in 32 overs (Avi Barot 55, MS Gony 4-39)
Punjab: 146-8 in 32 overs (Gurinder Singh 38, Gurkeerat Singh 31, Joginder Sharma 5-22).
Services: 233-9 in 50 overs (Devender Lochab 73, Rajat Palliwal 41)
Himachal Pradesh: 222 in 48.5 overs (Sumeet Verma 60).
Baroda thrash Mumbai
Baroda rode on a splendid century from Kedar Devdhar and a collective bowling effort, led by Irfan Pathan, to beat formidable Mumbai by 44 runs in the opening match of the West Zone leg, in Rajkot.
They first amassed 346 for 3 off their stipulated 50 overs and then restricted Mumbai at 302 at the Madhavrao Scindia cricket ground.
Opting to bat first, Devdhar and Saurabh Wakaskar laid a solid foundation, adding 152 runs for the opening wicket, before the latter was dismissed after scoring 63 runs.
Devdhar, who completed his century off 109 balls, then added another 106 runs with Adiya Waghmode (42).
The opener was finally dismissed after scoring 148. He faced 137 balls and hit 19 fours and a six during his stay at the crease.
Baroda captain Yusuf Pathan hit a quickfire 53 that came off 34 runs with three fours and four sixes.
For Mumbai, pacer Shardul Thakur took two wickets, conceding 59 runs.
Chasing a stiff target of 347, Mumbai were restricted at 302 for 9. Shoeb Shaikh and Sushant Marathe gave them a flying start, adding 98 runs in less than 18 overs.
Middle-order batsmen Bravish Shetty (22), Surya Kumar Yadav (33) and Sujit Nayak (23) started well but failed to come up with big knocks, while Abhishek Nayar was unbeaten on 65.
For Baroda, left-arm medium pacer Irfan Pathan took three wickets for 45 runs. He was well-supported by Ketan Panchal and Murtuza Vahora, who picked two wickets each.
Baroda: 346-3 (Kedar Devdhar 148, Saurabh Wakaskar 63, Yusuf Pathan not out 53; Shardul Thakur 2-59).
Mumbai: 302-9 (Sushant Marathe 77, Abhishek Nayar not out 65; Irfan Pathan 3-45, Ketan Panchal 2-51).
Karnataka, Tamil Nadu win
Karnataka inflicted a crushing six-wicket defeat on Andhra Pradesh in the South Zone leg.
An all-round performance ensured them an easy victory, as their batsmen and bowlers fired in unison at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.
Andhra, sent in to bat, were bundled out for 97, thanks to inspired bowling by captain Vinay Kumar, Abhimanyu Mithun and Manish Pandey.
Karnataka, in reply, reached the target after losing their four top batsmen, including openers Robin Uthappa and Lokesh Rahul.
Uthappa tore apart the Andhra attack, scripting a quick 54 off 69 balls, inclusive of seven boundaries and a six.
His partner, Rahul (21), in contrast, played a sedate innings.
After Uthappa and Rahul put on an 81-run opening stand in just 17 overs, Karnataka looked set for an easy win, but subsequently lost two more wickets at the same score in the form of Uthappa and Pandey (0).
Satish Ganesh was the fourth batsman to get out.
K Harish and B Sudhakar bagged two wickets each for the visitors.
Earlier, Vinay returned figures of three for nine and Pandey, who brought some variety into the bowling, ended with three for 25.
Mithun bagged two prized wickets after conceding 31 runs in seven overs. Ronit More and Abrar Kazi scalped one each.
Andhra were tottering at 46 for five inside 12 overs after Vinay and Mithun removed K S Bharat (25), A D Pradeep (0), D B Prashanth Kumar (0) and B A Sumanth (6).
In another match, Tamil Nadu defeated Goa by seven wickets, with the help of a half century by Murali Vijay.
Choosing to bat, Goa were all out for 122 all out in 36.2 overs, with H H Gadekar (26) being the top scorer.
In reply, Tamil Nadu cruised after Vijay (66 not out) and Babu Apparajith (18) put on 60 runs for the second wicket.
In another match, Hyderabad defeated Kerala by nine wickets after they chased down a small target of 108.
Image: Virender Sehwag
Photograph: Graham Crouch/Getty Images