A round-up of the fourth and final day's play in the Ranji Trophy matches across the country.
Dhruv Shorey's counter-attacking hundred set up a fitting final hour, but old warhorse Shahbaz Nadeem's second five-wicket haul enabled Jharkhand to oust Delhi from quarter-final contention after a thrilling 15-run victory in the final over of their Ranji Trophy Group H encounter, Guwahati, on Sunday.
Shorey should be credited for his superb 136 off 177 balls that kept Delhi in hunt for a tough target of 335 before they wilted under pressure during the final half-an-hour when Nadeem (5/83 in 31 overs) and fellow-left-arm orthodox spinner Anukul Roy (2/71 in 20.4 overs) brilliantly closed down run-scoring opportunities.
Delhi skipper Pradeep Sangwan was coolly stumped by debutant wicketkeeper Kumar Kushagra after he failed to get going.
Nadeem's 10-wicket match haul ensured that Jharkhand, with six points, stayed in contention for a knockout berth.
They lock horns with Tamil Nadu (6 points) in their last game.
However, both teams will hope that Delhi at least stops current group toppers Chattisgarh (7 points and current group toppers) from going beyond a point.
For Delhi, the tournament is as good as over and only seven points (including a bonus) against Chattisgarh will give them a slim chance in theory.
On the day, Jharkhand skipper Virat Singh declared at 307 for 7, leaving Delhi with a target of 335 in just over two-and-half sessions.
It was Shorey who attacked Jharkhand new ball bowlers to collect boundaries at will, as 60 came in little over 10 overs.
Delhi’s batters ran more than 120 singles, courtesy Shorey, who also had 17 fours and two sixes to his credit. It was a back-foot punch through the covers that got him his second century in as many matches.
He added 60 with Yash Dhull (19), 65 with Himmat Singh (34) for the fourth wicket and another 87 with the stodgy Jonty Sidhu (59) for the fifth wicket.
However, Shorey, while trying to up the ante in the final session, couldn't time a back-foot pull off a Nadeem delivery and Vikas Vishal took a well-judged catch at the wide long-on boundary.
Once Shorey was gone, Jonty did well with Lalit Yadav (17) for a brief while before Nadeem tossed one up and the left-hander was stumped for the second time in the game by debutant Kushagra.
Even then, at 289 for 6, Delhi, with 46 runs to get, looked in control but Lalit going for a non-existent third run was found short when Kushagra collected one neatly from the deep and threw down the stumps at the non-striker's end.
Strangely, Sangwan played a lot of dot balls and towards the end it seemed that he was happy with a point when it would have been of little help.
Tamil Nadu fail to win outright vs Chattisgarh
Tamil Nadu stayed in the hunt for a quarter-final berth with a first innings lead against Chattisgarh but they will regret the fact that only three came from the game instead of six despite them enforcing the follow-on.
Having scored 470 in the first innings, Tamil Nadu couldn't get Chattisgarh all out as they ended on 172 for 8, getting a point and maintaining top position in the group with seven points.
It was skipper Harpreet Singh Bhatia (43 not out of 162 balls), who again defied the Tamil Nadu spinners who shared the spoils with left-armers Ravi Srinivasan Sai Kishore and M Siddharth, both of whom got three wickets each. The seasoned Baba Aparajith got two wickets.
Jharkhand 251 and 307/7 decl (Kumar Suraj 131 not out, Nazim Siddiqui 110, Nistish Rana 3/47) vs Delhi 224 and (target 335) 319 all out (Dhruv Shorey 136, Jonty Sidhu 59, Shahbaz Nadeem 5/83).
Jharkhand 6 points; Delhi 0
Tamil Nadu 470 vs Chattisgarh 304 (Harpreet Bhatia 170 not out) and (following-on) 172/8 (Harpreet Bhatia 43 not otu, R Sai Kishore 3/44, M Siddharth 3/48).
Tamil Nadu 3 points, Chattisgarh 1.
Mulani’s all-round show takes Mumbai to top of Group D
Ahmedabad: Left-arm spinner Shams Mulani singlehandedly carried Mumbai to the top of the points table as the 44-time champions thrashed Goa by 119 runs after having conceded a 164-run first-innings lead in their Group D match.
Mulani had match figures of 11 for 167 (6/107 and 5/60) along with a crucial half-century and a 116-run ninth-wicket stand with fellow-spinner Tanush Kotian (98 and 4 wickets) that took Mumbai to 395 for 9, leaving Goa with a tricky 232-run chase on the final day.
Goa managed only 112 runs in 48 overs, conceding full six points to the heavyweights.
Mumbai are on top of Group D with nine points from two games while Saurashtra, by virtue of an innings victory, got seven against Odisha and are second with eight points.
Saurashtra play Goa in the last game and will be gunning for at least seven points.
If Mumbai get six against Odisha they will be level with Saurashtra on 15 points.
Mulani and Kotian snared eight wickets between them on a surface where there were no demons. There was turn that is expected on a fourth day surface but no uneven bounce that mainly causes trouble.
It's the famous Mumbai willpower of fighting with their backs to the wall that saw them first gather momentum with a good second innings score and then come out all guns blazing as Prithvi Shaw gave the new ball to Mulani.
Saurashtra beat Odisha by an innings
Left-arm spinner Dharmendra Singh Jadeja got seven 7 for 88 to end with 11 wickets as Saurashtra blanked Odisha by an innings and 131 runs in their match.
Saurshtra scored 501 in their first innings and bowled out Odisha for 165 and 205 in their two essays to log home seven points.
Mumbai 163 and 395/9 (Tanush Kotian 98, Shams Mulani 50, Ajinkya Rahane 56) vs Goa 327 and 112 (Shams Mulani 5/60).
Mumbai 6 points, Goa 0.
Saurashtra 501 vs Odisha 165 and 205 (Dharmendra Jadeja 7/88).
Saurashtra 7 points, Odisha 0.
Kunnummal stars as Kerala stun Gujarat
Rajkot: Kerala rode on opener Rohan Kunnummal's aggressive unbeaten hundred to stun Gujarat by eight wickets in their Elite Group A Ranji Trophy match.
Chasing a stiff 214 for a win, Kerala lost opener Rahul P (7) cheaply, but Rohan Kunnummal (106 not out off 87 balls) and skipper Sachin Baby (62; 5x4; 2x6) had different plans as they pummelled the Gujarat attack to submission at the Saurashtra Cricket Association stadium.
The two forged a vital 143-run stand in just 135 balls for the second wicket to take Kerala closer to victory.
While Kunnummal was the more aggressive one, Baby played his part to perfection. When Baby was dismissed by Siddharth Desai, Kerala needed just 44 runs.
Kunnummal, who hammered 12 boundaries and three maximums, then led the team home in company of Salman Nazir (28 not out; 2x4, 2x6) in just 35.4 overs.
Kunnummal, who also scored a century in the first essay, was adjudged the player of the match.
Kerala bagged all six points on offer.
Earlier, Kerala first shot out Gujarat for 388 before gaining a slender first innings lead as they were bowled out for 439 in their first essay, riding on centuries by Kunnummal and Vishnu Vinod.
Kerala’s bowlers had reduced Gujarat to 84/5, with pacer Basil Thampi (2/45) wreaking havoc at the beginning.
However, Gujarat’s lower-order batters Karan Patel (81 off 150 balls) and Umang Rohitkumar (70 off 175 balls) conjured a 138-run stand for the sixth wicket to post a fighting total.
But once left-arm spinner Sijoman Joseph (3/48) dismissed Karan Patel, the other Kerala bowlers ran through the Gujarat tail to eventually bundle them out for 264 in their second essay.
It was Gujarat's second successive defeat, after they lost to Madhya Pradesh in the lung-opener, and hence cannot make the knock-outs.
Gujarat 388 and 264 (Karan Patel 81, Umang Rohitkumar 70; Jalaj Saxena 4/57, Sijoman Joseph 3/48) vs Kerala 439 and 214/2 (Rohan Kunnummal 106 not out, Sachin Baby 63; Chintan Gaja 1/42).
Kerala won by 8 wickets.
Punjab rout Haryana, rise to top of Group F
New Delhi: Punjab’s bowlers impressed after a superlative batting effort from Mandeep Singh and Anmol Malhotra to set up an easy 10-wicket victory over Haryana in their Ranji Trophy Elite Group F match, at Arun Jaitley stadium.
Resuming the day on 149 for 4 after following on, Haryana’s second innings folded after the addition of just 54 runs, as the trio of Baltej Singh (3/17), Siddharth Kaul (2/75) and Abhishek Sharma (3/15) ran through their batting to set Punjab an easy target of 42 runs.
In reply, Punjab hit up the required runs in 8.5 overs. Prabhismaran Singh (25 not out) and Abhishek Sharma (20 not out) sealing victory with a bonus point.
Punjab climbed to the top Group F with 10 points, while Himachal Pradesh remained second with eight points.
Earlier, Mandeep Singh struck an unbeaten 159 while wicketkeeper-batter Anmol Malhotra (100) also slammed a century as Punjab notched a mammoth 444 in their first innings.
Haryana skipper Himanshu Rana slammed 149 to keep his side in the game but Baltej Singh and Siddharth Kaul shared seven wickets between them to bundle Haryana out for 282 as Punjab enforced a follow-on.
Baltej returned with a match haul of seven wickets, while Siddharth Kaul finished with five wickets.
Punjab 444 and 45 for no loss in 8.5 overs vs Haryana 282 and (following on) 203 all out in 59.5 overs (Nishant Sindhu 57, Yashu Sharma 32; Abhishek Sharma 3/15, Baltej Singh 3/17). Punjab won by 10 wickets.
Punjab 7 points, Haryana 0.
Shahbaz's all-round show earns Bengal second straight win
Cuttack: Bengal again rode on Shahbaz Ahmed's all-round effort to thrash Hyderabad by 72 runs at Barabati stadium, for their second successive victory in the Ranji Trophy.
Fresh from scripting Bengal's epic turnaround against Baroda in their previous Group B match, the left-arm spin bowling all-rounder followed up his gritty second innings 51 with fine figures of 16-5-41-3.
Pacer Akash Deep was the wrecker-in-chief (13.2-2-41-4) as Hyderabad, who were overnight 16 for three in their pursuit of 239, folded for 166 inside two sessions.
Mukesh Kumar (2/49) and Ishan Porel (1/20) were also among the wickets as Bengal (12 points) went past Hyderabad to occupy the top spot in Group B with a match left.
Mumbai Indians' Rs 1.7 crore IPL 2022 buyout Tilak Varma (90 from 152 balls; 9x4, 1x6) waged a lone battle for Hyderabad after Himalay Agarwal's first ball dismissal by Akash Deep on the final day.
Playing his third Ranji match, the 19-year-old looked at ease and threatened to steal the show from Bengal before Akash Deep ended his dogged resistance, dismissing him 10 runs shy of a maiden first-class century.
Hyderabad's second innings folded in 61.2 overs.
Left-hander Varma, who was overnight 11, shared 42 runs with wicketkeeper-batter Prateek Reddy (19) before putting together 27 runs with Buddhi Rahul (17).
Just when Hyderabad looked settled with Prateek and Varma making steady progress, Shahbaz got into the act in his very first over of the day and cleaned up the former.
Akash Deep, at the other end, provided another breakthrough, dismissing Buddhi Rahul, as a collapse looked imminent before skipper T Ravi Teja gave a fine support to Varma.
The duo added 49 runs from 91 balls as Hyderabad inched closer, needing 105 runs when Shahbaz turned it around with his twin blow in successive overs.
Shahbaz broke the partnership by dismissing the Hyderabad skipper for 23.
In his next over, he castled Tanay Thyagarajan for a duck.
Varma continued his resistance with the tail-enders as Bengal kept rotating the bowlers before Akash Deep finally sealed the proceedings.
For Shahbaz, who was bought back by Royal Challengers Bangalore for Rs 2.40 crore, this was his second man-of-the-match show on the trot.
"I am obviously enjoying my role. I have been playing the role of an all-rounder for a long time now, always prepared to give my best for my team.
"I come to bat at seven for Bengal; it's always a crucial spot and I am very happy that I am able to perform well for Bengal," said Shahbaz, who scored 40 and 51 and took four wickets.
In the last match against Baroda, Shahbaz scored a 71 not out in the second innings to turn it around for Bengal after they were shot out for 88 in the first innings.
"The team is upbeat; we are confident about our bowling and batting. We'll give everything to win the next."
Bengal will take on Chandigarh in their final round Group B fixture from March 3.
Bengal 242 and 201 vs Hyderabad 205 and 166; 61.2 overs (Tilak Varma 90, Ravi Teja 23; Akash Deep 4/41, Shahbaz Ahmed 3/41).
Bengal won by 72 runs.
Bengal 6 points, Hyderabad 0.
At Vikas Cricket Ground: Chandigarh 168 and 473/7; 136 overs (Ankit Kaushik 105 not out, Harnoor Singh 86, Arslan Khan 72, Manan Vohra 64; Bhargav Bhatt 3/133, Abhimanyusingh Rajput 2/68) vs Baroda 517. Match drawn.
Baroda 3 points, Chandigarh 1.
Karnataka thrash J&K; Railways get 3 points from draw vs Pondicherry
Chennai: Karnataka posted an emphatic 117-run victory over Jammu and Kashmir while Railways had to settle for first innings points against Pondicherry on the fourth and final day of their Ranji Trophy Elite Group C matches.
India pacer Prasidh Krishna, who picked six wickets in the first innings, bagged four more scalps to end with a 10-wicket haul (10 for 94) as Karnataka bowled out J&K for 390 despite a stubborn century by captain Ian Dev Singh Chauhan (110 off 188 balls, 15 fours, 2 sixes).
Resuming at the overnight score of 190 for 4, J&K continued to fight through Ian Dev Singh and Abdul Samad, who scored a belligerent 70 (78 balls, 6 fours, 5 sixes).
The two added 143 runs for the fifth wicket to defy the Karnataka attack.
Samad was the first to go, caught behind by keeper Sharath off K Gowtham, who later got the skipper leg-before wicket.
Veteran Parvez Rasool (46) and Abid Musthaq kept the Karnataka bowlers at bay with a 70-run eighth-wicket stand. However, Krishna returned to polish off the tail and secure victory for his team.
Karnataka top Group C with 9 points from two matches, while J & K are second with six and face Railways (on 4 points now) next.
Karnataka finish its league engagements with a match against Pondicherry.
The other match in the group saw Railways secure three points after obtaining the first innings lead against Pondicherry.
On the final day, Railways declared at its overnight score of 525 for 9 after which Pondicherry posted 208 for 3 in 62 overs before play ended.
Karnataka 302 & 298 for 3 declared beat Jammu and Kashmir 93 & 390 in 98.5 overs (Fazil Rashid 65, Ian Dev Singh Chauhan 110, Abdul Samad 70; Prasidh Krishna 4/59, Shreyas Gopal 4/155).
Pondicherry 342 & 208 for 3 in 62 overs (Paras Dogra 64 not out, Pavan Deshpande 59 not out drew with Railways 525 for nine in 151.4 overs (Arindam Ghosh 100, Mohammad Saif 99; Sagar Udeshi 3/144, Pavan Deshpande 2/74.
Uttarakhand rout Rajasthan by 299 runs; Andhra-Services in dull draw
Thiruvananthapuram: Uttarakhand thrashed Rajasthan by 299 runs on the fourth and final day of their Ranji Trophy Elite Group E match to top the points table with 12 points.
In the other match in the group, Andhra settled for a draw with Services to pick up three points.
Resuming at 58 for 3 in pursuit of a mammoth target of 455, Rajasthan caved in without much of a fight as they were bundled out for 155 in 68.4 overs.
Only captain Ashok Maneria (45, 89 balls, 2x4, 2x6) battled it out and managed to stitch together a 44-run stand for the fourth wicket with nightwatchman Kamlesh Nagarkoti (12, 73 balls, 1 four).
For Uttarakhand, left-arm spinners Mayank Mishra (4 for 26) and Swapnil Singh (4 for 62) did most of the damage and bowled the team to a well-deserved victory and six points.
From 150 for 6, Rajasthan’s chase fizzled out quickly as three wickets fell in the space of 10 balls to bring an end to proceedings as Rajesh Bishnoi was absent hurt.
It was a good outing for Mishra as he followed his seven-wicket haul in the first innings with four scalps in the second to fashion the team's victory.
In the other match, Andhra Pradesh’s batters appeared to have opted for batting practice after having secured the first innings lead as C R Gnaneshwar hit 125 and Sheikh Rasheed, one of the stars of India's recent triumph in the Under-19 ICC World Cup, scored 43.
Andhra ended up with 220 for 4 as the encounter petered out to a draw.
Andhra 389 all out in 137.1 overs (Ricky Bhui 149, Karan Shinde 96, U M S Girinath 54, Pulkit Narang 6 for 56) and 220 for 4 in 68 overs (C R Gnaneshar 125) drew with Services 343 all out in 118.4 overs (Rajat Paliwal 96, Ravi Chauhan 87, Devender Lochab 36, S Ashish 4 for 91).
Andhra 3 points, Services 1.
Uttarakhand 337 all out in 130.3 overs (Swapnil Singh 97, Kunal Chandela 89, A V Choudhary 3 for 44, Tanveer Ul-Haq 3 for 57) and 246 for 7 declared in 53 overs (Jay Bista 88, Dikshansu Negi 52 not out) beat Rajasthan 129 all out in 51.2 overs (Manender Singh 52, Yash Kothari 26, Mayank Mishra 7 for 44) and 155 all out in 68.4 overs (Ashok Maneria 45, Mayank Mishra 4 for 26, Swapnil Singh 4 for 62).
Uttarakhand 6 points, Rajasthan 0.
Vidarbha take first innings lead in draw with Maharashtra
Sultanpur (Haryana): Vidarbha grabbed three points from their drawn Elite Group G Ranji Trophy game against Maharashtra, courtesy their first-innings lead.
Riding on veteran Ganesh Satish's career-best 275, Vidarbha posted a mammoth 570/5 in their first essay. Then left-arm spinner Aditya Sarvate spun a web around the Maharashtra batters to bundle them out for 328 in their first innings as Vidarbha took the first innings lead at the Gurugaon cricket ground.
Asked to follow-on, Maharashtra was reduced to 69/4 when both sides settled for a draw.
Vidarbha needed three points to stay in contention for the knock-outs. Now, after this desired result, Vidarbha need an outright win against Assam in their last league game.
Maharashtra resumed from their overnight score of 273/6 and had a mountain to climb, with Azim Kazi (14) and Satyajeet Bachhav (36 not out) holding fort.
The 36-year-old seasoned off-spinner Akshay Wakhare trapped Azim Kazi in front of the wicket as Maharashtra lost their seventh wicket for 278 and they were staring at conceding a first innings lead.
Vidarbha’s bowlers then ran through the tail and bundled out their arch-rivals for 328 after which they enforced the follow-on.
For Vidarbha, Sarvate (6/79) was the pick of the bowlers. He was ably supported by Lalit Yadav (1/56), Wakhare (2/104), and Akshay Karnewar (1/45) in the first innings.
In the second innings, it was again Sarvate (1/27) who removed opener Yash Nahar (1).
IPL specialist Rahul Tripathi's woes with the willow also continued as he was dismissed for a zero.
Maharashtra were reeling at 7 for 2. They also lost in-form opener Pawan Shah (26) and Azim Kazi (33) cheaply, as Vidarbha’s bowlers wreaked havoc. But after Kazi fell, both sides decided to settle for a draw.
Vidarbha 570/5 declared (Ganesh Satish 275, Akshay Wadkar 146 not out, Mukesh Choudhary 3/103, Satyajeet Bachhav 2/134) versus Maharashtra 328 (Naushad Shaikh 103, Ankit Bawane 92, Aditya Sarvate 6/79, Akshay Wakhare 2/104) and 69/4 (Azim Kazi 33; Akshay Wakhare 2/23). Match drawn.