Railways caused the biggest upset in this Ranji Trophy season so far, after they defeated domestic giants Mumbai by 10 wickets within three days in their Elite Group B match, in Mumbai, on Friday.
After bundling out Mumbai for paltry 114 on the opening day, Railways riding on skipper Karn Sharma's unbeaten 112, grabbed a crucial 152-run first innings lead.
Railways pacer Himanshu Sangwan (5-60) took five wickets, as Mumbai were bundled out for 198 in their second essay at the Wankhede Stadium, after India Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane failed miserably in the second innings as well. Batting at No 3, Rahane struggled as he made just five in the first essay.
Opener Prithvi Shaw also struggled to make an impression -- scoring 12 and 23 -- in the two innings.
The 41-time Ranji Trophy champions resumed the third day on their overnight score of 64/3 and needed to bat as long as possible to avoid an outright defeat or to at-least force a draw.
However, Rahane, who resumed on his overnight score of three, could add only five runs to his score, before he was dismissed for eight.
Rahane, who has played 63 Tests, was caught by wicketkeeper Nitin Bhille, to leave Mumbai in a spot of bother at 69-4.
Skipper Suryakumar Yadav (65 off 94 runs) and experienced Aditya Tare (14 off 47 balls) tried to rally the Mumbai innings with their 64-run stand for the fifth wicket.
They tried to frustrate the Railways' bowlers and Yadav unlike his usual attacking game, played a sedate knock.
However, Railways' pacer Pradeep T, who had taken six wickets in the first innings, broke the partnership, after removing Tare, who edged to keeper Nitin Bhille.
After Tare's dismissal Railways pegged back the hosts by taking two wickets in quick succession -- Suryakumar and Shams Mulani (1) -- as Mumbai slipped to 135-7.
However, Shardul Thakur (21 off 31 balls) along with Akash Parkar (35 not out), ensured that Mumbai avoided the humiliation of an innings defeat.
Leg-spinner Sharma had trapped Parkar in front of the wicket, but it was declared a no-ball for overstepping
At the stroke of lunch Thakur was caught by Mrunal Devdhar in the slip cordon off Karan, as Mumbai were teetering at 164/8, and were ahead only by 12 runs.
Pacer Tushar Deshpande survived for 15 balls, but fell when Mumbai were 33 runs ahead.
With Parkar's knock, Mumbai could at least set a 47-run target.
For Railways, openers Mrunal Devdhar (27 not out) and Pratham Singh (19 not out) overhauled the target in the 12th over, with all 10 wickets to spare.
The Railways' win is more special, as 42 overs were lost on the first two days due to bad light and start was delayed because of the solar eclipse on Thursday.
Mumbai had won their lung-opener against Baroda, and will play heavyweights Karnataka at the Bandra Kurla Complex ground from January 3.
Mumbai 114 and 198 (Suryakumar Yadav 65, Himanshu Sangwan 5-60) vs Railways 266 and 47/0. Railways won by 10 wickets.At Rajkot: Saurashtra 331 vs Uttar Pradesh 523 (Mohammed Saif 165, Aksh Deep Nath 95; K Makwana 3-98).
At Indore: Tamil Nadu 149 and 177/4 (Kaushik 66 not out, N Jagdeesan 54) vs Madhya Pradesh 333 (Venkatesh Iyer 88, Rameez Khan 87; Mihir Hirwani 71; T Natarajan 5-106).
At Mysuru: Karnataka 166 and 191/3 (Devdutt Padikkal 69 not out, Karun Nair 62 not out; Rishi Dhawan 3-56) vs Himachal Pradesh 280 (Rishi Dhawan 93, P Khanduri 69).
Delhi set for easy win after Ishant spell
Ishant Sharma was a picture of commitment while leading the injury-ridden Delhi attack with an eight-wicket match haul to all but ensure an outright victory against Hyderabad on the third day of the Ranji Trophy Group A encounter in Delhi on Friday.
Having dismissed Hyderabad for 69 in the first innings, Delhi were handicapped by Pawan Suyal's injury but that didn't deter Ishant from sending down 19 overs, grabbing 4 for 89 in the visitors' total score of 298.
Ishant finished with a match-haul of 8/108 in 29 overs.
Needing 84 for victory, Delhi were 24 for no loss in the second innings and are just 60 runs away from full points. If they win by 10 wickets, the team will also walk away with a bonus point.
At a time when the Indian pacers' workload management has become a focal point and top stars only want to bowl a specific number of overs in red-ball games to get into the groove, the veteran of 96 Test matches toiled hard, bowled those extra overs and also encouraged young Simarjeet Singh (3/80 in 19.4 overs).
Once Suyal was out of the attack with a groin strain, Ishant had no option but to bowl those extra overs and he started in earnest, trapping right-hander Himalay Agarwal leg before wicket and then breaching Bavanaka Sandeep's (0) defences.
To give him respite, even Nitish Rana had to bowl the seam-up stuff. There were times, when Ishant pitched it short but whenever he looked to pitch it up, he was a handful.
It was opener Tanmay Agarwal (103 off 154 balls), who was primarily responsible for thwarting Delhi's bid for an innings victory along with some rearguard action from Tanay Thyagrajan (34) and Mehedy Hasan (71).
Tanmay and Tanay shared a 93-run stand after Hyderabad were reduced to 97 for 6.
Hasan then used the long-handle to help Hyderabad avoid follow-on. However, all they could manage in the end was 83-run lead which certainly won't be enough.
In Delhi: Delhi 284 and 24/0 (target 84) vs Hyderabad 69 and (f/0) 298 all out (Tanmay Agarwal 103, Mehedy Hasan 71, Ishant Sharma 4/86, Simarjeet Singh 3/80).
In Surat: Gujarat 127 and 210 vs Kerala 70 and 177 (Sanju Samson 78, Axar Patel 4/50, Chintan Gaja 3/41).
In Nagpur: Vidarbha 338 (Ganesh Sathish 145, Aditya Sarwate 48, Baltej Singh 3/59). Punjab 132/0 (Shubman Gill 70 not out, Sanvir Singh 56 not out).
Andhra fight to avoid follow-on after Porel bags three
Bengal speedster Ishan Porel blew away the Andhra middle-order with his triple strike as Andhra were reduced to 110 for 7 on the third day of the Ranji Trophy Group A encounter in Kolkata.
Only 46 overs of play was possible on the day due which has effectively robbed Bengal a chance to get an outright win with a day left.
Bengal were bowled out for 289 in their first innings and Andhra need to score another 30 to avoid follow-on.
On a breezy winter morning, Andhra had their backs to the wall with Porel dismissing skipper Hanuma Vihari (23) and in-form Ricky Bhui (0) off successive deliveries to finish the day with figures of 3 for 35.
Porel's new ball partner pace partner Mukesh Kumar accounted for 2 for 36 but Andhra rode on Gnaneshwar's dogged 45 not out off 145 balls to see through the day.
The start too was delayed by one hour and 45 minutes because of the wet outfield as the four-pronged Bengal pace attack used the conditions to their advantage.
Spearheading the Bengal attack in absence of Ashok Dinda, who was axed for misconduct, the lanky 21-year-old Porel looked in good rhythm during the second session when he grabbed three wickets in three overs and was in-line for a hat-trick.
Mukesh gave the first breakthrough in the fourth over when he dismissed DB Prasanth lbw for a duck as Gnaneshwar and the skipper Vihari were looking too steady the innings.
But Porel bowled an unplayable rising delivery which had Vihari all squared-up to edge it to second slip where Manoj Tiwary did the needful to break the partnership for 39.
Fresh from his back-to-back centuries, Bhui, who originally hails from Jhargram in Bengal, was plumb in-front for a golden duck making a forgettable exit.
Looking unstoppable, Porel grabbed a third when he dismissed wicketkeeper batsman KS Bharat (two) en route to cap a fine first spell of 12-4-24-3 as Andhra were left reeling at 51 for four.
"The ball was moving both ways and I was enjoying my good form and rhythm. We all are young so there was a lot of positivity and we bowled our hearts out," Porel said.
"However I could have bowled well in the last spell. I tried to bowl pace and was off the mark."
At tea, reeling at 96 for seven, Andhra were lucky to survive when B Ayyappa survived on duck after he got out to B Amit's no-ball as he remained unbeaten on five in an unbroken eighth wicket partnership of 23 runs.
Ayyappa was drafted into the XI in place of original team member G Manish as a special inclusion as the left-arm spinner suffered a shoulder dislocation and it needed Bengal skipper Abhimanyu Easwaran's permission to ring in the change.
Bengal 1st Innings 289 vs Andhra 110/7 in 46 overs (CR Gnaneshwar 45 not out; Ishan Porel 3/35, Mukesh Kumar 2/36).