Kanpur: Uttar Pradesh walked away with three points owing to their first innings lead in a Group B Ranji Trophy match against Madhya Pradesh that ended in a draw on the fourth and final day. Chasing a victory target of 314 runs, Madhya Pradesh were 140 for seven in their second innings at the close of play with Salman Baig (31 not out) and Anurag Singh (11 not out) in the middle.
Resuming at 78 for three, Uttar Pradesh had declared their second innings at 178 for five with India international Suresh Raina hitting a classy 134-ball 84, laced with 11 fours, while 'old war horse' Mohammad Kaif just felling one run short of his half-century at 49.
For Madhya Pradesh, medium pacers Ishwar Pandey and Puneet Datey acoounted for two wickets each. In their second essay, Madhya Pradesh got off to a poor start in their run-chase as they kept on losing wickets at regular intervals.
Madhya Pradesh stared at a humiliating defeat but Baig and Singh waged a grim battle to rescue the side from a precarious situation. For Uttar Pradesh, Mishra was the most successful bowler with figures of three for 17 while Imtiaz picked up two wickets.
Brief scores: Uttar Pradesh 250 & 178/5 decl (Suresh Raina 84, Mohammad Kaif 49; Ishwar Pandey 2/32). Madhya Pradesh: 115 & 140/7 in 64 overs (Salman Baig 31 not out; Amit Mishra 3/17). Points: Uttar Pradesh 3, Madhya Pradesh 1.
In Rajkot, a brilliant bowling performance by Baroda skipper Yusuf Pathan (6 for 40) helped his side thrash Saurashtra by 239 runs on the fourth and final day of their Ranji Trophy Group B match. Chasing a target of 355, Saurashtra were bundled out for a meagre 115 in 79.3 overs at the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) stadium, Khandheri, here.
Yusuf led from the front with figures of six for 40. Baroda earned six points from today's win and kept their hopes of entering the knockout stage alive.
Only Chirag Pathak (36), Sheldon Jackson (19) and Kamlesh Makwana (11 not out) could reach double digit mark, while Sagar Jogiyani, Chirag Jani and Vishal Joshi failed to open their account. Pathan got a good support from Bhargav Bhatt (3/08).
Earlier, resuming at 207 for six, Baroda added another 58 runs off just 8.4 overs before declaring their second innings at 161 for nine. Baroda made 400 in their first innings and then took a crucial 89-run first innings lead over Saurashtra by dismissing the hosts for 311.
Overnight batsman Utkarsh Patel made 53 off 79 balls with nine fours. He added 82 runs for the seventh wicket with Pinal Shah (43). Jaydev Unadkat was the most successful bowler for Saurashtra, taking four for 61, while left arm leg spinner Dharmendra Jadeja and off spinner Vishal Joshi took two wickets each giving away 127 and 46 runs, respectively.
Brief Scores: Baroda: 400 & 265 for 9 decl (Saurabh Wakaskar 69, Utkarsh Patel 53, Jaydev Unadkat 4/60, Vishal Joshi 2/46). Saurashtra: 311 & 115 (Chirag Pathak 36; Yusuf Pathan 6/40, Bhargav Bhatt 3/08).
In Chennai, as expected, Rajasthan easily took the first innings lead against Tamil Nadu as their Ranji Trophy Group B match ended in a tame draw. Overnight Rajasthan batsmen Hirishikesh Kanitkar (52) and Rajesh Bishnoi (68) completed their half-centuries as the visitors scored 438 before being all out in reply to Tamil Nadu score of 318.
The hosts had made 76 for no loss in their second essay when stumps were drawn for the final time in the match. After getting just one point from this match Tamil Nadu are now in a precarious position. They now have to win their next match against Bengal at home to progress to quarterfinal stage.
With the top three teams to make the next grade, Railways are sitting pretty with 27, followed by UP (23), Baroda (20) and Tamil Nadu and Bengal on 18 each.
Tamil Nadu performance in the whole season has been below their par as they have won just one match from seven (drawing the remaining six). Tamil Nadu spinners miserably failed against Rajasthan.
In contrast, Rajasthan captain Kanitkar handled both his bowlers and batsmen well. The approach of openers -- Siddarth Sharaf and Vineet Saxena was flawless and then Ashok Maneria carried on from a good start before Kanitkar and Rajesh Bishnoi consolidated their innings to achieve the vital first innings lead this morning.
In New Delhi, Railways became the first team from group B to qualify for the quarter-final of the Ranji Trophy with a 37-run win over minnows Services on a day when team management led by skipper Murali Kartik's decision to deny Mahesh Rawat a century surprised one and all.
Chasing a target of 237, Services were all out for 200 despite opener Prateek Desai scoring an even-100. He faced 180 balls hitting 13 fours as leggie Karn Sharma picked five for 50 after Railways made a sporting declaration at 282 for seven batting for an hour on the day.
While a sporting declaration was necessary to go for an outright, it was baffling that Rawat, who scored his 92 runs in 143 balls with 11 fours and a six wasn't playing slowly either. To everyone's amazement, the declaration came suddenly when another over or two could have helped team's highest scorer reach century.
Coach Abhay Sharma later gave an explanation that the declaration came in the best interest of the team as they needed maximum number of overs to bowl Services out. Questions are also being raised by Kartik's position in the team as he has bowled a total of 46 overs in seven matches taking only one wicket and scored 128 runs at an average of less than 19. His decision to open in this match also came under scanner.
Brief Scores: Railways 107 & 282/7 dec (Mahesh Rawat 92 not out). Services 153 & 200 (Prateek Desai 100, Karn Sharma 5/50).
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