Manoj Tiwary top scored with 169 to give Bengal an outside chance against Mumbai © PTI
Gujarat were in line for full points after enforcing the follow-on against Punjab in Belgavi. After declaring on 624 for 6, courtesy Priyank Panchal’s triple century, Rush Kalaria picked four wickets to skittle Punjab for 247 in 85.2 overs. Manan Vohra top scored with 68, while cameos from Mayank Sidhana (39), Gitansh Khera (35 not out) and Manpreet Gony (26) ensured Punjab added 113 for the last four wickets. Hardik Patel and RP Singh complemented Kalaria by picking two wickets each.
Having to wipe out a deficit of 377 to prevent Gujarat from winning a bonus point, Punjab closed on 36 for 1, with Vohra and Jiwanjot Singh at the crease. A loss here could mean Punjab’s qualification for the knockouts hinge on other results.
Centuries from Manoj Tiwary (169) and Sudip Chatterjee (130) helped Bengal give themselves an outside chance of registering an outright win over Mumbai in Nagpur. The pair put on 271 for the fourth wicket as Bengal, who resumed on 198 for 3, finished on 433 for 8 when bad light ended play early.
They will have at least 303 to defend on the final day, depending on whether they choose to declare overnight. Once the fourth-wicket partnership was broken, Mumbai hit back to pick up the next five wickets for just 63, with Abhishek Nayar and Dhawal Kulkarni taking two wickets apiece. Three points courtesy a lead in this game could be enough for Mumbai to secure a quarter-final berth.
Madhya Pradesh were within one wicket of completing and outright victory against Baroda in Dharamsala. MP’s day began with the loss of overnight batsman Shubham Sharma in the fourth over. They were 131 for 6 at that point, with a lead of 184, before a partnership of 50 for the sixth wicket and one worth 69 for the ninth wicket, helped them add 162 for the last four wickets and set Baroda 347 to win.
Overnight batsman Harpreet Singh (73) and medium-pacer Puneet Datey (41) were at the forefront of their batting display, while Ishwar Pandey chipped in with 36 off 41 balls at No. 10. Barod’s Atith Sheth finished with 4 for 51, following his 11-wicket haul in the previous game.
Barring an opening stand of 32, and a third-wicket stand of 24, Baroda didn’t display any resistance as they collapsed yet again. Medium-pacer Chandrakant Sakure (4 for 17) was the most successful MP bowler. In partnership with Ishwar Pandey (2 for 19) and Datey (2 for 49), he pegged Baroda back as they were reduced to 95 for 9 within the 30th over before an unbroken last-wicket stand took them to stumps on 114 for 9.
Railways captain Karn Sharma took his second five-for this season, but found himself batting after his team was reduced to 35 for 5 in chase of 347 against Uttar Pradesh in Rajkot.
UP’s overnight pair of Shivam Chaudhary and nightwatchman Kuldeep Yadav hung around for 17 overs in the morning, adding 37 to the overnight score of 64 for 2, before Kuldeep dismissed with the score on 101. UP scored at 4.77 from that point, as they looked to set Railways a target. This effort was led by captain Suresh Raina, who was dismissed for 91 yet again in this match. His partnership of 140 with Shivam, who scored a maiden first-class century before being stumped for 124 helped swell the lead before they were bowled out for 330.
Medium-pacer Praveen Kumar, playing his first match of the season, took wickets in consecutive overs to reduce Railways to 4 for 2 in the third over. Railways couldn’t quite recover from this as they went on the defensive, and crawled to 35 for 5 in 27 overs at stumps. Wicketkeeper Mahesh Rawat (3 off 43) was batting with Karn (7 off 33) at stumps.
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