Ranji Trophy QF, Day 3 Round-up: Saurashtra crush Vidarbha, Assam on the cusp of historic win
1.Saurashtra vs Vidarbha at Vizianagaram
Saurashtra became the first team to progress through to the semifinals of the 2015/16 season of the Ranji Trophy after beating Vidarbha by an innings and 85 runs at Vizianagaram on Friday.
Beginning the day at 17 for no loss, none of the Vidarbha batsmen looked in any kind of control as Jaydev Unadkat carried on from where he had left off in the 1st essay, picking up opener Jitesh Sharma in the 13th over of the innings before taking the crucial scalp of Subramanium Badrinath for 12 to leave them reeling at 74 for 4. He returned later to knock the tail off to finish with figures of 4 for 35 in 16.1 overs.
Giving him support was medium-pacer Deepak Punia, who took 3 for 32 in his 15 overs, that included the wicket of a set Wasim Jaffer for 48 that eventually paved the way for his side to progress through to the final four.
Brief Scores: Vidarbha 151&139 (Jaffer 48, Fazal 36, Unadkat 4/35, Punia 3/32) lost to Saurashtra 375 by an innings and 85 runs at Vizianagaram.
2.Assam vs Punjab at Valsad
The quarterfinal between Assam and Punjab being played in Valsad saw a thrilling day of action with 14 wickets falling at the expense of 302 runs. Resuming the day at 23 for 4, Assam were bundled out for 101, thanks to an incisive spell from Barinder Sran, who finished with figures of 5 for 43 in 15 overs. He was well supported by Siddarth Kaul, who took 4 for 25 in 15.1 overs.
Defending a total of 288, Assam required early wickets, and they got just that, courtesy Arup Das, who removed the top 3 of the Punjab batting order for a mere 26 to bring the match back on a knife edge. However, Mandeep Singh and Gurkeerat Mann put on 70 runs for the 4th wicket to restore some peace in proceedings before fast bowler Dhiraj Goswami delivered a double break for his side, removing both Mandeep and Mann for 29 and 64 respectively to place Punjab at 133 for 5.
But like the case earlier, Punjab stitched together another stand just when they needed, this time via Mayank Sidhana and Gitansh Khera who put on 66 for the 6th wicket to get their side back into the contest.
However, just when it looked like Punjab were taking the upper hand, Das returned to remove the former for 43 before taking both Harbhajan Singh and Siddarth Kaul to finish the day with figures of 6 for 82 in 20 overs, thereby leaving Punjab at 224 for 8, still 64 runs adrift of the target.
3.Madhya Pradesh vs Bengal at Mumbai
Brief Scores: Punjab 323 and 224 for 8 (Mann 64, Sidhana 43, Arup Das 6/82) vs Assam 137 and 101 after stumps on Day 3 at Valsad.
The third quarterfinal between Bengal and Madhya Pradesh(MP) at the Brabourne Stadium drifted significantly at the towards the side of the latter after yet another excellent batting performance. After getting bowled out for 121 in their first innings, Bengal needed a really spirited bowling performance to keep their hopes alive, and at 43 for 2 with both openers gone, the match was evenly poised.
But that was when the pair of Rajat Patidar and Naman Ojha took over, putting on 141 for the 3rd wicket to seize the advantage right back in their favour. Ojha was out for 52 but Patidar carried out to score a wonderful 137 that eventually took the MP score to 338 for 5 and extend their overall lead to 565, which now firmly puts them on the driver’s seat.
There was also a moment of joy for Pragyan Ojha, who took his 400th first-class victim when he got rid off Devendra Bundela for 72.
Brief Scores: MP 348 and 338 for 5 (Patidar 137, Ojha 52 Dinda 1/65) vs Bengal 121. MP lead by 565 runs at the end of Day 3.
4.Mumbai vs Jharkhand at Mysuru
The fourth and final quarterfinal of the day saw Mumbai take the upper hand in Mysuru against Jharkhand. The latter could add only 22 runs to their overnight tally of 150 for 8 as Shardul Thakur both the remaining batsmen to finish with figures of 3 for 37.
In their second innings, Mumbai found themselves in an edgy position at 91 for 3 but one of the rising stars of Indian cricket- Shreyas Iyer- ensured that they didn't suffer any collapse, stroking his way to a 106-ball 81 and in the process became the 3rd youngest batsman to score 1000 runs in the Ranji Trophy to help Mumbai reach 245 all out and set a target of 490 for Jharkhand.
That pursuit didn't get off to the best of starts as Iqbal Abdulla struck in the 9th over, removing Anand Singh for 12 to leave them at 19 for 1. Shiv Gautam and Virat Singh negotiated the remaining overs to finish the day at 28 for 1, still trailing by 462 runs.
Brief Scores: Mumbai 416 and 24 (Iyer 81, Abhishek Nayar 43, Samar Quadri 5/62) vs Jharkhand 172 and 28 for 1. Jharkhand trail by 462 runs.