Mumbai's hopes of claiming a hattrick of Ranji Trophy titles continue to suffer. In reply to their first-innings total of 252, Rajasthan reached 236 for one at stumps on Day II of the four-day quarter-final on Saturday, thanks to an unbroken second-wicket partnership of 206 between Vineet Saxena and skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar.
Ajit Agarkar got Aakash Chopra in the fifth over of the morning after Rajasthan resumed at 17 without loss when Kanitkat joined Saxena. The opener played 284 balls for his 111 with 14 fours and a six. Kanitkar took 255 balls to make 96 and also hit 14 fours. The two have been together for 84 overs to raise hopes of taking a big lead and causing the biggest upset of the season. That will be something because Rajasthan have qualified from the Plate Division.
Given their ability to bounce back, Mumbai can't be written off yet, but they need a special effort to make a match of this. The pitch at Sawai Mansingh Stadium is known to be best for batting on the third day and the Mumbai bowlers will have to add bite to their effort, which was disciplined but not penetrative on Saturday. "The ball may keep a bit low but I'll be surprised if the pitch doesn't remain good for batting on the third day," said Chopra. "We have some fairly decent batting to follow and these guys have got runs this season. We batted with discipline today, didn't give them chances and have to keep doing that for a big lead. There is no room for complacency."
Mumbai captain Wasim Jaffer didn't blame his bowlers. "They tried their best, but the wicket has flattened conside ably. It's difficult for bowlers but we still need a Rajasthan collapse. Otherwise, it looks very difficult for us at the moment."
Brief scores: Mumbai 252. Rajasthan 236/1 (Vineet Saxena 111 n.o, Hrishikesh Kanitkar 96 n.o.).
Baroda take lead
Vadodara: Kedar Devdhar's unbeaten 122 and Yusuf Pathan's rapid 68 took Baroda past Railways' first-innings total of 248. The hosts were well placed at 303 for four at stumps, needing one more good partnership to take control of the match.
Baroda took 5.5 overs to take the two overnight wickets and although the start wasn't ideal, a third-wicket partnership of 115 between Devdhar and Pathan made it their day. Pathan hit four sixes and six fours in his 510-ball knock. Devdhar anchored the innings, playing 215 balls for 15 fours and sixes.
Brief scores: Railways 248 (Yere Goud 46). Baroda 303/4 (Kedar Devdhar 122 n.o, Yusuf Pathan 68).
Karnataka on a roll
Indore: Karnataka rode Amit Verma's 85 and a string of smaller contributions from elsewhere in the batting order to take a first-innings lead of 106 with two wickets in hand against Madhya Pradesh.
Brief scores: Madhya Pradesh 200. Karnataka 306/8 (Amit Verma 85, KB Pawan 49, Manish Pandey 49, Robin Uthappa 44, Jalaj Saxena 3/31).
Fog truncates day
Rohtak: Fog marred play between Haryana and Tamil Nadu, allowing just 26 overs in the day. Haryana slipped a bit from their overnight 293 for two to progress to 379 for six when play began after tea.
Brief scores: Haryana 379/6 (Nitin Saini 150). Star Watch