Gupta instrumental in UP win
(by Sharad Deep in Kanpur)
AFTER LOSING their opening tie against Rajasthan, defending zonal champions Uttar Pradesh were desperate for a win to remain in contention, and Praveen Gupta gave them just that. The spinner masterminded an eight-wicket win over Railways in the Central Zone Ranji Trophy Tournament here on Wednesday. UP also earned a bonus point from the game.
Gupta bowled a deadly spell to skittle out Railways for a paltry 138, a score the hosts easily overhauled, losing just two wickets. Parminder Singh (42) and Ravikant Shukla (21) remained unbeaten as UP achieved victory in 37.1 overs.
A confident Parminder, who scored a fine half-century on Tuesday, underlined his importance for the side with a 75-ball knock of 42. His innings included seven hits to the fence.
For Murali Karthik's men, it wasn't a good day after they chose to bat first on a wicket which offered low bounce. Sanjay Bangar (18) was played-on to a low one from Bhuvneshwar Kumar. His dismissal started the rot for Railways, as they began losing wickets in a heap.
Debutant SS Senger then inflicted two crucial blows in quick succession to leave Railways struggling at 66/5. Siddarth Joshi (34, 5x4) and Mushafir Khote (34, 5x4, 1x6) tried to anchor the innings, but in vain as Praveen Gupta then started spinning his web around the Railways batsmen. The visitors were in no time reduced to 105/9.
Railways now play against Vidarbha at the same venue on Wednesday, while MP lock horns with Rajasthan, at the Green park Stadium.
Railways: 138 (S Joshi 34, M Khote 34, P Gupta 4/28, SS Senger 2/29)
UP: 142/2 (P Singh 42*, E Dwivedi 38, M Khote 1/19)
TN, Karnataka win
(by G Krishnan in Chennai)
Favourites Tamil Nadu registered their second successive victory with a bonus - seven-wicket win over Kerala - while holders Karnataka are one point - after beating Hyderabad by 111 runs - after day two of the Subbiah Pillai Trophy South Zone one-day tournament here.
But the feature of the day was Goa, powered in by import and former India wicket-keeper Ajay Ratra's 63 and his 130-run fifth wicket partnership with Shadab Jakati (74), who plays club cricket in Bangalore, defeating Andhra by two wickets in the last over of the match.
Chasing Andhra's competitive 291 for eight in 50 overs, Goa sprang a surprise with a last-over victory. While Goa tried hard and reached the target, Andhra were found wanting for the second day in a row. Andhra coach, Syed Abid Ali, a former India Test all-rounder, said his young team messed up completely and had to shake his head in disappointment for the second day in a row.
At the Indian Polytechnic-Central Pistons Ground, Tamil Nadu medium-pacer P Amarnath, four for 16 in 7.2 overs, used the conditions to great effect to skittle Kerala for 91 in two and a half hours. Kerala were 32 for five even before one could spell out its state capital, Thiruvananthapuram.
Playing on the same pitch for the second successive day, the pitch was watered lightly and rolled, causing the ball to talk big early on. Put in to bat, Kerala top-order had no clue to Amarnath's accuracy, which impressed their coach WV Raman. Two of the batsmen, Sebastian Anthony and captain Sonu Cheruvathur, were clean bowled to good deliveries while Raiphy Vincent Gomes was well taken at first slip by Badrinath.
Kerala did not have a batsman who could bail them out and surrendered tamely.
Tamil Nadu, it was anticipated, would knock off the runs in a jiffy. That they made heavy weather of the small total did not have Raman anything to smile about. TN eventually met the target in 23.4 overs with seven wickets in hand.
Two of the three TN wickets fell were left-handers. Kerala off-spinner KJ Rakesh showed the inclination to work on the batsmen's mind and induced R Ramkumar and Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan to play with the turn and edge to first slip, Sreekumar Nair.
But for Rakesh's impressive 9.4-3-18-2 figures, Kerala did not have the total to make a fight of it.
At CPT-IP: Kerala: 91 all out in 33.2 overs (Krishna Chandran 35; P Amarnath 4-16, R Ashwin 3-27) lost to Tamil Nadu: 92/3 in 23.4 overs (Murali Vijay 41 not out). TN: 5 points; Kerala: minus-1.
At MAC: Karnataka: 312/8 in 50 overs (Bharath Chipli 100, R Vinay Kumar 75, Amit Verma 45; PM Sarvesh Kumar 3-71) bt Hyderabad: 201/6 in 50 overs (Abhinav Kumar 50 n.o., Amol Shinde 47; R Vinay Kumar 3-25). Karnataka: 5 pts; Hyderabad: minus-1.
At Gurunanak College ground: Andhra: 291/8 in 50 overs (Manoj Sai 88, Y Gnaneswara Rao 59) lost to Goa: 293/8 on 49.2 overs (Roopesh S 57, Ajay Ratra 63, Shadab Jakati 74; H Watekar 3-64). Goa: 4 pts; Andhra: 0.
A tough challenge awaits Delhi
(by Arjun Sen in New Delhi)
Thursday should pose the first real test for the Delhi one-day team when they come face-to-face with Punjab. Mithun Manhas's men had always been expected to beat minnows J&K in the opener, which they did without breaking into a sweat, and it is Punjab who look best-equipped to challenge them at home.
Already an important game, this clash has assumed more importance after both teams won their first games - Punjab beat Haryana by 97 runs - in the race to the top. In all probability, the team that wins on Thursday will qualify for the knockouts as North Zone's top team.
Delhi and Punjab are two very evenly matched sides and the match, in all probability, will go down to the wire. The battle that could decide which way the game tilts is the one between Delhi's top-order and Punjab's pace battery. Delhi's batsmen have scored tonnes of runs throughout the season against every attack, and shouldn't find Punjab too tough. Having said that, though, in VRV Singh Punjab have a pacer in form. Having bowled North Zone to Duleep Trophy glory with a 10-wicket haul, the India pacer should have his tail up. Together with Gagandeep Singh, VRV forms a formidable new-ball attack, one that would hope to make early inroads into the Delhi batting.
A task that will not be easy, though. Led by the prolific Aakash Chopra, fresh from a destructive century in the last game, the Delhi batting has taken on all comers with élan. An aggressive Chopra up against an attacking VRV should be a treat to watch. With Shikhar Dhawan and Mithun Manhas adding their own brand of explosive batting to the line-up, the Punjab bowlers have to be on the top of their game, especially in the powerplays.
While the batting should be more than capable of holding its own, it is Delhi's bowling that could be the chink in their armour.
The new-ball duo of Amit Bhandari and Sumit Narwal did reasonably well against J&K, Punjab's strong batting should be a different cup of tea. Young southpaw Karan Goel, who scored an almost run-a-ball 122 against Haryana, is the player the visitors would be looking for a good start. Skipper Pankaj Dharmani and Uday Kaul can also take the attack to the opposition and the Delhi bowlers cannot afford to give them any leeway. Parwinder Awana had a couple of great games in the Ranji Trophy, but is yet to add consistency as a weapon to his arsenal.
It is a top-of-the-table clash, and like it is often with these clashes, it will take something special to claim it.
Delhi: Mithun Manhas (C), Aakash Chopra, Shikhar Dhawan, Rajat Bhatia, Aditya Jain, Mayank Tehlan, Gaurav Chhabra, Puneet Bisht, Suhail Sharma, Chetnya Nanda, Amit Bhandari, Sumit Narwal, Parwinder Awana, Manan Sharma, NS Negi
Punjab: Pankaj Dharmani (C), Karan Goel, Ravi Inder, Sunny Sohal, Ravneet Ricky, Udai Kaul, Mayank Siddanah, Gurkirat, Manpreet Gony, VRV Singh, Gagandeep Singh, Bharat Loomba, Ankur Kakkar, Sarabjit Singh Ladda, Ankur Jund.
Bengal take on Assam without Ganguly
( by Nilankur Das in Guwahati)
THE BACKDROP of the North-East Frontier Railway Stadium in Maligaon is breathtaking with the hills so close that you feel you can touch them from the stands. In stark contrast though is the bumpy outfield with bald patches. The ground played host to one of the two matches played on the first day of the East Zone one-dayers and a low-scoring one too which saw Tripura upset Jharkhand.
On Thursday, it will host Bengal's opener against Assam. Relegated from the Elite Group this season, coach Bharathi Arun's boys will have a lot more than just pride to play for. "We need to win this," said a player. "We have to enjoy and do well as a team," said the coach. "First let's get back to the winning ways and then we can have a whole lot of issues to talk about," said skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla.
Winning the zone here, would balm a few agitated minds back home. It would help Arun prove a point and would certainly help the youngsters gain some confidence without Sourav Ganguly or Manoj Tiwary by their side.
"Ganguly is not coming for the first two matches. That's what we heard," Arun said. "And of course we will miss him and Manoj. But brooding over what we don't have won't help. We have to play to our strengths. Our batting did not come together throughout the season. So here we have to rectify that. We have to run well between the wickets and that should help batsmen take pressure off each other," Arun said.
So in a way, a wicket like the one here could help Bengal's gameplan. The ball is unlikely to come on and it won't help stroke making. So a batsman needs to nudge around and improvise.
Also the toss could play a part depending on the dew and moisture in the wicket. If that happens, Bengalwill not want to expose their struggling batting line-up to the white Kookaburra ball. And with the wicket likely to get slower and lower, batting second could be a tough ask.
So, with these points already in hand to ponder upon, Arun was quick to spell out the XI that will see four debutants - batsmen Arindam Ghosh and Debabrata Das, left-arm spinner Iresh Saxena and allrounder Avik Choudhury. With Shukla due to come in at No 4, Bengalcould struggle for experience after him.
Hosts Assam, having already lost to Orissa following a middle-order collapse in the opening match on Tuesday need to win if they want to stay in the race and skipper Sadagoppan Ramesh spelt it out in as many words. "The good thing is that we have already played a match. It's Bengal's first tomorrow and their morale is down after a poor season. We have to make those factors count," Ramesh said.
In the other match at the Nehru Stadium, Orissa face Tripura. Both having won their opening matches, the team that wins on Thursday could fancy themselves among the two to qualify.