Left-arm spinner Harmeet Singh claimed six wickets, including that of maiden centurion R Samarth, to help hosts Mumbai take a first-innings lead of 21 runs on day three of their concluding Group A Ranji Trophy cricket match against Karnataka.
The defending champions, who have already booked their berth in the knockout quarter finals, looked on course to take the lead at 317 for three before losing their last seven wickets for 98 runs to be all out for 415, 37 minutes before the scheduled close on the penultimate day of the game.
And in eight overs before stumps, Mumbai – with their hopes of qualifying for the knockout depending on an outright victory, ended with 19 without loss. Openers Shrideep Mangela and skipper Aditya Tare were the unbeaten with identical nine runs each.
At stumps, Mumbai were ahead by 40 runs and are expected to press for victory on the final day on Monday.
Samarth, not out on 85 in a team score of 175 for two chasing Mumbai’s first-innings total of 436, batted for the first two sessions before becoming the third victim of Harmeet during a purple patch, which saw him bag four wickets in 31 balls on either side of tea, to trigger a collapse.
Samarth showed good judgment outside the off stump against the pace bowlers and was composed against the spinners to make a patient 180 in 523 minutes during which he faced 400 balls and struck 16 fours and a six.
The 22-year-old Mysore-born Samarth, playing his seventh first class game since making his debut in 2013 as regular opener K L Rahul was rested, and another youngster Shishir Bhavane (62 with 11 fours in 133 balls), put on 136 runs for the fourth wicket in 287 balls and 194 minutes that took Karnataka past the 300 mark.
However, the dismissal of Bhavane in the second session enabled Harmeet who took 6 for 139 – his second five-wicket haul – to slice through the visiting team’s line-up.
Harmeet, also playing only his seventh Ranji game, bagged the wickets of C Gautham, whom he sent back in the last over before tea by turning the ball across the face of the bat, then had rival skipper Vinay Kumar stumped, foxed the well-set Samarth with another turning ball and then trapped Udit Patel leg before during his spell while giving away 14 runs.
Off spinner Akshay Girap took two wickets while Sandhu and fellow medium-pacer Shardul Thakur got a wicket apiece.
In the morning, Harmeet – who had missed the entire 2013-14 season because he was not selected, had accounted for Manish Pandey early after having trapped opener Robin Uthappa last evening to break the opening wicket partnership.
Mumbai 436 all out and 19 for no loss in 8 overs
Karnataka 415 all out in 139.4 overs (R Uthappa 49, R Samarth 180, K Kapoor 35, S Bhavane 62; Harmeet Singh 6 for 139, A Girap 2 for 128)
Bengal stare at relegation after MP enforce follow-on
Bengal batsmen continued with their shoddy batting display as they would be battling it out against Madhya Pradesh on the final day in order to save relegation from the premier group of the Ranji Trophy cricket tournament.
In reply to MP’s mammoth first innings score of 514 for six declared, Bengal were all out for 219 in their first innings conceding a huge 295 run lead.
MP, who are eyeing for a quarterfinal berth predictably enforced the follow-on after which Bengal were 111 for one at stumps.
Debutant opener Abhishek Das gave a good account of himself as he is batting on 69 with seven fours and three sixes. The big hits came off Jalaj Saxena’s bowling.
Bengal need another 184 runs to avoid innings defeat but more importantly need to bat the whole day in order to beat the drop in case UP win their game against Railways outright.
Three teams are in relegation zone. Jammu and Kashmir, who are currently placed seventh with 12 points from 8 matches and have completed their league engagements.
UP are currently on 9 points and if they get an outright win against Railways will go to 15 points and beat the drop.
Bengal, have a better run quotient (+0.921) than Jammu and Kashmir (+0.601) but an innings defeat can take their quotient below J&K. The safest route for Bengal would be to get a point and go to 13 which will save them.
In case they lose by an innings, then they would have to also expect that Railways beat UP and Praveen Kumar and Co get eliminated.
MP 514/6 decl
Bengal 219 (Sudeep Chatterjee 58, Amit Banerjee not out 41, Yogesh Rawat 5/65) and (f/0) 111/1 (Abhishek Das 69 batting)
Chawla takes 5 as UP fight to save relegation
Domestic heavyweights Uttar Pradesh will need 218 runs on the final day of their Ranji Trophy cricket match against Railways in order to save the relegation to group C.
After scoring a crucial 73 to take UP to a respectable 292 in their first innings, leg-spinner Piyush Chawla (5/67) then played a big part in dismissing Railways for 189 in their second essay thereby keeping the overall lead of the hosts to a manageable 242 runs. Railways had a first innings lead of 53 runs.
UP were 25 for no loss at stumps on the third day and would now go all out for an outright victory which would take their points tally to 15 and help them beat the drop.
Railways 345 and 189 (Anushtup Majumdar 40, Piyush Chawla 5/67)
UP 292 (Mohammed Saif 86, Piyush Chawla 73, Ranjit Mali 5/67) and (target 243) 25/0
TN vs Baroda match heads towards exciting finish
A half-century from Swapnil Singh steered Baroda out of trouble and helped them set Tamil Nadu a 200-plus target on the third and penultimate day of their Ranji Trophy cricket match on Sunday.
Swapnil walked in with Baroda at 100 for 6, with their lead a mere 61 at that stage, and built fighting stands with the lower order before he was last out for 83 at the team
total of 245.
Chasing 207, Tamil Nadu lost Abhinav Mukund after an opening stand of 38, and were 51 for 1 at the draw of stumps at the Moti Bagh Stadium.
Murali Vijay was batting on 26 and Baba Aparajith was giving him company on five.
Tamil Nadu require another 156 runs to win on Monday with nine second innings wickets in hand.