Mumbai: Maharashtra ensured their berth in the knock-out rounds of the Vijay Hazare Trophy along with Mumbai, after defeating the hosts by 15 runs to notch their third straight win in the five-team West Zone one-day league, at the Wankhede Stadium, here on Sunday.
Maharashtra, asked to bat first, recovered from a poor start to rake up a challenging total of 254 for 8 riding on Ankit Bawne's unbeaten 93 in 121 balls with a six and nine fours and then shot out Mumbai for 239 in 48.3 overs to emerge convincing victors.
The wreckers-in-chief for Maharashtra were left-arm spinner Akshay Darekar, who grabbed five for 59, and medium-pacer Anupam Sanklecha, who claimed 3 wickets.
Mumbai would have lost by a bigger margin but for fighting half centuries by lower-order batsmen Iqbal Abdulla, who made 52 off 60 balls, and fellow-left arm spinner Ankit Chavan (58 off 78 balls).
Among the top-order batsmen Abhishek Nayar contributed 42 off 48 balls, but opener and stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane (13), Sushant Marathe (14), former captain Wasim Jaffer (0) and Suryakumar Yadav (5) - all failed.
Earlier, Bawne and Sangram Atitkar (54 in 60 balls with a six and 5 four) rescued Maharashtra with a stand of 89 for the fourth wicket before the former put on useful partnerships, 38 with Kedar Jadhav (28) and 50 Shrikant Munde (24) - to consolidate the innings.
For Mumbai, who rested regular skipper Ajit Agarkar, medium pacers Dhawal Kulkarni and Nayar grabbed two wickets apiece.
Mumbai have completed their league engagements with three victories while Maharashtra have a game in hand on Tuesday and would top the league if they win it too.
In the other match played at Kolkata, veteran allrounders Sanjib Sanyal and Laxmi Ratan Shukla snared eight wickets amongst themselves as Bengal beat Tripura by 30 runs to ensure a safe passage into the knock-out rounds.
It was a low-scoring affair where Tripura bowled out Bengal for 198 but the hosts bowlers kept the minnows under tight leash to eventually bowl them out for 168 in 37.4 overs.
The 35-year-old Sanyal playing a national level match after three years (last played for Railways) got four for 33 while Shukla had figures of four for 37 to show for his efforts.
Bengal now have 14 points from three matches and would finish as East Zone leaders if they manage to beat Assam on Tuesday.
The hosts seemed to be cruising along when Tripura slumped to 80 for eight in the 22nd over but Manisankar Murasingh (66, 64 balls, 5x4, 4x6) and Rana Dutta (24 no, 36 balls, 1x4, 1x6) added 86 runs in less than 15 overs to take the score to 166 for eight.
With only 33 equired to win, it was Sanyal who dismissed Murasingh caught by Sourashis Lahiri in the deep and skipper Sourav Ganguly then trapped Sanjay Majumdar leg before to win it for hosts.
Earlier, when Bengal batted, it was Wriddhiman Saha (66, 91 balls, 7x4) who made a significant contribution as Sourav Ganguly (8) again failed with the bat. Debabrata Das (24) and Shreevats Goswami (29) got off to starts but failed to convert as Bengal were all out for 198 in 49 overs.
However, Delhi registered their fourth win in the North Zone leg by beating Haryana by four wickets at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground.
Delhi, who are through to the knock-out round now have 19 points from four games but this was the first match where they couldn't manage a bonus point.
Chasing a modest score of 214, Delhi batsmen made a rough weather of an easy target as they won with three balls to spare. It was skipper Rajat Bhatia who finished the proceedings with a hige six over mid-wicket off Harshal Patel's bowling.
For Delhi, youngster Mohit Sharma (56, 65 balls, 5x4) was the top-scorer while Punit Bisht (33), Milind Kumar (39) got out after getting set.
Yet in another tie, all-rounder Yusuf Pathan scored a blistering century as Baroda defeated Saurashtra by 52 runs to register their first win in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Pathan's 78-ball 114, which included 10 sixes and six fours, helped Baroda score 315-8 in their 50 overs.
Saurashtra were then bowled out for 263, despite a maiden ton by 23-year-old Sheldon Jackson who scored 117 (120b, 4x7, 6x5).
Pathan, who came to the crease with Baroda at 3-101 in the 24th over, single-handedly demolished the Saurashtra attack while completing his century in just 69 balls with the help of nine sixes and six fours.
Openers K Devdhar (45), A Waghmode (38), Ambati Rayudu (33) and A Karambelkar (37) too chipped in with useful scores for Baroda. All-rounder C Jani and Kamlesh Makwana picked up two wickets apiece for Saurashtra.
Chasing a target of 316, Saurashtra began disastrously losing opener S Jogiyani in the first over for a nought.
Veteran Sitanshu Kotak made 24 before being dismissed by pacer Munaf Patel. Skipper Cheteshwar Pujara (32) and Jackson added 103 runs for the third wicket, but after Pujara's dismissal by Gagandeep Singh in the 30th over with the score on 154, Saurashtra lost regular wickets.