Bangalore: A superb bowling performance by Haryana's Harshal Patel gave the visitors the first day's honours over Karnataka at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Monday, while significantly boosting their chances of making the Ranji Trophy semi-finals.
On a lively wicket affording the seamers good bounce, Patel, a 21-year-old medium-pacer in his first season of first-class cricket, achieved the amazing figures of 8 for 40 in 16.5 overs to skittle the hosts for 151 after skipper Ganesh Sathish opted to bat. By stumps, Haryana’s openers had whittled away 120 runs to move to within 31 of taking the first-innings lead over the six-time Ranji winners.
In three productive spells, Patel confounded Karnataka in seam-friendly conditions by pitching it on and around off stump and asking questions of the home team's form batsmen. His first wicket came in the fourth over when KB Pawan edged to Nitin Saini behind the wicket, and Patel reproduced the mode of dismissal twice again in a spell of 7-4-18-3 to add Satish and Bharat Chipli. At 40 for 3, with two of their strongest batsman this season in Pawan (625 runs) and Sathish (550 runs) back in the pavilion, Karnataka were hurting. Matters worsened when Robin Uthappa (35) fell to Mohit Sharma in the 18th over, leaving Karnataka 51 for 4.
Haryana moved to within 31 of taking the first-innings lead over six-time Ranji winners Karnataka.
Patel - whose previous best in an innings was 3 for 52 - returned for a second spell and removed Amit Verma and the in-form Stuart Binny in consecutive overs as the pressure was multiplied. Binny erred in judgment when he shouldered arms to a ball that tailed back in to hit off-stump, while Verma nicked to Sachin Rana at second slip.
A 40-run stand for the eighth wicket between wicketkeeper CM Gautam (26) and CM Raju (21) was the best Karnataka could muster, but once that was snapped by Patel there was little else on offer. In his third spell (4.2-1-9-3) Patel capped an outstanding performance by removing SL Akshay and NC Aiyappa in his final two overs, after getting Gautam at the start of that outing. His figures were the third best for Haryana in the Ranji Trophy, following Joginder Sharma's 8 for 24 versus Vidharbha in the 2004-05 season and Kapil Dev's 8 for 38 against Services in 1977-78.
In reply, Haryana's openers put on an unbeaten century stand to drive home the advantage. Nitin Saini (55 not out) and Rahul Dewan (63 not out) batted with assurance and took few risks in carrying the score to 120 for no loss, just 31 runs behind Karnataka.
Brief scores: Haryana 120 for 0 in 38 overs (Rahul Dewan 63 not out, Nitin Saini 55 not out) trail Karnataka 151 in 49.5 overs (Robin Uthappa 35; Harshal Patel 8/40) by 31 runs.
Mumbai slump after Kulkarni, seamers lay platform
Indore: On a Holkar Stadium wicket with a tinge of green, 15 wickets fell on the opening day's play between hosts Madhya Pradesh and Mumbai. When Mumbai's seam attack, led by five-wicket hero Dhawal Kulkarni, dismissed MP for 192, it appeared the hosts had achieved too little. But by taking five wickets before the close of play, MP had regained plenty of lost ground and were well-poised to take a decisive first-innings lead.
The batting was poor on both sides, beginning with MP's after they were put in to bat. Wasim Jaffer's decision to field was vindicated as Mumbai’s seam attack bowled MP out in 55.1 overs, with Kulkarni’s 5 for 74 leading the way. Kulkarni delivered the first blow in the opening over when he had Zafar Ali lbw for 0. Kshemal Waingankar, coming on at first-change, picked up two wickets by bowling Mohnish Mishra (33) and having skipper Devendra Bundela (4) caught by Kulkarni. Balwinder Sandhu picked up the prize wicket of Naman Ojha, caught behind for 23, between those two strikes, before Kulkarni removed to get Jalaj Saxena for 0 to leave MP at 84 for 5. With only Udit Birla managing to cross 33, MP struggled. Kulkarni picked up Birla (63), Amarjeet Singh (16) and Ishwar Pandey (0) during a prolonged second spell.
However, MP's bowlers put in a more disciplined effort than Mumbai's had, and did well to take out half the side by the end of the day. Mumbai's batsmen fared poorly, the lack of application against a tidy bowling outfit denting their chances. Onkar Gurav was bowled by TP Sudhindra for 6 in the 15th over, having faced 44 deliveries. Praful Waghela (17) was the next to go, lbw to Sudhindra in the 17th over. Sudhindra was outstanding in a 12-over spell that cost just 14 runs and included five maidens.
Jaffer could manage just 1, caught behind by Ojha off Amarjeet Singh, while right-arm seamer Murtaza Ali delivered a crippling blow. With consecutive deliveries in the 28th over, Ali removed Suryakant Yadav and Waingankar as Mumbai slumped to 60 for 5.
Brief scores: Mumbai 70 for 5 in 33 overs (Kaustabh Pawar 30*; Murtaza Ali 2/2, TP Sudhindra 2/14) trail Madhya Pradesh 192 in 55.1 overs (Udit Birla 63; Dhawal Kulkarni 5/54, Kshemal Waingankar 3/29) by 122 runs.
Top order carries watchful Maharashtra
Chennai: Maharashtra made slow progress on the first day of their quarter-final against Tamil Nadu at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, accumulating 204 for the loss of four wickets in 84 overs. Harshad Khadiwale (61) and Chirag Khurana (44) set a platform with a 116-run opening stand in 46 overs, after which Sangram Atitkar carried the baton following a brief slump.
The openers fell in the space of 16 deliveries for the addition of no loss, to medium-pacer Yo Mahesh and slow left-arm bowler Aushik Srinivas. Srinivas' dismissal of Nikhil Paradkar (6) left Maharashtra at 137 for 3, but Atitkar and wicketkeeper Ankit Bhawne put on 59 to steady proceedings. Atitkar, unbeaten on 50 at stumps, will need to continue in the same vein if Maharashtra are to challenge a strong TN outfit.
Brief scores: Maharashtra 204 for 4 in 84 overs (Harshad Khadiwale 61, Sangram Atitkar 50 not out, Chirag Khurana 44) v Tamil Nadu.
Dogged Chopra guides Rajasthan
Hyderabad: Veteran opener Aakash Chopra's dogged half-century and an equally gritty effort by wicketkeeper Dishant Yagnik helped Rajasthan recover from a poor start to reach 220 for five at stumps on the first day of their quarter-final against Hyderabad.
The duo came in when Rajasthan were in a precarious position, at 129 for five. Chopra batted the whole day for his 82, facing 272 deliveries in the process. He hit six boundaries and, with Yagnik, the former India opener added 91 runs for the unbroken sixth-wicket stand. Yagnik, who is batting on 60, faced 130 deliveries and hit seven fours.
The slide started in the very first over, with experienced Vinit Saxena was caught by Arjun Yadav off pacer Anwar Ahmed. Skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar (4) edged an outgoing delivery from the other new-ball bowler Kaushik Naidu into Ibrahim Khaleel's hands. The current highest scorer in the national championship, Robin Bist (12) was then adjudged leg-before off left-arm spinner A Lalith Mohan.
At 30/3, Rashmi Ranjan Parida (26) joined Chopra, and the two pros took the score to 63. Parida used his feet well against the spinners, but then nicked one to Khaleel off left-arm spinner Mehdi Hassan.
Puneet Yadav (33) played confidently as his partnership with Chopra yielded 56 runs, before a Mohan delivery caught the former plumb in-front.
However, Chopra and Yagnik played with lot of caution. For Chopra, this was his 49th first-class half-century, and he now stands 18 shy off his 29th century in the longer version of the game.
Brief scores: Rajasthan 220 for 5 in 90 overs (Aakash Chopra 82*, Dishant Yagnik 60*; Lalith Mohan 2/63) v Hyderabad.