A file photo of Virender Sehwag. (Getty Images)
New Delhi: Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir were dismissed cheaply in yet another pathetic batting show by Delhi, who are now staring at a big defeat against table toppers Karnataka in their final Tanji Trophy group league match on Wednesday.
Having conceded a first innings lead of 87 runs after Karnataka scored 289 in their first innings, Delhi were tottering at 132 for 6 at stumps on day three with a lead of 45 runs and four wickets in hand.
Sehwag's (11) woeful first-class season might have ended on Wednesday as he was trapped by a HS Sharath delivery that hit him below knee-roll having cut back a little. The umpire had little hesitation in giving him out.
He had slashed one for four over slips in his 34-ball stay. Sehwag's Ranji season ended with 234 runs at a dismal average of less than 20 in 13 innings with a second innings 50 against Haryana.
It will be highly unlikely that Sehwag will be picked in the North Zone team with the likes of Jiwanjot Singh and even his opening partner Gambhir (578) having scored lot more than him. It was a pity to see the 35-year old bespectacled opener struggle against unknown domestic bowlers even on benign pitches.
Gambhir (26) again played those streaky shots through the slips with only confident boundary being clip through mid-wicket. He was dismissed before Sehwag when a ball kept low and he didn't commit fully on front foot as it thudded on the pads.
Manan Sharma was also adjudged leg before by Ronit More (3 for 27) when a delivery hit him low as Delhi were 41 for 3 going into tea.
Mithun Manhas (32) hit some flowing boundaries and just as he was getting into the groove, Shreyas Gopal's acrobatic catch off his own bowling saw him head back to pavilion.
Rajat Bhatia (30) and Rahul Yadav (17) tried to stem the rot with a 39 run stand before Ronit bowled an outswinger that took edge off Bhatia's bat to land in CM Gautham's gloves.
Yadav also lost his concentration, dragging one back to his stumps as Delhi were in total mess with six down before umpire stopped play due to bad light. Varun Sood was on eight and Manoj Chauhan had not opened his account.
Earlier, rookie opener Karun Nair (105) got his maiden first class century, driving Manan Sharma through mid-on as Karnataka managed 63 runs more to their overnight total of 226 for 5.
Nair was finally out when Ashish Nehra (3 for 39) trapped the youngster leg before as the lower order did not contribute much.
Brief Scores: Delhi 202 & 132 for 6 (Gautam Gambhir 26, Virender Sehwag 11, Ronit More 3/27); Karnataka 287 (Karun Nair 105, Stuart Binny 88, Varun Sood 3/93, Ashish Nehra 3/39)
Punjab spinners sink Jharkhand to an innings defeat
At Dhanbad, part-time offspinner Gurkeerat Singh and left-arm tweaker Rajwinder Singh finished with match-haul of eight wickets each as Punjab progressed into the knockout round by hammering Jharkhand by an innings and 173 runs in a Ranji Trophy Group A match.
The result meant that Jharkhand will have to return to Group C after just one season.
Offspinner Gurkeerat took four for 59, while Rajwinder (3 for 38) and Rahul Sharma (3 for 15) picked three wickets apiece to skittle Jharkhand for 127 in their second innings at the Railway Stadium.
Punjab bowlers took just 34.1 overs to bowl the hosts after they were asked to follow on Punjab skipper Mandeep Singh on day three here.
Resuming the day on 210 for 9, Jharkhand could add only six runs to end their first innings 300 run behind Punjab's total of 516.
Left-arm spinner Rajwinder added one more wicket to his overnight tally of four, bringing up his second five-wicket haul in first-class cricket.
Asked to bat again, Jharkhand failed to negotiate the spin trio of Gurkeerat, Rajwinder and Rahul.
Opener Rameez Nemat, who made 81 in the first innings, was the only batsman to resist once again as wickets kept tumbling at the other end. Nemat made 48 off 85 balls, including seven fours.
Gurkeerat finished with match figures of eight for 99, while Rajwinder spent 106 runs to claim his eight scalps.
Brief Scores: Punjab: 516; Jharkhand: 216 & 127 allout 34.1 overs (Rameez Nemat 48, Kumar Deobrat 24; Gurkeerat Singh 4/59)
Dewan's 273 keeps Haryana in Ranji top-tier
At Bhubaneswar, opener Rahul Dewan hit a magnificent 273 to ensure that Haryana remained in the top tier of Ranji Trophy next season after taking a 384-run first-innings lead against Odisha on the third and penultimate day of their final Group A league match.
A win for Odisha is now out of equation as they trail by 351 runs overall after ending the day at 33 for no loss in their second innings.
Three points from a draw on the basis of first innings lead will be enough for Haryana to push Jharkhand to the bottom of the nine-team Group A table, thereby saving themselves from relegating to Group C.
Dewan, batting on 136 overnight, extended his score to 273 and his third-wicket partnership with Sachin Rana to 311, as Haryana declared on a mammoth 626 for four with two other batsmen also scoring centuries.
Dewan faced 461 balls and struck 35 fours in bettering his previous best first-class score of 254 not out. Rana made 157 from 213 balls, with 14 fours and six sixes. His dismissal brought to the crease wicketkeeper Nitin Saini, who hit an unbeaten 114-ball 102 that contained nine fours and five sixes. Saini put on 150 with Dewan for the fourth-wicket in just 182 balls
Brief Scores: Odisha: 242 and 33 for no loss in 16 overs (Govind Podder 14 batting, Girija Rout batting 19); Haryana: 626 for 4 in 149 overs (Rahul Dewan 273, Sachin Rana 157, Nitin Saini 102 not out)
It's even stevens in Mumbai-Gujarat Group A match
At Valsad, a splendid rearguard action by their batsmen and three quick wickets have kept Mumbai in contention for a berth in the quarterfinals even as Gujarat would also fancy their chances as their Ranji Trophy Group A contest is headed for an exciting finish, here.
In a chase of 175, Gujarat are 67 for 3 and need to bat cautiously to score the remaining runs while Mumbai would go all out to remove the seven remaining batsmen to move to the knockout stage.
Beginning the day at 76 for 4, Mumbai scored 273 to set a 175-run target for the hosts.
Overnight batsmen Hiken Shah and Iqbal Abdulla, both on 4, added 60 runs for the fifth wicket. Their partnership was broken by Rakesh Dhruv when the left-arm spinner had Abdulla (38) caught but the following batsmen kept fighting for Mumbai.
Akshar Patel denied Shah (48) a half-century but Pravin Tambe played a significant knock of 42 runs and then Shardul Thakur (22) and Javed Khan (23) came up with useful knocks to shore up the Mumbai second innings total.
Jasprit Bumrah (4 for 68) and Askhar Patel (3 for 71) shared seven wickets between them for Gujarat.
Mumbai then put Gujarat on shaky ground by dismissing Smit Patel (6), Samit Gohel (0) and skipper Parthiv Patel (5) cheaply, with Abdulla removing both the openers.
Bhargav Merai (19) and Askhar Patel (25) then denied Mumbai more success to the end the day at 67 for 3 as they need to score 108 more runs for an outright win and a place in the quarter-finals.
Brief Scores: Mumbai: 154 and 273 in 103.3 overs. (Hiken Shah 48, Pravin Tambe 42; Jasprit Bumrah 4/68, Askhar Patel 3/71); Gujarat: 253 and 67/3 in 22 overs.(Askhar Patel 25 batting; Iqbal Abdulla 2/11)