Ranji Trophy 2023: At Brabourne, an unexpected twist; luck smiling on Andhra, Rajasthan on the edge

There have been only nine instances in Ranji Trophy where both teams ended up having their first-innings scores level. And Mumbai, needing three points to make it to the quarterfinals, only had to surpass Maharashtra’s total of 384 and force a draw. However, despite Prasad Pawar’s maiden century (145) and Tanush Kotian’s 93, they managed only 384. When the eighth wicket fell, Mumbai needed 44 more runs with Kotian fighting the lone battle. Then Mohit Avasthi fell, 13 runs from the target. But with the scores level, left-arm spinner Vicky Otswal bowled Kotian to dash Mumbai’s hopes. With no team getting the lead, as things stand, both Maharashtra and Mumbai will get only one point and will not make the quarterfinals. For one of them to qualify, they need to produce an outright win.

Brief scores: Maharashtra 384 & 51/2 in 22 overs vs Mumbai 384 in 116 overs (Prasad Pawar 145, Tanush Kotian 93, Pradeep Dadhe 3/80).

Luck smiling on Andhra

When the final league match commenced, Andhra’s qualifying hopes hinged on the unlikely scenario of Maharashtra and Mumbai splitting a point each and themselves earning a bonus point against Assam. Andhra did their bit by inflicting an innings defeat on Assam, which guaranteed a bonus point, and the Maharashtra-Mumbai game is all set for a draw, as both teams ended their first innings on the exact total.

By beating Assam by an innings and 95 runs, Andhra are sitting on top of Group B with 26 points. In case, there is no outright winner between Mumbai and Maharashtra, the latter will end up on 26 points. However, Andhra has one bonus point more than Maharashtra, which will take them through.

Brief scores: Assam 113 & 153 in 54.1 overs (Kunal Saikia 36, Lalith Mohan 5/40) lost to Andhra 361.

Jharkhand lose, but can still make it

Resuming the third day at 85/2 and trailing Karnataka by 51 runs, Jharkhand could only put 201 on board in their second innings. Needing 66 runs to win, Karnataka reached the target with 9 wickets in hand to land a big blow to Jharkhand’s quarterfinal hopes. However, Jharkhand can still make it to the quarterfinals as Kerala and Rajasthan – the two teams who could leapfrog them to the second spot – are in trouble elsewhere.

Brief scores: Jharkhand 164 & 201 in 78.5 overs (Supriya Chakraborty 48, K Gowtham 5/75, Vasuki Koushik 3/21) lost to Karnataka 300 & 66/1 in 18.1 overs.

Tough task for Kerala

Despite Jharkhand handing them an opening, Kerala failed to drive home the advantage as they conceded first innings lead to Pondicherry. Needing a win to go through, Kerala folded for 286 in their first innings in response to Pondicherry’s first innings total of 371. And with only one more day left and Pondicherry already 119 runs ahead and 9 wickets in hand, unless Kerala trigger a collapse with the ball, they will fail to make the quarterfinals.

Brief scores: Pondicherry 371 & 34/1 in 14 overs vs Kerala 286 in 113 overs (Akshay Chandran 70, Sagar Udeshi 5/62).

Rajasthan on the edge

Like Kerala, Rajasthan also had a chance to qualify for the quarterfinals at the expense of Jharkhand. However, they are staring at a group stage exit as they need another 212 runs to beat Services with just four wickets in hand. With all the top-order batsmen gone, and only Deepak Chahar left to come, Rajasthan have a mountain to climb at Jodhpur.

Brief scores: Services 178 & 276 in 103.5 over (Ravi Chauhan 98, Lovekesh Bansal 50, Aniket Choudhary 5/58) vs Rajasthan 136 & 107/6 in 38 overs (Yash Kothari 72, Pulkit Narang 4/20).

Uttarakhand, Punjab on course

At Lahli, Uttarakhand were 125/1 in their first innings as they look set to make the quarterfinals. Having dismissed Haryana for 233, they are on course to take the first innings lead. To make it easier for them, at Nadaun there was no play between Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The former needed a win to upstage Uttarakhand. Elsewhere, at Mohali, there was no play on Day 3 between Punjab and Vidarbha as the hosts have all but sealed their spot in quarterfinals

Brief Scores: Haryana 233 (Sumit Kumar 86, Avneesh Sudha 6/51) lead Uttarakhand 125/1 (Avneesh Sudha 61 not out) by 108 runs.

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