Mumbai: India discard and Uttar Pradesh skipper Mohammad Kaif and Baroda wicketkeeper Pinal Shah played fighting knocks for their respective teams on the opening day of the five-day Ranji Trophy (Elite League) semi-final matches being played simultaneously at Indore and Vadodara on Saturday.
At the Moti Bagh Stadium in Vadodara, Uttar Pradesh, after being put into bat by minnows Saurashtra could manage just 188 all out in their first innings off 51.5 overs in 253 minutes with Kaif slamming a fighting 80 off 122 balls in 199 minutes with 13 hits to the fence.
Just three other batsmen – B Kumar (33 not out off 85 balls), Ravikant Shukla (29 off 28 balls) and Indian One-Day player Praveen Kumar (11 off 18 balls) – managed to reach double figures apart from Kaif.
Medium pacers Sandip Maniar (six for 88) and Sandeep Jobanputra (three for 60) were the main wicket takers for Saurashtra.
In reply, Saurashtra were struggling at 116 for eight off 34 overs at stumps with Rakesh Dhurv (21 off 40 balls with two boundaries) and Jobanputra (15 not out off 21 balls with two fours and a six) at the crease.
Skipper Jaydev Shah was battling it out on 45 off 56 balls hitting seven fours along with Dhurv (1). They still need 72 runs with just two first innings wickets in hand to take the vital lead.
New ball bowlers Praveen Kumar (three for 35) and Sandeep Tyagi (three for 43) did most of the damage to Saurashtra innings.
Bhandari, Narwal shine for Delhi:
At the Maharani Usharaje Trust Cricket Ground in Indore, star-studded Delhi had made 49 for three from 19 overs in their first innings after bowling out Baroda to 199 off 64.4 overs in 295 minutes.
For Baroda, who won the toss and elected to bat first, Pinal Shah top scored with a fine 46 off 77 balls in 101 minutes, including eight boundaries with Shatrunjay Gaekwad giving him some support making 43 off 65 balls in 106 minutes hitting six fours.
Former India paceman Amit Bandari (four for 52) and new ball partner S Narwal (four for 56) were the main wicket takers for Delhi.
In fact Delhi were reduced to five for three off just 4.3 overs with inform batsmen Aakash Chopra (3), Gautam Gambhir (2) and Shikhar Dhawan (0) all back in the pavilion before skipper Mithun Manhas (batting 26 off 42 balls) and Aditya Jain (18 off 50 balls) came to their aid.
Medium pacer Sumit Singh (two for 25) was the pick of the Baroda bowlers.
Railways struggling against Gujarat:
In the Plate League final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, former Ranji champions Railways were reduced to 202 for seven off 90 overs by Gujarat after the former won the toss and elected to bat first.
Middle order batsman H D Rawle held the Railway team together with an unbeaten 89 off 224 balls hitting 14 fours while medium pacer S K Trevedi (two for 40) and spinner M B Parmar (three for 56) were among wickets for Gujarat.
Brief scores (at Indore): Baroda 1st innings 199 all out off 64.4 overs (P Shah 46, S Gaekwad 43, A Bhandari 4-52, S Narwal 4-56) vs Delhi 1st innings 49 for three (M Manhas batting 26, A Jain batting 18).
(At Baroda): Uttar Pradesh 1st innings 188 all out (M Kaif 80, B Kumar 33 not out, S Maniar 6-88, S Jabanputra 3-60) vs Saurashtra 1st innings 69 for six (J Shah batting 45, B Kumar 3-35, S Tyagi 3-43).
Plate League final (at Mumbai): Railways 1st innings 202 for seven (H D Rawle batting 89, H Singh batting 11, M B Parmar 3-56, S K Trivedi 2-40) vs Gujarat.