Delhi on Monday missed a golden opportunity to register an outright win as Assam managed to sneak home with a point defending a target of 79 in 14 overs during final hour of play.

What looked like a cakewalk in the first hour ended in disappointment for the home team as they managed only 49 runs in eight overs under fading light when umpires were forced to call off the day’s proceedings.

Adequate gamesmanship from Assam also helped them earn a psychological point from their opening Group A encounter of the Ranji Trophy.

Unmukt Chand (25) failed to pierce the off-side field in fading light while Anuj Rawat’s inexperience showed. T20 specialist Nitish Rana (4) also failed going for a slog.

Assam captain Gokul Sharma spread the field with deep third man, deep point, deep midwicket and deep fine leg to stop the boundaries. Then at one point there were eight fielders at boundary giving batsmen chance to run two.

The Assam bowlers reportedly also used time wasting tactics to delay the proceedings with the light only getting worse. They would stop in the middle of their run-up, take their own time, tend to injuries.

Speaking after the game, Delhi coach KP Bhaskar, though, refused to blame Assam’s ploys for the result.

“They did what any other team would have done. They were well within their rights,” Bhaskar said. “We have now complaints. The game was scheduled to end at 4.50pm and went on till 5.30pm before bad light stopped play. We cannot hold that against the opposition.”

Delhi’s bowlers held some of the blame as they struggled to wrap up the Assam innings despite a 177-run first innings lead. Starting the day at 60/3, Assam batted with dogged determination as they consumed 108.4 overs to score 255.

Brief Scores (Group A):
Assam 258 & 255 (SS Roy 87, Wasiqur Rahaman 63) vs Delhi 435 & 49/2 in 8 overs. Points: Delhi 3 Assam 1.
Hyderabad vs Maharashtra: Match abandoned without a ball being bowled.

Andhra gain 3 points from drawn game against Tamil Nadu

Andhra Pradesh batsmen survived some anxious moments to secure a draw against a strong Tamil Nadu on the final day of its opening Ranji Trophy Group C match in Chennai on Monday.

An improved batting performance in the second innings by the host after conceding a 133-run first innings lead saw it set Andhra a target of 218 in 39 overs for an outright win.

Baba Aparajith made an unbeaten 108 while skipper Abhinav Mukund missed out on a ton, falling for 95 and Test opener Murali Vijay came back after retiring hurt yesterday after appearing to roll his ankle to score a sparkling half-century.

After a bright start, the visiting side faltered as Tamil Nadu bowlers exerted pressure in pursuit of victory.

KS Bharat led the way for Andhra with an enterprising knock of 64, which included five fours and two sixers while Ricky Bhui made 40.

However, after Bhui’s exit with the score at 161, Test all-rounder R Ashwin and K Vignesh picked up quick wickets to put the brakes on the scoring.

The dismissal of Bhui and the first innings centurion B Sumanth by Vignesh and Ashwin Hebbar and B Ayyappa by Ashwin raised Tamil Nadu’s hopes but time ran out for them.

The quick loss of wickets towards the end added to the excitement before Andhra finished at 198/7.

Brief scores (Group C):
Tamil Nadu 176 all out & 350/6 dec in 105 overs
(Baba Aparajith 108*, Abhinav Mukund 95, M Vijay 55, Prithvi Raj Yarra 3/61) drew Andhra 309 all out in 123.4 overs (B Sumanth 109, R Ashwin 4/71) & 198/7 in 41.4 overs (KS Bharat 64, Ricky Bhui 40, K Vignesh 3/34, R Ashwin 2/92) in Chennai. Points - Andhra: 3; TN: 1.
Madhya Pradesh 551/8 dec in 164 overs (Devendra Bundela 99, Shubam Sharma 196, Ankit Sharma 104) and 73/2 in 16 overs (Harpreet Singh Bhatia 44*) beat Baroda 302 all out in 79 overs (Yusuf Pathan 111, Irfan Pathan 80) and 318 all out in 76.1 overs (Yusuf Pathan 136*, A Sheth 109, Ishwar Pandey 5/40, Mihir Hirwani 3/77) by eight wickets at Indore. Points - MP: 6; Baroda: 0.
Tripura 194/8 dec in 68 overs (UU Bose 104, Dhiraj Singh 5/55) drew Odisha 18/1 in 5 overs at Bhubhaneshwar. Points - Tripura: 1; Odisha: 1.

Bengal get 3 points as Services hold onto a draw

Bengal bowlers failed to bag more than seven wickets as Services batted out 77 overs on the final day to secure a point from their Group D Ranji Trophy encounter in New Delhi on Monday.

Chasing an improbable target of 355 runs from minimum 77 overs, Services managed to hang on, ending at 212 for seven after Bengal batted an hour on the final day to declare on 161/5 in 22 overs.

On a placid Airforce Sports Complex track, it would have always been difficult to get 20 wickets.

Bengal skipper Manoj Tiwary possibly can’t be blamed for giving a bit of rest to his bowlers after they send down 111.2 overs in the Services first innings.

Bengal did harbour serious thoughts of victory after 43 overs when half of the Services team were back in the pavilion for 124 runs.

The bowlers had another 34 overs to get the remaining five wickets but left-handed Vikas Hathwala (64, 71 balls) and Muzaffaruddin Khalid (9 no off 99 balls) added 75 runs for the sixth wicket but more importantly consumed nearly 22 overs to frustrate the Bengal attack.

Amir Gani (1/57 in 26 overs) was not as effective as in the first innings and the Services duo, especially Khalid was ready to block anything and everything on an easy track.

Services were 208/7 at the end of the 70th over with another seven overs of play left.

But Khalid decided to take bulk of the strike with Shamsher Yadav (4 no, 18 balls) for company as the match ended in a draw.

Brief scores (Group D):
Bengal: 552/9 decl & 161/5 decl (Abhimanyu Easwaran 46, Wriddhiman Saha 22).
Services: 359 & 212/7 decl (Vikas Hathwala 64, Muzaffaruddin Khalid 9*; Kanishk Seth 2/18). Points: Bengal 3; Services 1.
Himachal Pradesh: 729/8 decl & 145/6 (Paras Dogra 45, Prashant Chopra 22) drew with Punjab: 601 (Abhishek Gupta 202, Abhishek Sharma 94). Points: Punjab 1; Himachal Pradesh 3.
Chattisgarh: 455 drew with Goa: 277 & 170/7 (Sumit Ruikar 5/29). Points: Chattisgarh 3; Goa 1.
(Group B): Rajasthan: 330 & 246/4 (Rajesh Bishnoi 101, Mahipal Lomror 65) drew with J&K: 436/8 decl (Ahmed Bandy 102, Parveez Rasool 97). Points: J&K 3 Rajasthan 1.