An inspired bowling performance by Aamir Aziz, the left-arm spinner, helped Jammu & Kashmir register their first win of the 2017-18 season in Jamshedpur. However, it was certain that both J&K and Jharkhand were out of contention for a quarter-final berth with one game to play.
Aziz picked up five second-innings wickets to take his match tally to 9 for 149 as Jharkhand, who began briskly in a steep final-day chase of 350, were bowled out for 243 in 49.4 overs. The openers Ishan Kishan (52) and Mohammad Nazim Siddique (38) added 87 in 11.5 overs to give their chase a fillip. Utkarsh Singh, at No. 3, made a solid 47 to further strengthen their prospects of a second win, but the middle order imploded.
Shahbaz Nadeem reduced the margin of victory by making 53, but that was scant consolation. Parvez Rasool, the J&K captain, who top scored with 70 in the second innings to help stretch the lead past 300, finished with 5 for 99, his 12th five-for in first-class cricket. Earlier in the day, J&K added 19 to their overnight 246 for 7 before declaring their second innings in the first session to set up the possibility of their outright win, which they achieved in the second session.
Saurashtra continued to remain to top of the Group C standings as they walked away with the first-innings honours against defending champions Gujarat in Rajkot. The top two – Gujarat are currently second – in the points table continued to remain as they were, but the race for the quarter-finals intensified, with Kerala, two points adrift of Gujarat, also in the fight.
Gujarat, who rode Priyank Panchal’s 145 to make a pitch for a lead, were bowled out for the addition of 110 to their overnight 303 for 4, conceding a lead of 157. Once the first-innings honours were decided, the game went into snooze mode with Saurashtra opting for batting practice. Robin Uthappa‘s return to form was a big positive. The Karnataka opener, who joined them prior to this season as a professional, struck his first half-century of the season, and was unbeaten on 64. Saurashtra had posted 98 for 1 when players shook hands.