Maharashtra assumed second last place in Group B after a drab draw with Orissa in Sambalpur. Orissa took three points for taking the first innings lead in a match Maharashtra were hoping to win. With five points from four games, Maharashtra’s chances of qualifying for the quarterfinals has taken a severe beating after this result.
Uttar Pradesh are leading Group B with their win against Baroda taking them to the top with 17 points. Orissa is at second place with 16 points and Baroda at third with 13. Maharashtra finished the final day at 333 for five, with Ankit Bawne and Chirag Khurana unbeaten on 52 runs each.
In the morning, Maharashtra resumed their innings at 73 for one with Harshad Khadiwale and Sangram Atitkar at the crease. Khadiwale, who was unbeaten on 43, did not waste any time playing himself in. He started confidently, driving Basant Mohanty down the ground for a couple of boundaries and then proceeded to cut Alok Sahoo through point for two more boundaries. Atitkar had a comparatively sedate beginning, preferring to knock the ball around for singles and concentrating on rotating the strike. Maharashtra skipper Rohit Motwani had said a declaration before tea was possible if a suitable score could be put on the board. Khadiwale and Atitkar’s intent definitely mirrored the captain’s words as the scoring rate accelerated.
However, off-spinner Lagnajit Samal’s introduction proved to be the stumbling block for Maharashtra, as the offie claimed Khadiwale who departed after a well-made 92. Khadiwale and Atitkar struck Maharashtra’s biggest partnership of the match, scoring 176 runs between them. Samal then got a delivery to hurry past Atitkar’s defence and the right-hander returned to the pavilion on 88.
Skipper Rohit Motwani was also dismissed by Samal, as he got a nick to the keeper. Samal returned to snap up Kedar Jadhav to leave Maharashtra reeling at 254 for five. Ankit Bawne and Chirag Khurana averted any further damage by playing out the remaining overs but Maharashtra, who have challenging games against Haryana, Delhi, Karnataka and Baroda coming up, will be ruing the fact that they missed out on a good chance to rack up points against a modest Orissa. Maharashtra will play Haryana on December 8 at the Subrata Roy Sahara stadium.