Anmolpreet Singh cracked an unbeaten century as Punjab grabbed a firm grip over Bengal, taking a 170-run first innings lead, in their must-win Ranji Trophy Elite Group B clash on Tuesday.
Anmolpreet was unbeaten on 124 from 288 balls (13x4, 1x6) in his first century of the season as he guided Punjab to 357/7 on the second day, in reply to Bengal's first innings total of 187.
Talented 19-year-old Shubman Gill (91) seized the initiative earlier in the day, hitting at brisk pace all around the ground with Anmolpreet playing second fiddle.
But the youngster missed his century by nine runs when he tried to step down to Bengal seamer Mukesh Kumar only to mishit to mid-off in the first session.
Gill and Anmolpreet put together 89 runs in quick time to set the tone for Punjab before the latter anchored Punjab's innings and stitched two more fifty-plus stands with Mandeep Singh (44) and Gitansh Khera (42).
The winners of the match are set to make the quarterfinals.
The Jadavpur University Saltlake Campus ground wicket, which was believed to be a rank turner, looked perfect for batting as Punjab batsmen made full use of the conditions to send Bengal bowlers on a leather hunt.
Seamer Mukesh (4/89) was the pick of Bengal bowlers, while left-arm spinner Pradipta Pramanik (3/100) took the key wicket of Yuvraj Singh in his first ball.
The player of the tournament in the 2011 World Cup, Yuvraj, looked out of sorts and failed to get into the line of the ball and departed for one in his four-ball stay at the crease.
But the morning session belonged to supremely talented young Punjab opener Gill who scored all around the ground in his elegant half-century.
Overnight 36, Gill took just 13 balls to complete his seventh first-class fifty and looked set for a big one before mistiming Mukesh.
In the other Group B match, two late strikes helped Tamil Nadu seize the advantage against Delhi at stumps on the second day of the Ranji Trophy Elite Group 'B' match at the MA Chidambaram stadium here Tuesday.
Delhi ended the day at 35 for 2 in reply to Tamil Nadu's massive first innings score of 422 built on Abhinav Mukund's superb 134 (319 balls, 13X4) and half-centuries by captain Baba Indrajith (86) and debutant Pradosh Ranjan Paul (78, 129 balls, 12X4, 1X6) and M Shahrukh Khan 55 (139 balls, 4X4, 1X6).
For Delhi, Vikas Mishra was the best bowler, picking up 5 for 142 from 45.4 overs while Shivam Sharma took 4 for 105 from 44 overs.
R Sai Kishore struck the first blow for the host, dismissing opener Shivam Sharma (7) before Vijay Shankar effected a superb run-out to send back the other opener Kunal Chandela for 27 in the 13th over.
Earlier in the morning, Tamil Nadu resuming at 215 for 3 made slow progress with both Mukund and Vijay Shankar (17, 68 balls, 1X4) content to play the waiting game.
The Delhi bowlers-Navdeep Saini, Subodh Bhati and the spinners Shivam Sharma and Vikas Mishra maintained a good line and length to deny the host batsmen any chances to go on the offensive.
Vijay Shankar survived when he fended off a Saini delivery only to see it fall in front of the slip fielder.
However, he didn't stay too long, falling LBW to Bhati in the subsequent over.
Mukund found an able partner in newcomer Ranjan Paul, who played beautifully after struggling in the initial phase.
The two southpaws added 47 runs in 16 overs before Mukund's vigil came to an end, when he was caught by Delhi captain Nitish Rana off off-spinner Shivam Sharma.
Youngsters Paul and Shahrukh Khan, also in his debut season, joined forces and put on 82 runs for the sixth wicket.
The two played some eye-catching shots and were not afraid to go ariel, hitting a six each. Paul fell leg-before wicket to Vikas Mishra for 78 when he looked on track for a ton. Shahrukh Khan added 60 runs with last four wickets before being the last man dismissed, by Mishra.
Delhi left to face a little over 10 overs saw Chandela and Sharma see off the new ball attack of T Natarajan and M Mohammed. Chandela looked in good touch and played some delightful shots, including two in succession of a Natarajan over.
The lanky Sai Kishore, who was able to extract bounce from the track, trapped Shivam Sharma leg-before. As the host was looking to go to stumps with just a wicket down, Chandela was dismissed when Vijay Shankar scored a direct hit.
Hosts Mumbai, who are already out of contention for a quarter-final berth, are on the cusp of registering their first win of the season against Chhattisgarh in their Elite Group A Ranji Trophy game.
At the end of day two of the four-day game at the Wankhede Stadium, the 41-time champions needed 14 runs more to notch a consolation victory.
Mumbai ended the second day at 77 for 0 in their second innings, chasing a target of 91, with their openers Jay Bista (36 not out) and Vikrant Auti (32 not out) at the crease.
Mumbai, who had bundled out the opposition for 129 in the first innings on Monday, replied with 188 after starting day two on 118 for three.
The hosts then shot out the visitors for 149 in the second innings to place themselves on the cusp of their maiden outright win of the season.
First innings wreckers-in-chief, pacers Shardul Thakur (4-47) and Tushar Deshpande (4-53) were again the main destroyers in the visitors second innings.
Only Vishal Singh (47) showed some spine but that did not help his side.
In the morning, Mumbai lost seven wickets while adding 60 runs with recalled not out batsman Surya Kumar Yadav out for 43.
All-rounder Shivam Dubey chipped in with a valuable knock of 28.
Meanwhile, hosts Baroda held their nerve to beat Karnataka by 2 wickets in a pulsating match at Vadodara to keep their qualifying hopes for the quarters.
After this win, Baroda are now placed third with 26 points from eight matches. They had won three matches, lost one and drew the
On the other hand, Karnataka retained their second place with 27 points from eight matches.
They have won three matches and lost two. Yet, both Baroda and Karnataka's fortunes of qualifying for the quarterfinal depend on other match results.
At Rajkot, Saurshtra posted 356 in their first innings with some vital contributions from the lower-order against reigning champions Vidarbha.
At close of play, Vidarbha were 63 for 2, having lost their openers Aharva Taide and Faiz Fazal, and adrift by 293 runs.
In another inconsequential Elite Group A tie, hosts Railways thrashed Maharashtra by an innings and 58 runs in New Delhi.
Railways bundled out Maharashtra for 131 in the second to record the win and grabbed seven points.
Rajasthan trounced Tripura by an innings and 77 runs to book a berth in the Ranji Trophy quarter-finals from Elite Group C here Tuesday.
Led by pace spearhead Deepak Chahar, the Rajasthan bowlers bundled out Tripura for 106 in the second innings to guide their team to a massive victory and enable it to storm into the last eight of the national championship.
With this empathic win, Rajasthan became the first team from the group to qualify for the knockout rounds by topping the pool with 51 points, having won 7 of their 9 matches.
After bowling out Tripura for a paltry 35 in their first innings, Rajasthan took a dominant 183-run lead by scoring 218 in their first essay.
Tripura resumed the second day on 4 for no loss at the MBB stadium in Agartala, but Rajasthan pacer Chahar wreaked havoc as he returned with figures of 5-17 in just eight overs. Chahar was well supported by pacers Aniket Choudhary (2-18) and T M Haq (2-21).
Tripura skipper S K Patel was declared "absent hurt". For Tripura, No. 10 Harmeet Singh (29), Rajib Saha (24) and Neelambuj Vats (19) showed some resistance, but that wasn't enough to avoid a humiliating defeat.
The match lasted less than four sessions, ending before lunch on day two. Aniket Choudhary, who grabbed a five-wicket haul in the first essay, was adjudged the Man of the Match.
Meanwhile, at Rohtak, hosts Haryana needed 98 runs to win against Services, with nine wickets in hand.
Haryana conceded the first innings lead, but fought back and dismissed Services for just 79 in their second essay to tilt the match in their favour. At Bhubaneshwar, Odisha secured the crucial first innings lead against Goa.
The hosts, who decided not to enforce the follow-on, ended the second day at 37 for 1 as the overall lead swelled to 273 runs.
At Kanpur, hosts Uttar Pradesh, who secured the crucial first innings lead, ended the second day at 377 for 5 in the second essay, with middle-order batsman Rinku Singh unbeaten on 96.
At Jammu, the Jammu and Kashmir versus Jharkhand game began Tuesday after the first day was washed out owing to a wet outfield.
Jammu and Kashmir, who chose to bat, were shot out for 151 with Ajay Yadav (5-16) being the wrecker-in-chief for the visitors