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Wisden Cricinfo staff
March 17, 2004
Elite Group semi-finals
Tamil Nadu 481 and 128 for 2 (Ramesh 57*) lead Railways 342 (JP Yadav 116, Ali 61) by 267 runs
Jai Prakash Yadav stroked a fighting hundred, but that wasn't enough to give Railways the first-innings lead in the semi-final at Chennai. Tamil Nadu rubbed it in when they batted, as Sadagoppan Ramesh led the way with an unbeaten 57. Resuming at 251 for 5, Yadav and Raja Ali kept Railways afloat by adding 65 for the sixth wicket. But Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan, the left-arm spinner, broke the partnership and the lower-order didn't last much longer. Vidyut, who also had Yadav caught behind, finished with 3 for 55. Yadav smashed 12 fours and three sixes in his knock. Having gained a 139-run lead, Tamil Nadu went about their second innings in a sedate manner. Ramesh, who hit six fours, and Sriram put them in a strong position by adding 68 runs. Ramesh was still there at stumps and it would require something special if Railways are to prevent Tamil Nadu from entering their second successive final.
This match finished earlier
Mumbai 476 (Mazumdar 51, Raju 6-139) beat Hyderabad 166 and 158 (Rayudu 53, Bahutule 6-53) by an innings and 152 runs
Sairaj Bahutule weaved his web around the Hyderabad batsmen as Mumbai romped into the final with a massive victory at the Wankhede Stadium. Hyderabad capitulated for just 158, to follow up their first-innings debacle, and were whipped by an innings and 152 runs. Bahutule, who engineered the collapse, finished with 6 for 53 with his legspin.
Mumbai began the third day with an imposing 389 for 3 and Amol Mazumdar soon completed a confident half-century. The Hyderabad bowlers had suffered a severe mauling on the second day, with Vinayak Mane and Vinod Kambli smashing hundreds, and a total in excess of 500 was very much in sight. But they struck some vital blows on the third morning and restricted Mumbai to 476. Venkatapathy Raju, the left-arm spinner, picked up three important wickets and the offspinner Shivaji Yadav spun out the tail.
The Hyderabad batsmen put up a sorry show in the second innings as well. Ambati Rayudu and Anirudh Singh put on 71, but that was the only consolation in a miserable batting effort. The last six managed only 15 between them as Nilesh Kulkarni, the left-arm spinner, and Bahutule got stuck in. Rayudu also played the lone hand in the first innings, but his elegant 95 was the solitary light in a dismal batting show.
Plate Group semi-finals
Madhya Pradesh 258 and 84 for 2 need 230 more runs to beat Orissa 253 (Raul 87, Parida 74)
In a match where the pendulum has swung every day, Madhya Pradesh gave themselves a fighting chance of entering the final. Chasing 314 for victory, they were 84 for 2 at stumps, with Naman Ojha unbeaten on 36. However, it was their bowlers who got them back into the match today. Orissa began the day at 110 for 3, and barring Sanjay Raul's 87, the rest didn't contribute too much. Raul's effort contained 10 fours and a six, but Yogesh Golwalkar (4 for 102), the offspinner, and legspinner Narendra Hirwani (4 for 79) ensured against any lower-order resistance. Orissa were bowled out for 253, leaving MP to chase 314 in their last innings. Debasis Mohanty picked up an early wicket, but Ojha and Sachin Dholpure added 68 and kept MP on course.
Haryana 236 and 215 for 4 (Sunny 87, Chetan 61) trail Maharashtra 592 (Satbhai 119) by 141 runs
Satyajit Satbhai, the wicketkeeper, became the third centurion for Maharashtra as they amassed 592 in their first innings. Haryana, though, didn't cave in, like they had in the first innings, with Sunny Singh and Chetan Sharma putting on 151 for the first wicket. However Kashinath Khadkikar, the medium-pacer, had both of them caught and bowled and Haryana slumped to 215 for 4 when play ended. Their hopes now rest on Shafiq Khan, who made a hundred in the first innings, batting on 34.
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