Bengal and Orissa make knockouts
Bengal booked their place in the knockout stage after their bowlers engineered a 45-run victory over Tripura at the Sunshine Ground in Cuttack. Halfway through the match, Tripura looked set for their second win - which would have given them an outside chance of qualifying for the next phase - after limiting Bengal to 123. Medium-pacers Rana Dutta and Rajib Saha took three wickets each, and the only Bengal batsmen to make substantial contributions were captain Manoj Tiwary (40) and opener Shreevats Goswami (39).
Bengal's bowlers, though, restricted Tripura to a measly 78, with six of the batsmen making single-digit scores. Tripura briefly put up a fight, moving to 47 for 3, before losing five wickets for 10 runs to virtually extinguish their chances. Four members of the Bengal attack had economy-rates below four as they stifled Tripura, and left-arm spinner Iresh Saxena was the most successful, finishing with 3-14.
Orissa also made it to the next round with their third straight victory, beating Jharkhand by five wickets in another low-scoring encounter at the Ravenshaw College Ground. Ishank Jaggi (28) led Jharkhand to a respectable 63 for 2 in the 12th over, before things unravelled for his side; their lower-middle order collapsed, four wickets went down for eight runs, and Jharkhand limped to 109 for 9.
The Orissa chase was in trouble early on, as medium-pacer Kuldeep Sharma took two wickets in the second over. There was further trouble for Orissa as Niranjan Behera had to retire hurt first ball, but their captain Halhadar Das steered them home with an unbeaten 59, his first half-century in Twenty20s. He added 50 for the fifth wicket with Biplab Samantray as Orissa cruised to victory with ten balls to spare.