Haryana go through with win over Gujarat
A sustained bowling effort from Haryana carried them into the Ranji Trophy quarter-finals as they beat Gujarat by 140 runs in Surat. The result also condemned Gujarat to the Plate League next season, as they finished bottom of the group.
With Baroda falling to Bengal, Haryana needed an outright win to go through while Gujarat needed a win to stay in the Elite League. Ashish Hooda gave Haryana the perfect start by having Jaisal Karia caught behind for 19 in the second over the day. Harshal Patel and Sachin Rana then picked up an early wicket apiece to leave Gujarat reeling at 49 for 4. Bhargav Merai and India wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel knuckled down to take Gujarat past 100 but India legspinner Amit Mishra trapped Parthiv leg-before to end the 55-run partnership.
Haryana were now into the lower order and they were not about to throw away their opportunity,. Pratharesh Parmar was dismissed by offspinner Jayant Yadav for 4 and Manprit Juneja was bowled by Mishra for 1. When Merai, who had battled to 47, was caught off Mishra, the writing was on the wall. The ninth-wicket pair of Ashraf Makda and Mehul Patel frustrated the bowlers for 8.3 overs and 21 runs, but Yadav cued the celebrations by snaffling Makda (16) and last man Ishwar Chaudhary in the same over. He finished with 3 for 37, while Mishra took 3 for 25.
Bengal narrowly missed out on a spot in the quarter-finals despite beating Baroda by nine wickets at the Moti Bagh Stadium in Vadodara. A ten-wicket win would have seen them match Haryana's total of 14 points and they would have gone through on the basis of a better quotient. But they lost Arindam Das chasing a mere 36 for victory and his dismissal meant Haryana would move on to play in the quarter-finals.
The loss marked the end of what had been a promising campaign for last year's beaten finalists, Baroda, who needed only a point to progress. Unfortunately, their batsmen failed to show up when it mattered most, with five zeros and a 2 littering their scorecard. Rakesh Solanki was the only batsman to offer any resistance, and once he was out for 59 in the first over of the day, Baroda quickly capitulated, losing their next four wickets for 32 runs. Dinda, who had taken three wickets on the previous day, took another two to finish with 5 for 66 while Sourav Sarkar took 4 for 32.
Needing just 36 for their first win of the season, and to avoid losing wickets to make the knock-outs, Bengal managed the first, but not the second.
Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh, both of whom have qualified for the next round, played out a draw in Chennai. Amarjeet took four wickets as the hosts tumbled for 208 in the second innings, with Yo Mahesh top scoring with 58 while Malolan Rangarajan made 48. MP did manage to reduce Tamil Nadu to 61 for 4, but since they conceded a 179-run lead, it meant Tamil Nadu were never in any danger.
"We didn't take advantage of the seamer-friendly conditions after winning the toss on the first day," Madhya Pradesh coach Mukesh Sahni said. "We could have batted and fielded better. Our approach was a little defensive too. "There is now time for us to rectify those mistakes in time for the knockout stage."