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March 24, 2012
Delhi secured a thrilling win over Railways at the Brabourne Stadium to qualify for the semi-final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. After being asked to bat, Delhi were reeling at 43 for 4 before captain Rajat Bhatia came to the rescue. He turned the tide with a century, making 107 including six fours and eight sixes. In the company of Puneet Mehra, he added 73 for the fifth wicket and then, almost on his own, led the surge at the death, helping Delhi reach a challenging 180 for 6.
In an impressive all-round effort, Bhatia also picked up two wickets. Railways began steadily in their chase but Delhi hit back, reducing them to 91 for 6 at one stage. Karan Sharma, however, led a lower-order revival, making 67 in 35 balls and keeping his team in the hunt. He added 31 with Rajesh Bishnoi, then 56 with Avinash Yadav. Railways were 178 for 7 with Sharma still at the crease on the penultimate ball of the match, needed three more for victory. But he was caught by Pradeep Sangwan off Mithun Manhas and Yadav was run-out off the final ball attempting the second run which would have, if completed, tied the game. The difference between the teams, in the end, was one run, ensuring Delhi made it through.
Mumbai beat Tamil Nadu by 31 runs at the Brabourne Stadium to seal their place in the tournament semi-final. Wasim Jaffer led the way at the top of the order, smashing 51 in 31 balls, adding 86 for the second wicket with Abhishek Nayar, who top-scored with 79. Nayar struck eight fours and four sixes and was the fourth wicket to fall, with the score on 143. Aditya Tare and Ajit Agarkar chipped in with 17 and 15 respectively down the order and Mumbai were able to stretch their score to 193 for 9.
TN began well in their chase with openers S Anirudha and Abhinav Mukund adding 62 but a collective bowling effort restrained the team thereafter. Dhawal Kulkarni picked up three wickets and Iqbal Abdulla, Javed Khan and Ankeet Chavan bagged two each. Barring Suresh Kumar's 49, there was no significant resistance from the middle order and TN were bowled out for 162 in the penultimate over.
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