Bengal crush Karnataka, Assam stun Mumbai
Assam 178 (Roy 69, Gokul 51, Salvi 3-25) beat Mumbai 151 (Shaikh 42, Nechim 3-31) by 27 runs
Assam reached the semi-finals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy for the first time by beating previous season's finalists Mumbai by 27 runs. It was double delight for Assam, as they had never defeated the 40-time Ranji Trophy champions Mumbai before in any format, an outcome that delighted their captain and fast bowler Abu Nechim.
"It is a huge achievement to beat a side like Mumbai," Nechim, who also plays for Mumbai Indians, told ESPNcricinfo. "I have been playing for Assam for so many years and we have not had a result like this for a long time. The entire team is very happy and this win is for all the people of Assam.
"A win like this can take you places. Who knows, it might even open up a chance for some of the young players in the team to play for India or in the IPL."
The result was even more pleasing for Nechim as his side bounced back after having been bowled out for an underwhelming 178. Nechim told his players not to lose heart during the innings break. "I told them we still had a chance with the ball and should go out and give it our best shot. That was the only option we had really."
Assam came out with purpose. Mumbai were reduced to 6 for 3, and 39 for 4, chasing a modest target and could never get going. Wasim Jaffer was bowled in the first over for 5 by Nechim and Rohit Sharma was bowled in the second over for a duck by Arup Das. Shoaib Shaikh (42) and Ankeet Chavan (36) took Mumbai past 100 but following the former's dismissal by Gokul Sharma, Mumbai lost regular wickets to be dismissed for 151. Nechim himself led the way with a haul of 3 for 31 while Pritam Das accounted for the counter-attacking Siddhesh Lad and Chavan.
Aavishkar Salvi's opening burst had Assam tottering at 30 for 3 after Mumbai chose to field but a 92-run fifth-wicket stand between Sibsankar Roy and Gokul revived the innings. Assam were in a decent position at 147 for 4 in the 40th over but the lower order fell apart as the innings folded for 178, which proved enough in the end.
Despite what the win meant for them, Nechim and his side had a semi-final against Kerala to concentrate on and could not afford to spend time in too many celebrations. "We have another big match coming up. What we did was all of us got together in my room after the game. All the players and the coach, we spoke about what had happened today."
Bengal 128 for 0 (Goswami 70*, Saha 52*) beat Karnataka 127 (Shami 3-32, Veer Pratap 3-40) by ten wickets
Defending champions Bengal crushed Karnataka by ten wickets to set up a semi-final clash against Delhi. The seam trio of Shami Ahmed, Veer Pratap Singh and Laxmi Shukla ripped through the Karnataka line-up after Bengal chose to bowl. Karnataka were 57 for 6 at one stage with only Manish Pandey (28) among the top six getting into double figures. The lower order scraped Karnataka to 127 before they were dismissed in the 33rd over.
The Bengal openers Shreevats Goswami and Wriddhiman Saha saw off the new ball and proceeded to knock off the target in the 29th over, with Goswami finishing on a stroke-filled 70 off 79 deliveries.