Jharkhand, Bengal make knockouts
Bengal made it to the knockouts after stopping Assam short by 12 runs in a high-scoring game. Asked to bat, Bengal posted 321 for 6 with half-centuries from Manoj Tiwary, Shreevats Goswami and Wriddhiman Saha. Assam's reply was led by an unbeaten hundred from Sibsankar Roy and a swift fifty from opener Parvez Aziz but none of the other batsmen made more than 33.
Bengal lost a couple of early wickets but Goswami and Tiwary were able to set up a solid platform with a partnership of 144 in just over 23 overs. Tiwary made his first significant score since his latest comeback from injury, hitting four sixes in his run-a-ball 90. Goswami had ten fours in his 87, which also came at a run a ball. After the duo departed, Saha smashed six sixes in his 78, which took only 56 balls. Sayan Mondal also chipped in a with a quick 34.
Aziz cracked 67 off 50 in the chase and Assam motored along despite the failures of his top-order colleagues. Roy carried on after Aziz fell, keeping the innings together even as wickets kept falling around him, but his effort was in vain.
Jharkhand topped the East Zone table with a comfortable six-wicket win over Odisha, who could muster 216 for 8 after choosing to bat. Anurag Sarangi and Govinda Podder contributed 80 each to help Odisha get past 200 after the Jharkhand seamers had reduced them to 18 for 4, Rahul Shukla leading the way with 3 for 49.
Ishank Jaggi dashed whatever hopes Odisha had, making 125 off 117 at the top of the order with 16 fours and a six. Basant Mohanty did strike twice early but Jaggi's momentum ensured Jharkhand remained in front. Ishan Kishan made 44 on debut while captain Saurabh Tiwary remained unbeaten on 30 as victory was achieved in the 46th over.
The knockouts will be played from March 10 in Kolkata, with the final on March 16 at Eden Gardens.