Railways, Jharkhand make semi-finals
Jharkhand 214 (Deobrat 84, Yadav 4-36, Nazar 4-53) beat Services 189 (Shukla 5-61) by 25 runs
Fast bowler Rahul Shukla took five Services wickets and scored a crucial unbeaten 32 at No. 9 to carry Jharkhand to the Vijay Hazare Trophy semi-final. Put in to bat, Jharkhand were reeling at 35 for 5 after Services seamer Suraj Yadav ripped through the top order, bowling four batsmen, including captain Saurabh Tiwary for 8.
Kumar Deobrat (84) and Keshav Kumar (41) repaired the damage with a century partnership before the latter became one of Shadab Nazar's four victims. Deobrat carried on for a while and found support from Shukla after Jharkhand were in trouble again at 157 for 7. Shukla struck 32 off 34 to stretch the score to 214 after Deobrat became the eighth man to fall when Jharkhand were on 178.
Services were never really in the chase as Shukla and Jaskaran Singh made it tough for the top and middle order. Services were reduced to 23 for 4, the fourth wicket that of key batsman Rajat Paliwal, who was bowled by Shukla for 2. Paliwal had made centuries in Services' previous two games. Yashpal Singh (39), Soumya Swain (45) and Yadav (28) tried but Services lost the latter two to run-outs to be dismissed for 189 in the 49th over.
Jharkhand will take on Karnataka in the first semi-final on Friday in a day game.
Railways 242 (Rawat 108, Jonathan 58, S Kaul 5-47) beat Punjab 105 (Upadhyay 2-14, Anureet 2-26) by 137 runs
Railways routed Punjab for 105 after posting 242 to surge into the semi-finals with a big win. Mahesh Rawat and Rongsen Jonathan made the bulk of the runs for Railways in a 141-run stand for the fifth wicket which came when Railways had been struggling on 64 for 4 after choosing to bat.
Punjab's chase began disastrously when Manan Vohra clipped Anureet Singh's first ball to square leg. The promoted Sandeep Sharma edged a lifter from Krishnakant Upadhyay to gully while Mandeep Singh was bowled by Anureet with one that nipped in. Punjab tried to rebuild from 12 for 3 but they slipped further when they lost Yuvraj Singh and Gurkeerat Singh Mann cheaply to run-outs. Ashish Yadav bowled the last three batsmen with his left-arm spin to end the innings in 33.4 overs. The highest partnership Punjab managed was 22, with Taruwar Kohli remaining unbeaten on 27.
The Punjab seam trio of Sandeep, Siddarth Kaul and Manpreet Gony had had Railways in early trouble but Rawat and Jonathan revived the innings. Rawat made a run-a-ball 108 with 13 fours and a six while Jonathan had eight fours in his 58 off 78. Railways had little to show after the partnership was broken in the 42nd over. They lost their last six wickets for 37 runs, Kaul completing a five-for.
Railways will take on Bengal in the second semi-final to be played under lights on Friday.