Paunikar, bowlers take Railways to final
Railways 188 for 5 (Paunikar 83, Shukla 56*) beat Bengal (Tiwary 61, Saini 3-25) 185 by five wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
An opening stand of 109 between Amit Paunikar and Shivakant Shukla set the platform for Railways' successful chase of 186 against hosts Bengal, setting up the final clash with Karnataka. Teams batting second had struggled under lights at Eden Gardens, but Railways, save for a minor hiccup in which they lost five wickets, yet reached the target with plenty of balls to spare.
The Railways bowlers had set it up after they had limited Bengal to a below-par score. The Bengal top order didn't put on enough big partnerships, with only Manoj Tiwary going on to score a fifty. Bengal had lost half their side for 109 and it was a stand of 54 between Tiwary and Sayan Mondal that revived them. The legspinner Karn Sharma broke the stand when he had Mondal caught at long-off. It triggered a collapse as Bengal lost their last five wickets for 22 runs. Chanderpal Saini, the right-arm seamer, cleaned up the tail with 3 for 25.
In reply, Paunikar and Shukla added 109 in 22 overs before Ashok Dinda broke the stand by getting Paunikar to edge to the keeper. Paunikar hit 14 fours in his 83, off just 86 balls. The right-arm seamer Veer Pratap Singh then took three wickets but it came too late for Bengal as Shukla remained unbeaten on 56 to see Railways through to the final, which will be played on Sunday.
Karnataka 323 for 6 (Uthappa 133, KL Rahul 67) beat Jharkhand 302 for 9 (Jaggi 141, Vinay 4-75) by 21 runs
Ishank Jaggi was the last hurdle Karnataka had to cross to book a place in the final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy. The Jharkhand batsman galloped to 141 off 121 balls and threatened to overshadow Robin Uthappa's second consecutive century in a knockout game, but a late collapse ensured the Ranji champions a shot at another trophy this season.
Set a target of 324, Jaggi steered Jharkhand to 220 before he was bowled in the 37th over. He had biffed 16 fours and four sixes during his stay and the chase had seemed well on course. However, his dismissal proved just the spark Karnataka needed. Abhimanyu Mithun (3-52) accounted for the Jharkhand captain Saurabh Tiwary and Vinay Kumar took two wickets in the 43rd over to turn the innings out of shape. The equation - 64 off 42 - required a set batsman in the middle but Jharkhand had none and their fight was snuffed out.
The Karnataka top-order, led by Uthappa's 135-ball 133, had done the hard yards to set up victory. It was the opener's highest score in the tournament so far and places him at the head of the run-getters list as well. A 137-run stand with Mayank Agarwal (66) laid the platform, which KL Rahul (67) used to boost the total beyond 300.