Vijay Hazare Trophy 2014-15 November 13, 2014

Bengal nearly through to knockouts

ESPNcricinfo staff

East Zone

Bengal came close to sealing a knockout berth with a nine-wicket win over Tripura, who remained at the bottom of the table. Bengal surpassed their target of 122 in the 26th over, with openers Shreevats Goswami and Arindam Das scoring fifties.

Bengal chose to field and Laxmi Shukla and offspinner Saurashish Lahiri did not let any substantial partnerships flourish, apart from the sixth-wicket stand of 49 runs between Manisankar Murasingh (45) and Rajib Datta (19). Tripura were reeling at 50 for 5 in the 20th over before Murasingh and Datta took them to 99. Three wickets apiece from Shukla and Lahiri meant Tripura could not go beyond 121.

Bengal were hardly bothered in the chase, apart from the wicket of Arindam for 51. He added 104 with Goswami, who carried on to remain unbeaten on 51.

Bengal are on the top of the table with three wins from as many games.

Assam strengthened their chances of reaching the knockouts, and ended Jharkhand's, with a seven-wicket win in Kolkata. Assam's top and middle order ensured they didn't stutter much in their chase of 192 after Saurabh Tiwary's hundred.

Jharkhand were tottering at 19 for 5 after Arup Das removed the top order and Abu Nechim got two batsmen caught behind. Tiwary rescued them with 107 off 125 balls even though he didn't get much support at the other end. SP Gautam accompanied him with a patient 11 off 43 before the main contribution came from No. 9 Rahul Shukla, who scored 39. Tiwary's second List A hundred meant Jharkhand got close to 200. Arup finished with 3 for 16, and Nechim and Syed Mohammed picked two each.

Assam's chase was led by fifties from Dheeraj Jadhav (68) and Sibsankar Roy (62). They put on 117 for the second wicket before Jaskaran broke the stand. They were eventually steered home by Arun Karthik and Syed.

South Zone

Both of Thursday's matches in Secunderabad were washed out without a ball being bowled, with Karnataka and Goa progressing into the knockouts. The winner of the match between Andhra and Tamil Nadu could have joined Goa - who lost to Hyderabad in Hyderabad - on 12 points, but with both having lost to Goa, they wouldn't have progressed as the head-to-head result is used to separate teams on equal points. Instead, the washout meant Andhra and Tamil Nadu took two points each and finished on 10 apiece.

The other match in Secunderabad, between Karnataka and Kerala, was also washed out. Karnataka finished the zonal stage unbeaten, with 18 points from five matches.

Hyderabad pulled off a consolation win to pick up their first points of the tournament, beating Goa by seven wickets at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium. Having chosen to bowl, Hyderabad bowled Goa out for 170 in just 33.3 overs, with left-arm seamer Chama Milind picking up four wickets. Five Goa batsmen crossed 20, but no one converted that to anything substantial, Sagun Kamat top-scoring with 30.

Hyderabad began their reply sedately, and they moved to 67 in 17 overs before they lost their second wicket. Thereafter, Hanuma Vihari and Dwaraka Ravi Teja accelerated, adding 91 for the third wicket before Vihari fell for a 84-ball 67 in the 32nd over, with victory a mere 13 runs away. The win arrived just four balls later, with Ravi Teja finishing unbeaten on a 44-ball 51.

Central Zone

A maiden List A five-wicket haul from medium-pacer Swapnil Bandiwar helped Vidarbha sail into the knockouts with a nine-wicket win over Uttar Pradesh in Nagpur. The match was a straight shootout for second place on the Central Zone table, and everything went right for Vidarbha right from the moment they chose to bowl. Uttar Pradesh slipped to 42 for 6 in 15.3 overs, with Bandiwar taking the first four wickets, and it took an unbeaten 36 from their No. 7 Akshdeep Nath to take their score past 100. They finished on 112, and were bowled out in 37 overs.

Vidarbha's chase was stress-free, with openers Faiz Fazal and Jitesh Sharma putting on 88 in 24.3 overs. Jitesh was dismissed for 43, while Fazal continued to finish unbeaten on 56 off 95 balls, with six fours and a six.

Rapid hundreds from Ashok Menaria (103*) and Arjit Gupta (107) gave Rajasthan a 77-run win in the dead rubber against Madhya Pradesh in Nagpur. Menaria and Gupta struck 26 boundaries together to charge them to 316 as Rajasthan registered their first win and MP finished last without a win.

Rajasthan were 83 for 4, in the 23rd over, out of which Pranay Sharma scored 60 before Menaria and Gupta got together to score their maiden List A hundreds. Menaria's unbeaten knock came off 89 balls with four fours and seven sixes, and Gupta took only 65 deliveries for his 107, which featured eight fours and seven sixes.

MP lost two early wickets and were led by opener Mohnish Mishra (36) briefly. Their only hope was the 85-run partnership for the fifth wicket between Harpreet Singh (49) and Anand Bais (42) as no other substantial partnership flourished. Lower-order contributions also came from Rameez Khan (29*) and Ankit Sharma (31) but they were all out for 239 in the 47th over. Pankaj Singh ended with figures of 3 for 35.

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