Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh surge into semi-finals
Ganesh Satish continued his extraordinary run of form in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, while Rahul Dravid stamped his class at the Moti Bagh Stadium in Vadodara, as Karnataka made short work of Haryana to enter the semi-finals. The Karnataka attack began the dominance after winning the toss, as Vinay Kumar ran amok in the early overs removing the top three by his fifth over. With the support cast rising to the occasion, Haryana could never launch a recovery and found themselves in shambles at 89 for 6 in the 23rd over.
Their final score of 224 was, under the circumstances, a considerable improvement and they had Sachin Rana's exemplary innings to thank for it. With scant support from the other end - Dhruv Singh's 33 was the second highest score of the innings - Rana took charge of batting through the innings, while keeping the scoreboard ticking along. After striking six fours and two sixes in his 91-ball 80 that pushed the score past 200, he became Vinay's fourth wicket. Raju Bhatkal contributed 3 for 21 in a miserly spell that maintained the shackles imposed by Vinay, through the middle overs.
The chase began on a bad note when Robin Uthappa succumbed for an early duck, before Manish Pandey went hard at the bowling in a frenetic cameo that ended at 30 off 19 balls. Meanwhile, Satish got his eye in and set his sights on extending his lead at the top of the tournament batting honours list. At the other end, Dravid was in sublime touch, managing to outpace his rampaging and in-form partner, without playing a single shot in anger. Their association heaped misery on Haryana to the tune of 119 runs in 16 overs and ended the match as a contest well before the winning runs were struck. Though Haryana managed to send both batsmen in the 70s, the target was reached with more than 12 overs to spare.
Madhya Pradesh and Orissa had enjoyed a run of four consecutive wins coming into the knockout phase of the tournament, but the former proved the better team, winning the quarter-final by five wickets in Ahmedabad. Naman Ojha starred with an unbeaten 109 and was supported well by the middle order as MP reached their target of 231 with more than three overs to spare. Monish Mishra hit three sixes in his 47, and added 85 for the second wicket with Ojha. The others chipped in with useful contributions, with Ojha dropping anchor to steer his side into the semi-finals.
MP's bowlers had earlier restricted Orissa, with Amarjeet Singh and Ankit Sharma bagging three wickets each. The Orissa batsmen had reason to be disappointed, as most of their batsmen got starts but the highest score they could muster was 44, by Niranjan Behera.