Railways seal quarterfinal berth

Railways 107 (Nishan 5-21) and 282 for 7 dec (Rawat 92) beat Services 153 (Yashpal 67, Anureet 4-44) and 200 (Desai 100, Karn 5-50) by 37 runs

Allrounder Karn Sharma's maiden five-wicket haul in first-class cricket helped Railways beat Services by 37 runs in Delhi and secure his team's place in the knockout stages.

Railways had conceded a 46-run lead to Services in the first innings, but their captain, Murali Kartik, timed the declaration to perfection, despite Mahesh Rawat being eight runs away from his century. They set Services a target of 236 in two and a half sessions, and picked up the last wicket in the nick of time to rise to the top of the Group B table.

Services' chase was hampered by wickets at regular intervals from Karn, who finished with 5 for 50. Pratik Desai was the only batsman who offered some resistance, scoring 100, and no one else else made more than 29. Services eventually folded for 200 inside 77 overs.

The loss means that Services will need to win their last league match against Saurashtra to avoid relegation to Group C.

Uttar Pradesh 250 (Dwivedi 80*, Parvinder 73) and 178 for 5 dec (Raina 82) drew with Madhya Pradesh 115 (Rajpoot 5-37) and 140 for 7 (Amit Mishra 3 for 17)

The loss of the second day's play due to fog might come back to haunt Uttar Pradesh, who were left three wickets short of beating Madhya Pradesh in Kanpur. UP moved to 23 points courtesy their first-innings lead, but that tally didn't quite seal a quarterfinal berth.

UP will need to beat Railways or get the lead in their final group match to be safe. If they lose, they will have to hope that the Tamil Nadu-Bengal game is drawn. If not, they will need Baroda to take no more than one point against Rajasthan.

MP were 85 for 6 when Imtiaz Ahmed bowled Anand Bais. Victory looked imminent but Shubham Sharma and Salman Baig frustrated them for 14 overs during a seventh-wicket partnership of 21. Piyush Chawla finally bowled Shubham for a 48-ball 5, but MP were by no means done, as Baig and Anurag Singh put on an unbroken 34 for the eighth wicket and saw out the last 17.5 overs of the day.

UP will also reflect on the timing of their declaration. They batted for 28.2 overs in the morning, and finished at 178 for 5 to set MP a target of 314. MP came nowhere near that, and finished at 140 for seven.

Tamil Nadu 318 (Prasanna 73, Shankar 60, Pankaj 5-54) and 76 for 0 (Arun Karthik 37*) drew with Rajasthan 438 (Saxena 83, Bishnoi 68, Shah 3-94, Rangarajan 3-126)

Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan played out a draw in Chennai - a result that did no favours to either team. Both now need to win their final games and hope for other results to go their way to stand any chance of qualifying for the quarterfinals.

Rajasthan batted out nearly 47 overs on the final day, with fifties from Hrishikesh Kanitkar, Ashok Menaria and Rajesh Bishnoi propelling the team to 438 and securing a first-innings lead of 120. Rahil Shah and Malolan Rangarajan picked up three wickets apiece for Tamil Nadu.

With the game already all but drawn, Tamil Nadu's openers Baba Aparajith and Arun Karthik added 76 from 28 overs.

Group B table