Led by a breezy knock by skipper Vikram Rathour, India Pistons pulled off a sensational two wicket victory over Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) XI in the Coromandel Cement Cup quarterfinal at the Gangothri Glades ground in Mysore on Tuesday. Having conceded a sizable first innings lead of 89, the Chennai side managed a dramatic turnaround, bundling out HCA XI for just 128 in 35.5 overs. Chasing 218 for victory, India Pistons scraped home with just two deliveries to spare.
HCA XI began day three with the score on 30/3. Despite the loss of wickets, the side from Hyderabad looked well placed, thanks to their first innings lead. The 21-year-old Punjab mediumpacer Vineet Sharma had different ideas. Taking 5/41 off 15 overs, Sharma reduced the HCA XI innings to shambles. Wickets tumbled at regular intervals with Anirudh Singh (26) being the top scorer.
Chasing a challenging 217 off 40 overs, India Pistons began well with Rathour and Anand George putting up the 50 partnership for the first wicket off just 51 balls. Despite the fall of George's wicket with the score on 68, Rathour continued on his merry way. Hemant Kumar (21) and S Mahesh (30) batted well around their skipper. Rathour's 89 (85 balls, 7 fours) set up the platform for the victory which eventually came amidst much excitement. Narendra Pal Singh and Mohammed Ghouse picked three wickets each but were not able to deny India Pistons victory.
At the Central college ground in Bangalore, BPL Sports Club conceded the match after Chemplast took the first innings lead.
Replying to BPL's 278, Chemplast resumed at 163 for three. Overnight not out batsmen Jacob Martin and Ajay Kudua were concerned in a 112- run partnership for the fourth wicket off 30 overs before the latter was out for 68. Kudua faced 90 balls and hit ten of them to the ropes. Martin was fifth out at 210 for a well compiled 87 for which he batted three hours. He faced 154 balls and had nine boundary hits. Ganesh Kumar (4) did not last long and at 217 for six, the game had reached a decisive stage. However J Hariesh (30) and R Ramkumar (47) steered Chemplast to the all important lead with an unbroken seventh wicket partnership of 67 runs off 12.2 overs. Ramkumar who had taken seven wickets followed this up by hitting six fours and a six in his bright knock which came up off only 33 balls. Chemplast were 284 for six off 80 overs when BPL conceded the game. The day's play started only at 12.30 due to wet conditions following overnight rain.
With rain washing out play on the last day at the RSI ground in Bangalore, Roofit XI entered the semifinals, getting the better of KSCA Colts on the first innings lead. At stumps on the second day, Roofit had made 307 for three in 77 overs in reply to KSCA Colts' 206. Play was called off at 12.45 due to wet conditions caused by overnight rain.
Rain also ruled out any play on the final day of the quarterfinal between KSCA XI and Oil & Natural Gas Corporation at the Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar Sports Complex in Bangalore. However, KSCA by virtue of their first innings lead, moved into the last four stage. Play was called off at 12.30 due to wet conditions caused by overnight rain. KSCA had scored 211 and then dismissed ONGC for 136 in the first innings. In their second innings at stumps on the second day, KSCA were 33 for one.
In the three day semifinals which commence on Thursday, India Pistons will meet Roofit XI while KSCA XI play Chemplast.