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Punjab crash out after tie; Puducherry stun Mumbai

Saurashtra, TN, Kerala advance; Gaikwad, Bharat pile on the runs while Dhawan fails again

Hemant Brar
Hemant Brar
Shikhar Dhawan walks back after being dismissed, Delhi Capitals vs Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL 2021 Qualifier 2, Sharjah, October 13, 2021

Shikhar Dhawan managed just 56 runs in five innings  •  BCCI

Ruturaj Gaikwad struck his fourth century in five games but his side, Maharashtra, failed to qualify for the knockout stage of Vijay Hazare Trophy 2021-22. Punjab, meanwhile, crashed out after their tie against Goa. Elsewhere, Puducherry stunned defending champions Mumbai, who finished the tournament with a solitary win from five games.
Saurashtra were the only Elite team to finish the group stage unbeaten, while Tripura topped Plate group with five wins from as many matches. Here's how the last round of the group stage panned out.

Elite A: Rishi Dhawan show takes Himachal to quarter-finals

Himachal Pradesh qualified for the quarter-finals, thanks to their captain Rishi Dhawan's unbeaten 91 off 58 balls and 3 for 51 with ball, as they beat Odisha by 63 runs at the Brabourne Stadium. Rishi was well-supported by Nikhil Gangta, Shubham Arora and Prashant Chopra - all of them scored half-centuries to lift Himachal to 360 for 5. Mayank Dagar then picked up 6 for 59 as Odisha were bowled out for 297.
Faiz Fazal too led from the front, scoring an unbeaten 102 off 110 as Vidarbha chased down Jammu and Kashmir's 233 with five wickets in hand at the Bandra Kurla Complex. In Thane, KS Bharat piled up 156 off 138 balls, studded with 16 fours and seven sixes, as Andhra beat Gujarat by 81 runs. That resulted in Himachal, Vidarbha, Andhra and Odisha tied with 12 points each but a superior net run rate meant Himachal topped the group. On the same basis, Vidarbha trumped Andhra and Odisha for a spot in the pre-quarter-finals.

Elite B: TN in quarter-finals despite loss, Puducherry stun Mumbai

After bowling out Baroda for a mere 114 in Mangalapuram, Tamil Nadu themselves were all out for 73. However, their superior net run rate meant they made it to the quarter-finals despite a four-way tie. Karnataka had a similar fate in Thumba. Despite Manish Pandey's 85-ball 90, they lost to Bengal by four wickets but were saved by their net run rate. They will now face Rajasthan in the pre-quarter-final.
In Thiruvananthapuram, Puducherry stunned defended champions Mumbai. Chasing 158, Mumbai were bowled out for 139 as offspinner Fabid Ahmed picked up 4 for 16 from his ten overs. For Mumbai, Aakarshit Gomel scored 70 but no other batter could reach even 20.

Elite C: Saurashtra's unbeaten run, Shikhar's torrid time

Prerak Mankad and Samarth Vyas scored a half-century each as Saurashtra beat Delhi by four wickets in Mullanpur to continue their unbeaten run. Shikhar Dhawan was once again out cheaply, for 12, and ended the tournament with 56 runs from five innings.
Ankit Rajpoot picked up a hat-trick on his way to a maiden five-for in List A as Uttar Pradesh beat Haryana by 78 runs in Mohali despite Harshal Patel's 3 for 56 and 67 with bat. Uttar Pradesh will now face Madhya Pradesh pre-quarter-finals. In Chandigarh, Chama Milind's 6 for 63 went in vain as Hyderabad lost to Jharkhand by 36 runs.

Elite D: Gaikwad's fourth ton but Maharashtra fail to qualify

Chasing a mammoth 310, Gaikwad led from the front with a 132-ball 168 as Maharashtra beat Chandigarh by five wickets in Rajkot. Gaikwad hit 12 fours and six sixes in what was his fourth hundred of the tournament, and while Maharashtra registered four wins from five games, they were behind Kerala and Madhya Pradesh in terms of net run rate.
Sachin Baby's unbeaten 83 helped Kerala book a quarter-finals spot as they romped home by five wickets against Uttarakhand. Kerala captain Sanju Samson also struck 33 off 36 balls. Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh beat Chhattisgarh by three runs in a low-scoring game to make it to the pre-quarter-finals even though their star player Venkatesh Iyer scored only 1 and didn't bowl.

Elite E: Punjab-Goa tie changes the scenario

Anmolpreet Singh and Gurkeerat Singh Mann's hundreds helped Punjab put up 288 for 8 against Goa in Ranchi but Snehal Kauthankar's unbeaten 148 ensured the game ended in a tie. As a result, Punjab finished third in the group. Had they won, they would have been through to the quarter-finals as they had the best net run rate in the group.
Ravi Chauhan's 61 helped Services defeat Rajasthan by 16 runs, which meant both Services and Rajasthan finished with 16 points each. While Rajasthan had a superior net run rate, the Punjab-Goa tie meant only two teams were tied on the points for the top spot. Therefore, head-to-head result got precedence over net run rate, resulting in Services going into the quarter-finals and Rajasthan into the pre-quarter-finals.
In a dead rubber, Riyan Parag scored 66 off 67 balls before picking up 2 for 35 from his ten overs as Assam beat Railways by 62 runs.

Plate: Tripura trounce Meghalaya in virtual knockout

Coming into their last group match, both Tripura and Meghalaya had four wins each but legspinner Amit Ali's 5 for 26 made it a one-sided contest as Meghalaya were bowled out for 116. Tripura chased that down with nine wickets in hand. They will now face Vidarbha in the pre-quarter-final.
Elsewhere in Plate group, Bihar downed Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur beat Sikkim and Nagaland defeated Mizoram but all those games were inconsequential as far as the qualification for the pre-quarter-finals was concerned.

Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo