Pujara ton helps Saurashtra, Balaji takes Tamil Nadu to semis (Ranji Roundup)

December 29th, 2008 - 10:43 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 29 (IANS) An unbeaten century from Cheteshwar Pujara helped Saurashtra storm into the Ranji Trophy semis while Lakshmipathy Balaji picked up six wickets for Tamil Nadu to deliver a killer blow to Plate finalists Bengal in the quarterfinal match Monday. In the other quarterfinal matches, Mumbai defeated Plate finalists Himachal Pradesh by nine wickets while Uttar Pradesh advanced to the penultimate stage by the virtue of their first innings lead over Gujarat.

In the semis starting from Jan 4, Saurashtra will face Mumbai at Chennai while Tamil Nadu will take on Uttar Pradesh at Nagpur.

At Bangalore, Tamil Nadu were lgging behind for three days, but on the fourth day Balaji ripped through the Bengal lower order, taking five wickets for seven runs. Resuming at overnight score of 134 for four, Bengal’s second innings folded for 187 runs.

With 227 runs to chase, opener Murali Vijay scored a quickfire 73 while Subramaniam Badrinath remained unbeaten on 92 to complete the victory chase.

For Saurashtra, they had a tough task at hand on the final day in Mumbai against Karnataka. Starting the day at 10 for two, while chasing a victory target of 325, Pujara yet gain displayed nerves of steel by hitting an unbeaten 112. S. Kotak scored 87 while Ravinder Jadeja and skipper Jaydev Shah struck an identical 55 to complete the win.

At Ahmedabad, Mumbai had Himachal Pradesh on the mat on the third day as the newly promoted team was struggling at 200 for five. But on the final day, Himachal could add only 87 runs to their overnight score after Ajit Agarkar picked up five wickets for 78 runs.

In their second innings, Mumbai had to chase 43 runs to win and did it easily by losing just one wicket.

Uttar Pradesh had virtually pocketed the match Sunday as they stretched their overall lead to 473 runs after taking a crucial first innings lead of 288 runs at Vadodara. On the final day, they declared their second innings for 375 runs setting a target of 564 runs for Gujarat with no time left.

At the close of play, Gujarat were 106 for three in the second innings as the match ended in a draw. But Uttar Pradesh advanced on the basis of their first innings lead.

Brief scores:

At Ahmedabad: Himachal 250 and 287 (Paras Dogra 90, Sangram Singh 58; Ajit Agarkar 5-78). Mumbai 495 and 43 for one. Mumbai won by nine wickets.

At Vadodara: Uttar Pradesh 305 and 375 (Tanmay Srivastava 67, P. Gupta 74; Monish Parmar 5-113). Gujarat 117 and 106 for three (N. Modi 57 batting; Praveen Kumar 2-34). Match drawn but Uttar Pradesh advance by the virtue of first innings lead.

At Mumbai: Karnataka 305 and 208. Saurashtra 189 and 327 for five (Cheteshwar Pujara 112 not out, S. Kotak 87; R. Vinay Kumar 3-84, C. Raghu 2-66). Saurashtra won by five wickets.

At Bangalore: Bengal 345 and 187 (Lakshmi Ratan Shukla 47, Manoj Tiwary 42; Lakhsmipathy Balaji 6-24). Tamil Nadu 306 and 227 for two (Subramaniam Badrinath 92 not out, Murali Vijay 73). Tamil Nadu won by eight wickets.

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