Punjab, Karnataka in semis, Maharashtra stun Mumbai

Punjab, Karnataka in semis, Maharashtra stun Mumbai

Punjab and Karnataka scored convincing victories to enter the semi-finals of the Ranji Trophy Saturday while Maharashtra tamed defending champions Mumbai for a place in the last four.

Karnataka cruised to an expected victory against Uttar Pradesh by 92 runs on day three of the quarter-finals at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore to set up a Jan 18-22 semi-final clash with Punjab in Mohali.

Punjab defeated Jammu and Kashmir by 100 runs in the other quarter-final at the Moti Bagh Stadium in Vadodara.

The surprise of the day was Maharashtra outplaying Mumbai by eight wickets at the Wankhede Stadium. Vijay Zol (91 not out) and Kedhar Jadhav (120 not out) ensured Maharashtra chased down the 252-run target with ease. 

They play the winner of the match between Bengal and Railways, who need another 154 runs to beat the hosts going into day four at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. The second semi-finals will be played in Indore.

Set a target of 333 in Bangalore, Uttar Pradesh were never really in the hunt as they lost wickets at regular intervals and were all out for 240.

Leg spinner Shreyas Gopal, only 20 and playing just his third first class game, was the pick of the Karnataka bowlers as he came away with 5 for 59 with paceman Abhimanyu Mithun picking up 3 for 71 and skipper Vinay Kumar returning 2 for 72.

Having resumed at 55 for one, Uttar Pradesh's slide began with a double strike that saw the exit of opener Tanmay Srivastava (44) and veteran Mohammed Kaif (0) in consecutive overs.

Thereafter, the Uttar Pradesh innings crumbled while Karnataka delivered the big blow when Mithun removed first innings hero Parvinder Singh (8) with a delivery that came back a long way to take the off-bail even as the batsman opted to leave the ball.

There was some resistance from the Uttar Pradesh middle order as Ekalavya Dwivedi (33) and Piyush Chawla (44) put on 70 runs for the eighth wicket.

However, the departure of Dwivedi, caught brilliantly at mid-wicket by Vinay Kumar off Mithun, virtually signalled the end as Gopal removed Amit Mishra and Chawla in quick succession.

It was left to Vinay Kumar to clean up the Uttar Pradesh innings, though not without some drama. The seamer clean bowled last man Rudra Pratap Singh and even as the celebrations began, umpire Rajesh Deshpande signalled a no-ball after checking with the third umpire.

 However, Vinay later sent Ankit Rajpoot's stumps flying, and this time it was a legitimate delivery.

Brief scores: 

Punjab 304 and 296 beat Jammu and Kashmir 277 and 223 by 100 runs

Karnataka 349 and 204 beat Uttar Pradesh 221 for 9 dec and 240 by 92 runs 

Maharashtra 280 and 252 for 2 (Jadhav 120 not out, Zol 91 not out) beat Mumbai 402 and 129 by eight wickets

Railways 314 and 117 for 3 (Bhille 1 not out, Ghosh 14 not out) need another 154 runs to beat Bengal 317 and 267 (Shukla 75, Saha 82, Anureet 5-73)

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