Railways rose in unison to lower the colours of Punjab en route to the semifinals of the Star Sports Vijay Hazare Trophy here at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday. Railways won by 137 runs and will challenge former champion Bengal in the semifinals.
In the other game at the Jadavpur University Salt Lake campus ground, Jharkhand carried too many guns against Services to win by 25 runs and qualified to face Ranji Trophy champion Karnataka on Friday.
The credit for taking the team to a position of strength should go to Railway skipper Mahesh Rawat who came up with a terrific century, his first in list ‘A.’ He and Jonathan Rongsen (58) were associated in 141-run stand that lifted the team from 64 for four to 205 for five.
Rawat, whose innings was as fluent as it was effective, was finally out for 108 (108b, 13 x4, 1x6). Siddharth Kaul cleaned up the tail to end up with five for 47.
When Punjab began the run chase, surprise awaited it. Lanky pacer Anureet Singh, the Man-of-the-Match, had Manan Vohra first ball with a lovely inswing and bowled Mandeep Singh with a beauty. In between Krishnakant Upadhyay removed Sandeep Sharma. When Mandeep left at 31 for three, Yuvraj Singh walked in amid a lot of hope for Punjab.
The left-handed looked confident to start with but the pressure was obviously weighing on him. He lost Gitansh Khera at 31, the two quick run-outs thereafter pegged back Punjab. Yuvraj left at 51 and Gurkeerat Singh at 64 and it was all over for Punjab.
The fairy tale run of Services came to an abrupt end when Jharkhand a low-scoring encounter by 25 runs.
Put in, the East Zone champion ran into trouble against the moving ball operated intelligently by Suraj Yadav and Shadab Nazar. Kumar Deobrat and Keshav Kumar arrested the slide and added runs with some sensible batting. Deobrat’s match-winning 84 (99b, 7x4, 2x6) and Kumar’s 41 (74b, 3x4) helped Jharkahnd reach a fighting score. Man-of-the-match Rahul Shukla (five for 61) used the new ball to good effect to send the Services’ top order packing
The scores: Jharkhand 214 in 48.2 overs (Kumar Deobrat 84, Keshav Kumar 41, Rahul Shukla 32 not out, Suraj Yadav four for 36, Shadab Nazar four for 53) bt Services 189 in 48.4 overs (Yashpal Singh 39, Soumya Swain 45, Suraj Yadav 28, Rahul Shukla five for 61).
Railways 242 in 47.5 overs (Mahesh Rawat 108, Jonathan Rongsen 58; Siddharth Kaul five for 47) bt Punjab 105 in 33.4 overs (Taruwar Kohli 27; Ashish Yadav three for 12).