U.P. wins, qualifies for semifinals

Sports Reporter

ANANTAPUR: Praveen Kumar, the dashing Uttar Pradesh all-rounder, was promoted as opener and did his job to perfection with a whirlwind knock of 57 (58b, 4x4, 2x6) to help his team score an eight-wicket victory over Andhra in the Elite Group 'B' Ranji match, at the RDT Sports Centre here on Friday. With this win, U.P. has now qualified for the semifinals.

Resuming at 292 for nine, the Andhra tail added 15 runs, setting U.P. a target of 151 to win. U.P.'s move to ask Praveen to open paid rich dividends as he produced some stunning shots. For Andhra, the early breakthrough remained elusive with Praveen and Shivakant Shukla stroking the ball well. Andhra's spearhead Shabuddin and Kalyan Krishna failed to fire in their first spell.

With the medium pacers not making an impact, skipper Venugopala Rao, desperate for a breakthrough, brought on off-spinner Md. Faiq. Shukla, who went for a big heave, missed the flight of a Faiq delivery and was stumped by Prasad. Faiq then dismissed Praveen, caught at deep square leg.

Kaif survives

Mohammad Kaif survived a dramatic appeal when Rayudu caught him at covers. However, umpires Suresh Shastri and Shashank Ranade, after consultation, ruled in Kaif's favour.

Kaif, with Suresh Raina (44, 40b, 7x4, 1x6) then added 60 runs for the third wicket to clinch the win. The victory came in style with Raina smacking Faiq over long on for a six.

Bengal through

At Kolkata, Bengal, which was in a three-way tie with Tamil Nadu and Karnataka for a semifinal spot, pulled off a sensational five-wicket victory over Railways to waltz into the semifinals.

Set a target of 303 in 57 overs for victory on the fourth day track, Bengal rode on Abhishek Jhunjhunwala's masterly 139 (135b, 135m, 20x4, 1x6) - his maiden century in the National championship - and his 217-run association for the second wicket with Subhamoy Das (83, 122b, 190m, 6x4, 1x6).

The scores: Uttar Pradesh: - 1st innings: 365.

Andhra - 1st innings: 208.

Andhra - 2nd innings: M.S.K. Prasad c Chawla b Zaidi 10, L.N. Prasad Reddy c Srivastsava b Praveen 13, Gnaneswara Rao lbw b Zaidi 0, A.T. Rayudu c Khan b Srivastsava 49, Venugopala Rao c Khan b Praveen 8, Balajikrishna (run out) 1, K.S. Shabuddin lbw b Shamshad 84, A.S.K. Varma c Khan b Praveen 58, Md. Faiq c Khan b Praveen 26, Kalyan (not out) 40, I. Raju b Praveen 5, Extras (lb-2, w-1, nb-10): 13. Total (in 73.2 overs): 307.

Fall of wickets: 1-10, 2-10, 3-53, 4-61, 5-72, 6-96, 7-210, 8-258, 9-275.

U.P. bowling: Zaidi 20-3-67-2, Srivastsava 13-4-51-1, Praveen 21.2-3-87-5, Chawla 13-0-67-0, Shamshad 6-2-33-1.

U.P. - 2nd innings: Praveen Kumar c sub b Faiq 57, S. Shukla st. Prasad b Faiq 26, M. Kaif (not out) 25, S. Raina (not out) 44. Extras (lb-1, w-1, nb-2): 4. Total (for two wkts. in 32 overs): 156.

Fall of wickets: 1-75, 2-96.

Andhra bowling: Shabuddin 10-1-41-0, Kalyan 9-0-42-0, Raju 2-0-7-0, Faiq 7-0-41-2, Balajikrishna 4-0-24-0.

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