Skipper Saurabh Tiwary struck a match-winning 93 while Kumar Kushagra made 50 to guide Jharkhand to the play-offs of the Ranji Trophy 2021-22 with a two-wicket win over heavyweights Tamil Nadu in their last elite group H match in Guwahati on Sunday. (More Cricket News)
Despite the victory, Jharkhand finished with least points among the eight elite group toppers and will now face Plate toppers Nagaland in a one-off pre-quarterfinal here from March 12. Group E toppers Uttarakhand and Jharkhand (Group H) finished with 12 points each but the former advanced to the quarterfinals directly on the basis of better quotient of 1.424.
Jharkhand needed just 104 runs on the final day with six wickets in hand to dislodge Chhattisgarh from the top of the group and they rode on valuable knocks from skipper Tiwary and Kushagra to reach their target in 80.4 overs with two wickets in hand.
Chasing 212 for an outright win, Jharkhand were 102 for four in 39 overs at the close of play on Saturday with Tiwary batting on 41 and Kushagra giving him company on 25. The duo resumed their innings in confident fashion on Sunday and added 90 runs for the fifth wicket to take Jharkhand close to the target before the latter was dismissed on 50.
Kushagra scored his half-century off 121 balls with the help of just five boundaries. Tiwary, on the other hand, looked solid and looked determined to take his side over the line but departed just two runs short off the target after making a well-deserved 93. His runs came off 193 balls during which he hit six boundaries and one six.
Rahul Shukla (14 not out) completed the formalities for Jharkhand as they secured full six points from the match to jump to the top of the table. The trio of Baba Aparajith (2/27), Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore (2/47) and Manimaran Siddharth (2/48) together scalped six wickets for Tamil Nadu.
Maiden 200 For Yash Dhull
In the other Group H match, rising batting star Yash Dhull struck his maiden first-class double century while Dhruv Shorey hit a hundred as Delhi, who were already out of the knockout race, shattered Chhattisgarh's hopes to post 396 for two declared in 89.3 overs in their second innings after following on.
A MATCH I WILL REMEMBER FOREVER ❤ pic.twitter.com/0imhQfAsVo— Yash Dhull (@YashDhull2002) February 20, 2022
India's recent U-19 World Cup-winning team skipper Dhull, playing his first Ranji season, once again shone bright with the bat with a 261-ball 200 not out to prove his credentials. He struck 26 boundaries during his knock and together with Shorey (100 off 208 balls, 13x4s) shared 246 runs for the opening stand to take the match away from Chhattisgarh.
Delhi batters gave a good account of themselves in the second innings with Nitish Rana (56 not out off 36 balls, 3x4s, 5x6s) and Kshitiz Sharma (26) also getting good knocks. Jharkhand finished on top of Group H with 12 points from three games -- two wins and one loss, while Chhattisgarh ended on the second spot with 10 points.
Tamil Nadu were third with six points ahead of bottom-placed Delhi, who managed to garner just two points from what has been a disappointing campaign for them.
Tamil Nadu 285 & 152 all out in 54.2 overs (Baba Indrajith 52; Rahul Shukla 5/29) lost to Jharkhand 226 & 214/8 for 80.4 overs (Saurabh Tiwary 93, Kumar Kushagra 50; Baba Aparajith 2/27) by two wickets.
Chhattisgarh 482/9 decl (Amandeep Khare 156 not out, Shashank Singh 122, Ajay Mandal 63; Vikas Mishra 6/124) vs Delhi 295 all out & 396/2 decl (Yash Dhull 200 not out, Dhruv Shorey 100; Sumit Ruikar 1/56). Match Drawn.