A disciplined Uttar Pradesh put up a thoroughly professional performance to outwit Delhi by 46 runs in the quarter-final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy in Delhi on Tuesday. (More Football News)
UP will now meet Gujarat in the first semi-final while heavyweights Mumbai will be pitted against Karnataka in the other last-four clash.
Uttar Pradesh rode on keeper-batsman Upendra Yadav's stroke-filled 112 off 101 balls and skipper Karan Sharma's 83 off 100 deliveries to post a competitive 280/7.
The UP bowlers then did well enough to restrict Delhi to 234 in 48.1 overs with none of the middle-order batsmen getting a move on after a top-order collapse, having lost half of the side within 20 overs.
Shivam Mavi 1/31 in 8.2 overs was brilliant until he had to be taken off the attack for bowling a couple of beamers.
But it was the spinners Shivam Sharma (1/33 in 10 overs) and off-spinner Sameer Choudhary (0/25 in 6 overs) who put the brakes in the middle overs when Lalit Yadav (61 off 78 balls) and Anuj Rawat (47 off 64 balls) couldn't break the shackles.
Put into bat at the Kotla, UP suffered a top-order collapse and was tottering at 25 for 3.
Both the openers Abhishek Goswami (6) and Madhav Kaushik (16) fell cheaply. While Goswami top-edged to wicket-keeper Anuj Rawat off pacer and skipper Pradeep Sangwan (2/49), Kaushik too top-edged to Rawat off left-arm pacer Kulwant Khejroliya (1/50).
Young Priyam Garg (0) was found short by a direct throw from Hiten Dalal as UP found itself in all sorts of trouble.
Skipper Karan (83) and veteran Akshdeep Nath (15) tried to steady the ship with their 41-run fourth wicket stand, but Nath perished in the 17th over, as he also edged to Rawat off Simarjeet Singh (2/51).
At 66 for 4, Karan and wicket-keeper Upendra Yadav rallied with Yadav playing initially playing second fiddle initially before launching a counter attack.
The two conjured crucial 129-runs for the fifth wicket to pull the team out of trouble.
While Sharma hammered 11 fours in his 100-ball knock, Yadav struck 11 boundaries and two maximums in his innings, as the two took on the Delhi bowlers.
UP were 150/4 after 32 overs and were in pursuit of a decent total. But of-spinner Lalit dismissed Sharma in the 39th over.
Then Upendra took the onus on himself and found an able ally in Sameer Choudhary, who chipped in with quick-fire unbeaten 43 off 35 balls, which enabled them to go past the 275-run mark.
Uttar Pradesh 280/7 (Upendra Yadav 112, Karan Sharma 83; Pradeep Sangwan 2/49, Simarjeet Singh 2/51) beat Delhi 234 in 48.1 overs (Lalit Yadav 61, Anuj Rawat 47, Akshdeep Nath 2/29, Shivam Mavi 1/32).