Saurashtra, TN, Karnataka advance; Gaikwad, Bharat pile on the runs while Dhawan fails again
Ruturaj Gaikwad struck his fourth century in five games but his side, Maharashtra, failed to qualify for the knockouts stages of the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2021-22. Elsewhere, Puducherry stunned defending champions Mumbai, who finished the tournament with a solitary win from five games. Saurashtra were the only Elite team to finish the group stage unbeaten. Tripura, who topped Plate group, too had five wins from as many games. Here’s how the last round of the group stage panned out.
Elite A: Rishi Dhawan’s all-round show takes Himachal to quarter-finals
Himachal Pradesh qualified for the quarter-finals, thanks to their captain Rishi Dhawan‘s unbeaten 91 off 58 balls and 3 for 51 with ball, as they beat Odisha by 63 runs at the Brabourne Stadium. Rishi was well-supported by Nikhil Gangta, Shubham Arora and Prashant Chopra – all of them scored half-centuries to lift Himachal to 360 for 5. Mayank Dagar then picked up 6 for 59 as Odisha were bowled out for 297.
Faiz Fazal too led from the front, scoring an unbeaten 102 off 110 as Vidarbha chased down Jammu and Kashmir’s 233 with five wickets in hand at the Bandra Kurla Complex. In Thane, KS Bharat piled up 156 off 138 balls, studded with 16 fours and seven sixes, as Andhra beat Gujarat by 81 runs. That resulted in Himachal, Vidarbha and Andhra tied with 12 points each but a superior net run rate meant Himachal topped the group. On the same basis, Vidarbha trumped Andhra for a spot in the pre-quarter-finals.
Elite B: Tamil Nadu in quarter-finals despite loss, Puducherry stun Mumbai
After bowling out Baroda for a mere 114 in Mangalapuram, Tamil Nadu themselves were all out for 73. Despite that, they made it to the quarter-finals. Karnataka had a similar fate in Thumba. Despite Manish Pandey‘s 85-ball 90, they lost to Bengal by four wickets but were saved by their net run rate. They will now face Rajasthan in the pre-quarter-final.
In Thiruvananthapuram, Puducherry stunned defended champions Mumbai. Chasing 157, Mumbai were bowled out for 139 as offspinner Fabid Ahmed picked up 4 for 16 from his ten overs. For Mumbai, Aakarshit Gomel scored 70 but no other batter could reach even 20.
Elite C: Saurashtra’s unbeaten run, Shikhar’s torrid time
Ankit Rajpoot picked up a hat-trick on his way to a maiden five-for in List A as Uttar Pradesh beat Haryana by 78 runs in Mohali despite Harshal Patel‘s 3 for 56 and 67 with bat. Uttar Pradesh will now face Madhya Pradesh pre-quarter-finals. In Chandigarh, Chama Milind‘s 6 for 63 went in vain as Hyderabad lost to Jharkhand by 36 runs.
Elite D: Gaikwad’s fourth ton but Maharashtra fail to qualify
Chasing a mammoth 309, Gaikwad led from the front with a 132-ball 168 as Maharashtra beat Chandigarh by five wickets in Rajkot. Gaikwad hit 12 fours and six sixes in what was his fourth hundred of the tournament, and while Maharashtra registered four wins from five games, they were behind Kerala and Madhya Pradesh in terms of net run rate.
Sachin Baby‘s unbeaten 83 helped Kerala book a quarter-finals spot as they romped home by five wickets against Uttarakhand. Kerala captain Sanju Samson also struck 33 off 36 balls. Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh beat Chhattisgarh by three runs in a low-scoring game to make it to the pre-quarter-finals even though their star player Venkatesh Iyer scored only 1 and didn’t bowl.
Elite E: Punjab-Goa tie changes the scenario
Anmolpreet Singh and Gurkeerat Singh‘s hundreds helped Punjab put up 288 for 8 against Goa in Ranchi but Snehal Kauthankar‘s unbeaten 148 ensured the game ended in a tie. As a result, Punjab finished third in the group. Had they won, they would have been through to the quarter-finals as they had the best net run rate in the group.
Ravi Chauhan‘s 61 helped Services defeat Rajasthan by 16 runs in Ranchi, which meant both Services and Rajasthan finished with 16 points each. While Rajasthan had a superior net run rate, the Punjab-Goa tie meant only two teams were tied on the points for the top spot. Therefore, head-to-head results got precedence over net run rate, resulting in Services going into the quarter-finals and Rajasthan into the pre-quarter-finals.
Plate: Tripura trounce Meghalaya in virtual knockout
Coming into their last group match, both Tripura and Meghalaya had four wins each but legspinner Amit Ali’s 5 for 26 made it a one-sided contest as Meghalaya were bowled out for 116. Tripura chased that down with nine wickets in hand. They will now face Vidarbha in the pre-quarter-final.
Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo