Ranji Trophy 2021-22 – Sarfaraz Khan century puts Mumbai in quarter-finals; Tamil Nadu knocked out


Bengal, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh also made it to the quarter-finals

Mumbai have qualified for the Ranji Trophy knockouts for the first time since 2017-18, beating Odisha in the Elite Group D match by an innings and 108 runs in Ahmedabad. The win was set up by Sarfaraz Khan, who scored 165 off 181 balls, Armaan Jaffer, who made 125 off 223 balls and Shams Mulani. Mulani finished with a match haul of 7 for 117, including a five-for during Odisha’s second innings, which put him on top of the wicket-takers’ list this season. Odisha had posted 284 in the first innings on the back of Shantanu Mishra’s 89 after opting to bat.
In reply, Mumbai got off to a strong start thanks to Prithvi Shaw‘s fifty, but Rajesh Mohanty struck to reduce them to 76 for 3, as they lost three wickets in 12 balls. The strikes also included the wicket of Ajinkya Rahane, who departed for a first-ball duck. But a 277-run partnership between Sarfaraz and Jaffer ensued before Prasanta Rana broke the stand with the latter’s wicket. Sarfaraz continued to pile on the runs, with Aditya Tare and Mulani pitching in with scores of 72 and 70 respectively, before Mumbai declared on 532 for 9. Sarfaraz now has 551 runs in three matches this season, at a staggering average of 137.75, with two centuries and one fifty. In the second innings, Odisha were off to a poor start, with Mulani and Raut running through the top order and reducing them to 66 for 5. Abhishek Raut fought back with a half-century but did not get much help from the other end as Mulani and Tanush Kotian wrapped them up for 140.
Tamil Nadu were knocked out of the tournament following a two-wicket loss to Jharkhand in the Elite Group H match in Guwahati. With Chattisgarh drawing the match against Delhi, Jharkhand will now have to play a pre-quarter-final against Nagaland – the toppers of the Plate Group – as they have the least points among all teams that have topped their respective groups (and a lower run quotient among the teams tied on 12 points). Jharkhand captain Saurabh Tiwary followed up his first-innings half-century with a 93 in the second, while medium-pacer Rahul Shukla finished with eight wickets in the match, including a 5 for 29 in the second innings.
Tamil Nadu’s first-innings total of 285 was set up by B Indrajith‘s 100, his third century of the season. Jharkhand failed to erase the deficit in reply, making just 226, as M Siddharth and M Shahrukh Khan picked up seven wickets between them with their fingerspin. But Shukla didn’t let Tamil Nadu put up a sizeable second-innings total, restricting them to 152. Indrajith was the only batter to offer some resistance with a half-century, as he finished the season with 396 runs in three matches at an average of 99 and a strike rate of nearly 77. Jharkhand lost eight wickets during their chase of 212, but Tiwary stepped up once again and helped them get closer to the target in the end. It was Shukla who sealed victory, remaining unbeaten on 12.

The other teams who have qualified to the quarter-finals from their respective Elite groups are Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Bengal.

The Elite Group A match between Madhya Pradesh and Kerala finished in a draw, but MP are through to quarter-finals as they have a better run quotient. Electing to bat, MP declared on 585 for 9, as Yash Dubey made 289 and Rajat Patidar made 142. In reply, Kerala accumulated 432, with centuries from opener Ponnan Rahul and captain Sachin Baby.
Ishan Porel, Nilkantha Das and Mukesh Kumar combined to bowl Chandigarh out for 260 in their defence of 412 in the Elite Group B match in Cuttack as Bengal booked their quarter-final berth. Abhimanyu Easwaran‘s 114, and half-centuries from Anustup Majumdar, Manoj Tiwary and Sayan Mondal in the first innings helped them put 437 runs on board, following which their bowlers restricted Chandigarh to 206. They batted again and declared on 181 for 8, setting Chandigarh a target of 413. After Mukesh and Porel reduced them to 57 for 3, there was some middle-order resistance from Manan Vohra and Amrit Lubana, but Das broke the stand and a mini-collapse followed. Jaskaran Singh put up a fight with an 89-ball 60 not out but found no support from the other end.
Karnataka thumped Puducherry by an innings and 20 runs in the Elite Group C match in Chennai. Devdutt Padikkal‘s 178 and captain Manish Pandey‘s 107 helped Karnataka amass 453 for 8 after they were put in. Puducherry replied with 241 thanks to captain D Rohit’s unbeaten ton. K Gowtham ran through the rest of the line-up to pick up a five-for. After being asked to follow on, Puducherry were bundled out for 192, despite Pavan Deshpande’s efforts to erase the deficit, as Shreyas Gopal finished with a five-for.
Uttarakhand progressed to the knockouts despite a loss to Andhra in the Elite Group E match in Thumba. In reply to Uttarakhand’s 194, Andhra scored 226 as Shaik Rasheed scored a half-century. In the second innings, Uttarakhand crumbled to 101 as Cheepurapalli Stephen and S Ashish ran through the line-up, bagging five and four wickets respectively. Andhra chased down the target of 70 with relative ease, in 18.1 overs, with CR Gnaneshwar staying unbeaten on 42.
Punjab wrapped up a six-wicket win against Tripura within three days in Delhi as they topped Elite Group F with 16 points. Baltej Singh’s five-for bundled Tripura out for 127, and in turn, Punjab were bowled out for 120 as Manisankar Murasingh picked up six wickets. Murasingh shone with the bat as well, making an 85 from No. 8 during Tripura’s second innings. Given a target of 240, Mandeep Singh stayed unbeaten on 97 to take Punjab over the line.
Maharashtra declared on 211 for 5 in the second innings, setting Uttar Pradesh a steep target of 357. However, UP chased it down in the final session, with six wickets to spare, to grab a place in the quarter-finals. Almas Shaukat and captain Karan Sharma hit centuries to take them past 300. Rinku Singh also contributed handsomely with a 60-ball 78, which was laced with four sixes and five fours, to guide them home.

Captain Ankit Bawne and Azim Kazi had taken Maharashtra to 462 after opting to bat first. In reply, UP made 317 on the back of Priyam Garg’s 156. Rahul Tripathi scored a century when Maharashtra batted again and they declared on the final day, following which UP achieved the target in 70.1 overs. UP edged Vidarbha by one point in the Elite Group G to progress to the next stage.

Nagaland made it to the pre-quarter-final, after topping the Plate Group having beaten Mizoram at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Nagaland made 509 in the first innings, after being asked to bat, on the back of Shrikant Mundhe and Chetan Bist‘s centuries. Mizoram were then bowled out for just 95 as quick Raja Swarnkar bagged 5 for 17. Nagaland, however, did not enforce the follow-on and went on to score 295 for 5 in the second innings, setting Mizoram an improbable target of 701. Mizoram could make just 261 in the second innings, as the line-up crumbled around captain Taruwar Kohli, who scored an unbeaten 151. Nagaland will be facing Jharkhand, who have the fewest points among Elite Group toppers, in the pre-quarter-final, which will be played just after the league phase.

Other results:

Elite Group B: Ravi Teja’s all-round show helped Hyderabad seal a win in three days against Baroda by 43 runs in Cuttack. He picked up 4 for 50 and then 4 for 70, and also contributed 56 with the bat in the second innings.
Elite Group C: Railways were knocked out despite a big win against J&K in Chennai. Yuvraj Singh was named player of the match for his century in the first innings and two wickets in the match.
Elite Group D: Defending champions Saurashtra ended their campaign with a huge win against Goa in Ahmedabad. Chirag Jani scored a century for Saurashtra, while Chetan Sakariya finished with a match haul of 9 for 93.
Elite Group E: Services beat Rajasthan by 10 wickets in Thiruvananthapuram. After bowling Rajasthan out for 91, they went on to make 301, following which Rajasthan were able to erase the deficit only by two runs.
Elite Group F: Captain Himanshu Rana‘s first-innings ton took Haryana to a win over Himachal Pradesh. Himachal were set a massive target of 439 and were wrapped up for 157 as Amit Rana bagged four wickets.
Elite Group G: Rajneesh Gurbani‘s match haul of nine wickets helped Vidarbha beat Assam by five wickets. Vidarbha chased down the 156-run target on the final day even as Hridip Deka troubled the top order, as captain Faiz Fazal followed up his first-innings 86 with a 48-ball 41.
Elite Group H: Chhattisgarh missed a spot in the quarter-finals after they failed to beat Delhi outright on the final day as the encounter ended in a draw in Guwahati. Amandeep Khare’s 156 not out helped Chhattisgarh declare on 482 for 9 in the first innings and then the team bowled Delhi out for 295. Following on, Yash Dhull continued his fine form in the tournament by scoring 200 not out, while Dhruv Shorey made 100.

Sruthi Ravindranath is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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