New Delhi: Karnataka and Punjab from Group A and Maharashtra from Group C qualified for the quarterfinals of the Ranji Trophy Wednesday on the third day of the last league phase.
Railways, Bengal and Uttar Pradesh are all but through from Group B with Baroda effectively 15/6 against Rajasthan.
The winner of the Mumbai vs Gujarat match in Group A and either Goa or Jammu and Kashmir will join the six above mentioned teams in the last eight stage which will be decided on the final day of the league stage Thursday. On the other hand, Jharkhand (Group A) and Services (Group B) were relegated.
Table toppers Karnataka are on course for another victory after their pacers rocked the star-studded Delhi batting line-up at the Ferozeshah Kotla here. The hosts ended the day reeling at 132/6 in their second innings, effectively 45 runs ahead. Ronit More (3/27) struck thrice while pacer H.S. Sharath (2/24) took a couple before bad light brought the day's play to a premature end.
Karnataka, resuming the day at 226/5, extended their first innings lead to 87 runs before being bowled out for 289 in the morning. Karun Nair, who was 92 not out at stumps Tuesday, went on to make 105 for his maiden first class century.
Delhi had a glimmer of hope to make the quarters going in to this game but that wish evaporated when Punjab beat Jharkhand in Dhanbad to advance in the competition.
Delhi's chances of staying in the game depended a lot on India discards Gautam Gambhir (26) and Virender Sehwag (11). The celebrated pair struggled to cope against the Karnataka speedsters, especially against Sharath.
The lanky pacer trapped Sehwag and Gambhir leg before in quick succession to leave Delhi at 41/2. More found the pads of Manan Sharma three balls later and it was 41/3.
Gambhir ended the season with 578 runs from 13 innings at an average of 48.16 while it was a sorry campaign for Sehwag, who could only collect 234 runs from 13 innings at 19.50.
Mithun Manhas (32) and Rajat Bhatia (30) fought it out in the middle but it was not enough to bail out Delhi.