Aakash, Virat take Delhi to Ranji ODI quarters

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/v/viratk.jpg' class='caption'> Skipper Aakash Chopra (107) and Virat Kohli (114) slammed centuries to fashion a thrilling two-wicket win for Delhi against Railways in Ranji one-day semis

Updated: February 28, 2009 14:58 IST
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Skipper Aakash Chopra (107) and Virat Kohli (114) slammed centuries to fashion a thrilling two-wicket win for Delhi against Railways to storm into the quarter-finals of the Ranji Trophy one-day tournament on Saturday.

Chasing a highly competitive 306 to win, Delhi overhauled the stiff target with nine balls to spare as Rajat Bhatia (unbeaten 33) held his nerves in the dying moments to steer Delhi to victory.

Earlier, riding on half centuries from Sanjay Bangar (56) and Vairamudi Cheluvaraj (76) and a late blitzkrieg by Dhiran Salvi (48 not out), Railways set Delhi a challenging total. Delhi had made the pre-quarter final stage of the tournament after finishing second in the North Zone competition.

Tamil Nadu joined Delhi in the last eight after pipping Orissa on the basis of superior net run-rate as their pre-quarter final match was abandoned without a ball being bowled following overnight rain that left the Maharaja Veer Vikram Stadium ground unplayable.

Delhi will take on Mumbai while Tamil Nadu will lock horns with Bengal in their respective last-eight fixtures on Wednesday.

Bangar and stumper-batsman Vairamudi rattled up 101-run for the first wicket to give their team a rollicking start and Railways fired on all cylinders to pile up 305 for six after asked to bat first.

In reply, Delhi made a shaky start, losing opener Puneet Bisht (0) in the very first over.

However, Chopra and Kohli ensured that rivals do not build on early success and took complete control of the proceedings with Railways bowlers finding themselves at the receiving end.

The duo forged an impressive 222-run partnership to steer Delhi to a comfortable victory.

Kohli hit one six and 17 boundaries while Chopra hit 12 fours in his innings.

But the match became interesting when both Chopra and Kohli departed and within minutes Delhi were reduced to 289 for seven from a comfortable 224 for two.

The Delhi batting collapse raised the hopes of Railways but Bhatia ensured Delhi romp home.

In the Tamil Nadu-Orissa match, Match Referee Balvir Singh inspected the ground in the afternoon after finding a wet outfield in the morning.

"But the ground condition did not improve and hence Tamil Nadu were declared winners on basis of their net run rate in the league round," Singh said.

Tamil Nadu had a net run-rate of 2.106 while Orissa had 0.625.

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