Haryana recorded an emphatic six-wicket win over hosts Karnataka to advance to the semi-final of the Ranji Trophy at the M Chinnaswamy Stadiumin Bangalore on Wednesday.
Haryana in all likelihood will meet defending champions Rajasthan who are all but through in their quarterfinal match against Hyderabad. The semi-finals will be played from January 10.
After restricting Karnataka to 262 in their second innings, the visitors scored the required 142 runs in only 36.2 overs. The reliable opening pair of Nitin Saini (52, 70 balls, 8x4) and Rahul Dewan (25) added 75 runs in only 17 overs to make the job easier for the winners.
This was after their 152-run opening stand in the first innings which gave Haryana a decisive lead of 121 runs.
Troubled by the absence of their three quicks (Ranganath Vinay Kumar and Abhimanyu Mithun on national duty and S Aravind injured), Karnataka were outclassed by a side which had barely qualified for the knockout from Group B.
The two factors that contributed to Haryana's defeat were their poor show in the first innings getting out for a meagre 151 and then allowing Haryana to score 272 despite having them on the mat at 188 for seven.
Having conceded a sizeable 121-run lead, Karnataka needed to score in the excess of 350 runs to force a win in the fourth innings. But they failed to deliver as a batting unit.
Resuming at their overnight 122 for three, the six-time champions were bowled moments after lunch.
Like Robin Uthappa on Day two, Ganesh Satish (33), Stuart Binny (34) and Sunil Raju (31) had played themselves in before throwing their wickets.
To make matters worse, umpire Amiesh Saheba injudicisouly adjudged Amit Verma leg before wicket when the ball was going down the leg.
The victory target would have been lot lesser had K P Appanna (31 not out) and N C Aiyappa (9) not produced 40 fighting runs for the last wicket.
Appanna struck five boundaries and one six during his undefeated 43-ball essay at the wicket. The contest could have been keener had C M Gautam snaffled the nicks induced by an accurate Aiyappa. The missed opportunities were to play on Karnataka's nerves as Saini and Dewan went about creaming the three-pronged seam attack with nonchallance.
There was a wee bit of excitement when Aiyappa castled Saini and Binny had Dewan gobbled up by Gautam (79 for two).
Karnataka's hopes rose again when Sunny Singh and Sachin Rana perished with scoreborad reading 107 for four. Both were dismissed by the military medium stuff bowled by S L Akshay (2 for 31).
But Prateek Pawar (27 not out) and Priyank Tehlan (25 not out) ensured there were no more hiccups as Haryana sealed the victory with a day to spare.