Jammu and Kashmir's dream run in the Ranji Trophy came to an end after Punjab defeated them by a 100 runs to enter the semifinals of the premier domestic event on the fourth day of their last-eight stage match in Vadodara on Saturday.
Seamer VRV Singh (in pic) returned with a five-wicket haul as Punjab dismissed Jammu and Kashmir, chasing a target of 324, for 233 in their second innings.
Singh ran through the lower middle-order, dismissing skipper Parvez Rasool (10), Manzoor Dar (10), Obaid Haroon (0) and Samiullah Beigh (2) in quick time to derail J&K's chase at the Moti Bagh Stadium.
Punjab will now face Karnataka in the semifinal to be held in Mohali from January 18.
First down batsman Hardeep Singh, who was retired hurt at the score of 43 and came back to bat again when the score read 146/7, was unbeaten with a 135-ball 76, which was studded with nine hits to the fence.
Chasing 324, J&K resumed their second innings at 77-2 on Saturday but their hopes of a successfully chasing the target for a maiden semi-final appearance in the Ranji Trophy came crashing soon.
In the second over of the day, Ian Dev Singh (18) was sent back to the hut by pacer Manpreet Gony as J&K slipped to 80 for three.
Overnight batsman Hardeep was then retired hurt with the total reading 113 for three, bringing two new batsmen Rasool and Ram Dayal at the crease.
Sandeep Sharma made good use of the opportunity by cleaning up Dayal (14) in the 40th over and two overs later, VRV Singh triggered a collapse with a twin-strike in the 43rd over leaving J&K reeling at 135 for 6.
Singh returned again in his next over to get rid off Dar. Hardeep then came back to the crease but VRV Singh continued his dismantling job by dismissing Beigh when he had him caught by Inder Singh in the 47th over to reduce J&K to 149 for eight.
MG Gujree and Hardeep then added another 53 runs before the former was sent back in the 59th over as J&K slumped to 202 for nine.
Umar Nazir Mir was the last to be dismissed in the 63.2 over as Punjab cemented their place in semifinals.
Their ouster in the quarterfinal stage notwithstanding, J&K created quite a stir this Ranji season by making the quarterfinals.
One of the stars for the team has been off-spinning all-rounder Rasool, the first cricketer from the state to be picked in an Indian team to play against an international side. Rasool proved himself in this match as well by getting a hundred.
"J&K inexperience shows up finally-but they R getting used 2 winning idea!Hopefully w/ improved infra-structure Valley lads cn do better!!" tweeted former J&K coach and ex-India skipper Bishan Singh Bedi after the team's quarterfinal loss.