Cricket news - Goa enter quarterfinals; Bengal-Punjab heading for a tight finish

Manoj Tiwary steadied Bengal's innings by notching up his second fifty of the match

Manoj Tiwary steadied Bengal's innings by notching up his second fifty of the match

Goa qualify from Plate Group

Goa booked their place in the quarterfinals from the Plate Group after smashing Mizoram inside two days for a bonus point win. In doing so, they beat off competition from second-placed Puducherry, who were hot on their trail right through but will now miss out on qualification despite being poised for a huge win over Nagaland themselves. Goa were led to the next round with standout performances from Smit Patel (236) and captain Amit Verma (148), both of whom shared a 301-run stand in their total of 490 which Mizoram couldn't overhaul in two innings combined. Verma even took a five-for in the follow-on innings, wrapping things up efficiently despite a hundred from Mizoram captain KB Pavan.

Goa also have to thank the rain that scuppered Chandigarh's charge throughout their campaign, forcing them to settle for five draws in eight previous matches, most of which they were primed to win. Chandigarh are now primed to win their final match too, taking out the angst on hapless Manipur. Double-hundreds from Bipul Sharma and Gurinder Singh helped them amass 672 in the first innings, following which Gurinder's five-for blasted Manipur out for 63 to seal a lead of 609. After being asked to follow-on, Manipur have made a steady start with their opening pair.

Bengal, Punjab in tight race

In a match where the winner goes through to the quarters, it promises to be a fight to the finish between Bengal and Punjab. Looking to set a target, Bengal are 186 runs ahead but only have one wicket in hand in this low-scoring affair. There was little to separate the teams after their first innings efforts - Shahbaz Ahmed's seven-wicket haul saw to that as he kept Punjab to a mere 13-run lead over Bengal's 138 all out.

Bengal's second dig didn't promise to be any better, slipping to 21/3 in a hurry before being bailed out by fifties from Arnab Nandi and Manoj Tiwary. But Krishan Alang's five-for has kept the match on a knife-edge at Patiala. If Punjab lose, they're definitely out. Bengal will also most likely head out with a defeat, considering Karnataka's strong position against Baroda.

Karnataka on the brink of quarters

Abhimanyu Mithun provided a handy contribution in the lower-order to stretch Karnataka's lead to 148 this morning, even as Baroda seamer Soyeb Sopariya finished with a five-for.

Baroda were much better with the bat the second time around, after their 85 all out. Helped by a couple of dropped catches, opener Ahmadnoor Pathan scored 90 and had got a good partnership going with Deepak Hooda. But Karnataka removed both of them in the final session to finish on top. Baroda were left with only five wickets in hand while being 60 runs ahead.

Other highlights

Uttar Pradesh needed a bonus-point win to have a chance but they're struggling currently against Himachal Pradesh who are 283 ahead with seven wickets in hand in the third innings. That they find themselves in this plight is down to Rishi Dhawan's five-for earlier in the day, which bowled them out for 119.

N Jagadeesan scored 183 to put Tamil Nadu in a strong position against Saurashtra despite Jaydev Unadkat's six-fer. Saurashtra are 107/3 in response, trailing by 317.

Hyderabad's relegation battle got stiffer in Group A & B after a hundred from Faiz Fazal has Vidarbha poised to take a first-innings lead.

Delhi, after racking up 623 through hundreds from Hiten Dalal, Kshitiz Sharma and Kunwar Bidhuri, have reduced Rajasthan to 115/4. Rahul Chahar had taken a five-fer for Rajasthan but went for 161 in his 32 overs.

Gujarat look set to finish top of Group A & B after taking a 177-run lead against Andhra which is bound to be extended with four wickets in hand. Still batting is Chirag Gandhi (80*), whose 141-run sixth-wicket partnership with Axar Patel (89) was at the centre of their dominance.

Venkatesh Iyer led a late recovery but Madhya Pradesh are still looking at a big deficit against Mumbai who posted 427 riding on Sarfaraz Khan's 177.