Anukul Roy's four-for leads Jharkhand into semi-finals


Jharkhand 127 for 2 (Rathour 53*, Tiwary 29*, Fallah 1-13) beat Maharashtra 181 (Motwani 52, Tripathi 47, Roy 4-32, Shukla 3-35) by eight wickets (VJD method)

Jharkhand’s bowlers, led by left-arm spinner Anukul Roy, stifled Maharashtra in a low-scoring quarter-final on Monday that was interrupted by rain, and the batsmen then did enough to ensure they didn’t let the bowling effort go in vain, winning by eight wickets via the VJD method.

Jharkhand will now face Delhi at the same venue, the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, in the second semi-final on October 18.

Anukul took 4 for 32, his best-ever List A figures, as Maharashtra were bowled out for 181 in 42.2 overs. Jharkhand’s reply was halted first in the sixth over, which reduced the target to 174 in 47 overs, then for a longer duration after 27 overs, which meant they had to get 127 in 34 overs.

At that stage, Jharkhand were then on 89 for 2 in 27 overs, needing a comfortable 85 from 20 with eight wickets in hand. The rain changed that equation to 38 runs needed in seven, but Saurabh Tiwary and Shasheem Rathour stepped up to the challenge commandingly, and knocked off the runs in 32.2 overs. The winning run coming off a wide.

Tiwary made 20 off 14 after the second break, while Rathour contributed 16 off 18, in the process getting to his first List A half-century.

Earlier, Ishan Kishan’s decision to field first after winning the toss bore fruit, with Maharashtra reined in. The openers had begun with a flurry, putting on 31 runs in three overs before the bowlers started to pull things back. Rahul Shukla, generating good pace along with Varun Aaron, started the process with Ruturaj Gaikwad hitting a short and wide ball straight to Anukul at point and in the next 13 overs, Maharashtra could only score 43 runs. Worse, they lost four wickets. The most crucial strike was that of Ankit Bawne, caught by Kishan diving to his left after he had tried to tickle Aaron fine.

Captain Rahul Tripathi had slotted himself at No. 6, and he then joined Rohit Motwani to steer Maharashtra towards some safety. The two began cautiously, with the situation demanding that they do so, before gradually opening out. Motwani was the busier among the two, but Tripathi had just begun to assert himself when he fell. Tripathi had blasted 13 runs off six balls that included a six and a three off Rathour’s part-time offspin and a boundary off Anukul before he was done in by the latter, who got the ball to dip and turn. Tripathi’s drive was miscued and the catch taken at long-on.

The fifth-wicket stand was worth 76 in 16.1 overs, but once Anukul broke through, wickets fell quickly. Motwani watched batsmen walk back even as he continued to knock the runs, and while trying to go big after completing his half-century, he too holed out off Anukul.

Jharkand’s opening pair of Kishan and Anand Singh began very sedately – scoring at less than a run a ball when the rain came with the total on five in 5.3 overs, but after the first break, they started playing more shots.

Samad Fallah, who had bowled an unchanged seven-over spell to take 1 for 13, got Anand, while Kishan gloved a short one to the keeper while trying to pull.

But Tiwary and Rathour ensured there were no further alarms, pacing their partnership of 66 runs well and accelerating when needed to take Jharkhand home.

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