Punjab rode on Bipul Sharma's all-round effort and opener Chandan Madan's 79 to score a five-wicket victory over Hyderabad and sail into the semi-finals of the Vijay Hazare one-day tournament in Delhi on Wednesday.
After his figures of four for 31 helped Punjab bundle out Hyderabad for a meagre 175 at the Palam A ground, Bipul (41 off 48 balls; 3x6, 3x4) and wicketkeeper-batsman Chandan teamed up to chase down the target with 53 balls to spare.
Punjab will take on Bengal in the semi-finals.
Leg-spinner Rahul Sharma also shone, finishing with an impressive haul of three for 40.
Considering that it was not a very easy pitch to bat on, both Madan and Bipul showed composure as Punjab bounced back after losing their top five batsmen with 88 runs on the board, almost 100 runs adrift of the target.
Chandan, who found the fence 10 times during his 120-ball knock, anchored one end, giving the left-handed Bipul the liberty to free his arms, which resulted in three clean sixes.
For Punjab, the situation was, if not worse, pretty similar to the last match when they were reeling at 69 for six at one stage before skipper Harbhajan Singh came to their rescue.
The script seemed to be taking a similar turn on Wednesday as well before the Madan and Bipul steadied the ship with a 91-run stand.
Their partnership meant Harbhajan, who was padded up, was not required to do the rescue act one more time.
Earlier, electing to bat, Hyderabad lost wickets at regular intervals and were dismissed for a low score.
Ibrahim Khaleel top-scored for them with 46 off 51 balls, the right-handed wicketkeeper hitting six boundaries during his stay at the wicket.
Akshath Reddy and T Suman chipped in with useful contributions of 37 and 34 respectively, but none of the batsmen could play a big knock that could have put Punjab under some pressure.
Hyderabad 175 all out in 49.2 overs (Ibrahim Khaleel 46; Bipul Sharma 4-31, Rahul Sharma 3-40).
Punjab 179 for five in 41.1 overs (Chandan Madan 79 not out, Bipul Sharma 41 not out; Anwar Ahmed 2-19).