Title contenders Mumbai played safe on the final day as they beat Madhya Pradesh by virtue of the first innings lead and entered the semi-finals of the Ranji Trophy, at the Holkar stadium, in Indore, on Thursday.
Mumbai will meet Tamil Nadu in the semi-finals at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, from January 10 to 13. Peter Hartley of England will officiate in the match, as part of the Umpire Exchange Programme between the BCCI and ECB.
MP gave a better account of themselves in the second innings as declared at 474 for 3, setting a target of 233 for Mumbai in 49 overs, which included the 15 mandatory.
The 39-time champions never went for the target as they scored 113 for one in 34 overs and the match was called off before the mandatory overs were about to start.
While man-of-the-match Kaustubh Pawar (52 not out) helped himself to another half century, following his 161 in the first essay, opener Praful Waghela (51 not out) also got some much-needed batting practice before the semi-final against Tamil Nadu.
The day, however, belonged to MP's No 3 batsman Mohnish Mishra, who scored his fifth first-class century.
Starting at the overnight score of 61, Mishra slaughtered the Mumbai attack en route to his unbeaten 174, which contained 10 boundaries and five sixes. The second innings knock was in vain as the match was all but sealed.
Skipper Devendra Bundela (101 not out) also scored runs at a fair clip as the pair added 225 runs for the unbroken fourth-wicket stand. They smashed 224 runs in only 39 overs on Thursday, making one last attempt to make a match of it.
The performance of Mumbai's bowlers in the first innings was admirable but the same can't said about their batting -- especially that of skipper Wasim Jaffer.
Brief Scores: Madhya Pradesh 192 & 474-3 decl. (M Mishra 174 n.o, D Bundela 101 n.o) v Mumbai 434 & 113-1 (P Waghela 51, K Pawar 52).
Reddy, Teja tons can't deny Rajasthan semis spot
Rajasthan had a long day in the field, but the splendid first innings batting paid off in the end, as they advanced to the semi-finals after playing out a draw against Hyderabad.
Hyderabad, following-on, began the day on 138 for no loss and went on to put up 431-2 declared in their second essay, setting Rajasthan a target of 155 in 20 overs.
Rajasthan, who needed only a draw to advance, played safely and ended the day on 25 for not loss, with Akash Chopra (8) and Vineet Saxena (16) seeing off the 20 mandatory overs.
Rajasthan will now lock horns with Haryana in the semi-finals, from January 10 in Rohtak.
Earlier, Hyderabad's overnight opening batsmen Akshat Reddy (151) and D Ravi Teja (185 not out) slammed centuries in their side's much better show in the second innings.
Reddy and Teja put together an impressive opening-wicket stand of 275 runs before the former was scalped by Pankaj Singh.
Reddy took 224 balls for his knock, studded with 14 fours and four sixes.
Teja, who remained unconquered till the end, then found an able ally in T Suman, who smashed 59 off 51 balls with the help of eight shots to the fence.
They added 97 runs for the second wicket before Suman ran himself out. Teja's patient knock came off 293 balls and with 12 fours.
Bavanaka Sandeep (18) was the other unbeaten batsman along with Teja when Hyderabad declared the innings.
Brief Scores: Rajasthan 431 & 25-0 v Hyderabad 144 & 431-2 (D Ravi Teja 185 not out, Akshat Reddy 151; Pankaj Singh 1-113).
Tamil Nadu also make last four on first inings lead
Heavyweights Tamil Nadu predictably entered the semi-finals, defeating minnows Maharashtra by virtue of a huge first innings lead at Chepauk, Chennai.
The 183-run first innings lead was a clincher for Laxmipathy Balaji and company, who will meet 39-time champions Mumbai in the semi-finals, at the Wankhede stadium, from January 10 to 13.
Maharashtra openers Harshad Khadiwale (105, 183 balls, 9x4) and Chirag Khurana (102, 230 balls, 12x4) scored centuries, but couldn't really force the pace eventually, declaring at 321 for four in 95 overs.
Having consumed 66 overs in the day and two overs deducted for change-over, Tamil Nadu were left to score 139 in 22 overs, which included 15 mandatory overs. The hosts never went for the chase and the match was called off after 14 overs.
Tamil Nadu were 45 for one when the umpires called time.
Abhinav Mukund remained not out on 21, with Sunny Gupta on 13.
The match was as good as over on the third day itself when Tamil Nadu went on to post a score in excess of 400. The youngsters from Maharashtra didn't have enough time and also lacked expertise to turn tables from such a difficult situation.
However, Tamil Nadu's real test will be how they encounter a hostile Mumbai side. Not many teams have been able to get past Mumbai at the Wankhede in crunch matches.
Brief Scores: Maharashtra 232 & 321-4 (H Khandiwale 105, C Khurana 102) v Tamil Nadu 415 & 45-1.