A round-up of the Ranji Trophy quarter-final matches played on Monday.
The seasoned Gautam Gambhir struck a fine 95 and powered Delhi to the semi-finals of the Ranji Trophy following a seven-wicket victory over Madhya Pradesh in Vijaywada on Monday.
Delhi will take on Bengal in their semi-final.
Chasing 217 for an outright win, Delhi relied on Gambhir's 129-ball 95, which was laced with nine boundaries and a six.
Even as the bowlers failed to dismiss him, Gambhir was unfortunately run out by Mihir Hirwani as he approached what would have been a well-deserved century.
The out-of-favour India opener was well-supported by Kunal Chandela (57) and Dhruv Shorey, who remained unbeaten on 46, when the winning runs were scored at the Dr. Gokaraju Liala Gangaaraju ACA Cricket Ground.
Delhi were eight for no loss at stumps on the fourth and penultimate evening with Kunal Chandela and Vikas Tokas in the middle.
Delhi were dealt an early blow when Tokas was sent back by medium pacer Ishwar Pandey with just 11 runs on the scoreboard.
A 98-run partnership for the second wicket between Gambhir and Chandela ensured Delhi remained on course for a win. The two went along nicely till Hirwani, who had a five-wicket haul in the first innings, removed Chandela when the scoreboard read 111.
A 95-run stand ensued, for the third wicket between Gambhir and Shorey, as Delhi completed the job with plenty left in their arsenal.
MP: 338 all out and 283 all out in 105.5 overs (Harpreet 78; Mishra 4/59).
Delhi: 405 all out and 217 for three in 51.4 overs (Gautam Gambhir 95, Kunal Chandela 57, Dhruv Shorey 46).
Bengal in semis, to clash with Delhi
Bengal made a mockery of the contest by not declaring their second innings on the final day of their quarterfinal Ranji Trophy match as they ousted defending champions Gujarat by virtue of first innings lead.
Manoj Tiwary's men will meet multiple-time champions Delhi in the semifinals in Pune, while title favourites Karnataka will take on Vidarbha in the other last-four match, to be played in Kolkata. Both matches will be played between December 17 to 21.
Bengal batted for the better part of last three days to finish their second innings at 695 for six when umpires were forced to call off play in the post tea session as the heavens opened up much to the relief of battered Gujarat bowlers.
Such was the plight of the Gujarat team that skipper Parthiv Patel did not take the field after lunch on fourth day, complaining of cramps.
The last two sessions on the penultimate day and on the final day, it was a reserve wicketkeeper who took the field as a substitute and kept wickets, as per the new ICC rules.
On the inconsequential final day, the in-form Anustup Majumdar got his seventh first-class hundred, having scored an invaluable 94 in the first essay. In fact, the fifth day was walk in the park for Majumdar, whose first innings contribution was far more crucial as it paved the way for Bengal putting up a decent total after a top-order collapse.
Majumdar scored an unbeaten 132 off 172 balls, studded with 17 fours and a six in the second innings.
At the close of play, Bengal enjoyed an overall lead of 825 runs by virtue of their 130-run first innings lead.
Resuming on 483 for 4, Bengal extended their lead further on the final day.
Bengal: 354 & 695/6 in 231 overs (Writtick Chatterjee 216, Abhimanyu Easwaran 114, Anustup Majumdar 132 not out).
Vidarbha slam Kerala by 412 runs to book semis berth
Left-arm orthodox spinner Aditya Sarwate (6/41) claimed a six-wicket haul as Vidarbha posted a comfortable 412-run win over Kerala in their Ranji Trophy quarter-final match in Surat and booked a semifinal berth.
Vidarbha will take on Karnataka, who defeated Mumbai in another quarter-final match, in their last-four game.
Resuming on 431 for six, Vidarbha declared their second innings on 507 for nine to set a mammoth target of 578 for Kerala. Overnight batsman Akshay Wadkar completed his half-century, remaining unbeaten on 67 off 110 balls.
Chasing a huge total, Kerala did not get off to a good start and kept losing wickets at regular interval with Sarwate recording his best bowling figures. He took six wickets with an economy of 2.51 in 16.2 overs.
Salman Nizar was the lone batsman who played a responsible knock, top-scoring for Kerala with 64 off 104 balls, clobbering four boundaries and an equal number of sixes, even as other Kerala batsmen struggled to score runs.
Vidarbha: 246 & 507/9 decl.
Kerala: 176 & 165 all out in 52.2 overs (Salman Nizar 64, Aditya Sarwate 6/41).