Jamshedpur romped into the final of the senior inter-district (Elite) cricket tournament for HP Bodhanwala Trophy by handing out a five-wicket defeat to Ranchi at Keenan Stadium on Tuesday.
Skipper Saurabh Tiwary and Ishank Jaggi, Jharkhand's batting mainstays, once again produced classy innings to guide their team to victory. Jaggi, who opened the innings, hammered a 40-ball 65, while southpaw Tiwary blazed with 70. Jamshedpur attained the target of 201 posted by Ranchi in just 27.3 overs.
Young Vishal Singh also revelled in the onslaught and came up with a quickfire 46 of 52 balls. Jaggi added 62 runs for the third wicket with Vishal before Tiwary shared an 84-run stand for the fourth wicket. These partnerships helped Jamshedpur's cause. Ranchi's Ajay Yadav, who made his Ranji debut this season, emerged as the top wicket-taker with 3/56.
Bokaro, on the other hand, kept its hopes for reaching the summit clash alive by defeating a listless West Singhbhum by a mammoth 160 runs in the other outing at Shahid Nirmal Mahto Stadium.
Centuries by opener Sandeep Gupta and Kumar Deobrat helped Bokaro score 339/6 in 50 overs. Sumit Kumar chipped in with a cameo (47 of 24 balls) at the end. But it was Gupta's unbeaten 109 of 128 balls that laid a solid platform for other batsmen to capitalise on the West Singhbhum attack.
Gupta played cautiously at the start, but opened up after settling into a nice groove.
Bokaro lost two wickets for 44, but Gupta and Deobrat stitched an important 198-run partnership for the third wicket, which pulled the game away from West Singhbhum.Both the batsmen played fluently and struck some sweetly timed boundaries. Gupta was finally evicted by medium-pacer Yajuvendra Krishnatray, while Deobrat fell to Md Shah Rukh for a well-deserved 127 of 91 balls.Medium-pacer Tirth Raj demolished the West Singhbhum batting line-up with 5/40, while spinners Rahul Mishra and R. Sharma had two victims each. The losing side was dismissed for 179 in 43.5 overs.
Bokaro takes on Jamshedpur in the last match of the tournament at Keenan on Wednesday. It will be a must-win tie for Bokaro if it wants a clear final berth. Else, the run-rate calculation will come into play.
Bokaro has so far won three matches in four outings, while close contender Dhanbad has completed its engagement with three wins in five matches.