Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Mumbai and Gujarat are the four teams to have qualified for the semi-finals of the 2016-17 Ranji Trophy, which will be starting from the New Year’s Day. Tamil Nadu will play against Mumbai in Rajkot whereas Gujarat will lock horns with impressive Jharkhand in Nagpur.
Veteran pacer Abhishek Nayar picked up five wickets to complement the stellar effort of rookie Vijay Gohil as Mumbai scripted a thrilling 30-run win over Hyderabad on the final morning of their quarterfinal clash at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium in Raipur. With the victory, the defending champions booked the semifinal date against Tamil Nadu, who had gotten the better of arch rivals Karnataka in their quarter-final clash earlier.
Gujarat, who have had a fantastic season this year, entered the semi-final on the back of a solid performance against Odisha, who lost their momentum at the business end of the season. Odisha had a chance to make a comeback into the game despite having a first-innings deficit of 64 runs, but Gujarat-opener Samit Gohel struck a magnificent triple-century to dent Odisha's hopes.
Gohel has also created a world record by hitting an unbeaten 359 runs in the quarter-final match of the Ranji Trophy, which is the highest score by an opener in the history of first-class cricket. Gohel, in the process, faced 723 deliveries and struck 45 fours and one shot over the fence.
Earlier, in the high-voltage game in Vizag, Tamil Nadu, without the services of Murali Vijay and Ravichandran Ashwin, defeated a full-strength Karnataka side inside two days on a green track to march into the semi-final. In the match dominated by the pacers, Dinesh Karthik played crucial knocks in both innings of his 100th Ranji Trophy match. Both KL Rahul and Karun Nair failed to make any significant contribution, leaving Karnataka at a precarious position. Karnataka posted a minuscule target of 87 runs
Jharkhand earned their maiden appearance in the semi-finals of the Ranji Trophy with a win against Haryana. Shahbaz Nadeem played a key role in the team’s win claiming 11 wickets in the game and is the highest wicket-taker for the season for the second time in a row. While No.3 Virat Singh scored a crucial century in the first innings, former India under-19 skipper Ishan Kishan helped the team with a sparkling 61-ball 86 comprising of six sixes.
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