Ahmedabad, Nov 28 (IANS): Karnataka opener R Samarth slammed a match-winning half-century to help his side beat Punjab by four wickets in the first quarterfinal of Narendra Modi Stadium Ground 'A'.
They will now meet Saurashtra in the semifinal, who entered the last four stage on te back of Chirag Jani's all-round performance toppling Tamil Nadu by 44 runs at the GS Patel Stadium in Nadiad on Monday.
With the wins in quarterfinals, Karnataka and Saurashtra will now meet in the semifinals, touted to be a clash of the heavy-weights.
For Punjab, opener and all-rounder Abhishek Sharma hit a brilliant century, a 123-ball 109, laced with 12 fours and two sixes. He was the lone as rest of the recognised batters failed to fire, though Anmol Malhotra (29) and Sanvir Singh (39) did chip in with some handy contributions.
With the ball, Karnataka's right-arm fast-bowler Vidwath Kaverappa claimed 4/40 in his ten overs, while Ronit More took 2/48 in his ten overs. Koushik V, M S Bhandage and K Gowtham took a wicket apiece to bowl out Punjab for 235 in 50 overs.
In reply, Karnataka skipper Mayank Agarwal was out for just one run by Siddarth Kaul. But Samarth scored 71 off 106 balls, hitting five fours and added crucial partnerships of 51 and 58 with Nikin Jose (29) and Manish Pandey (35).
Shreyas Gopal was the next major contributor with the bat, making 42 off 52 balls and had a 43-run stand with Bhandage, who remained unbeaten on 25 off 23 balls. But it was Gowtham who sealed the deal with a six as Karnataka completed the chase in the final over.
In the other quarterfinal, Jani was the star for Saurashtra, hammering 52 not out off 31 deliveries and then claimed four wickets to send Tamil Nadu out of the tournament. Apart from him, Harvik Desai (78-ball 61) and Arpit Vasavada (49-ball 51) hit half-centuries, while Jay Gohil, Samarth Vyas, Prerak Mankad, and Jaydev Unadkat made contributions with the bat.
For Tamil Nadu, Sai Kishore and M Mohammed took two wickets each, while Sandeep Warrier, M Siddharth and B Aparajith had a wicket apiece. In the chase of 294, Tamil Nadu lost their in-form openers Sai Sudharsan and N Jagadeesan inside first seven overs and could never recover from that.
Aparajith and Dinesh Karthik, coming in for an injured Shahrukh Khan, failed to get a big score. Baba Indrajith (69-ball 53) and Sai Kishore (92-ball 74) put up some fight through a 113-run stand for Tamil Nadu. But after the duo fell, Tamil Nadu's resistance was falling and despite Sanjay Yadav and R Sonu Yadav getting a pair of 20s, they were bowled out for 249 in 48 overs.
Brief Scores: Punjab 235 all out in 50 overs (Abhishek Sharma 109, Sanvir Singh 39; Vidwath Kaverappa 4/40, Ronit More 2/48) lost to Karnataka 238/6 in 49.2 overs (R Samarth 71, Shreyas Gopal 42; Sanvir Singh 2/28) by four wickets
Saurashtra 293/8 in 50 overs (Harvik Desai 61, Chirag Jani 52 not out; R Sai Kishore 2/40, M Mohammed 2/49) beat Tamil Nadu 249 all out in 48 overs (R Sai Kishore 74, Baba Indrajith 53; Chirag Jani 4/53, Parth Bhut 2/47) by 44 runs