Six teams have qualified for the quarter-finals of Vijay Hazare Trophy, with four teams from Elite Group C still vying for the two remaining places.
From the 18 teams that were jostling for five spots from Elite groups A and B, Mumbai led the way, followed by Delhi, Maharashtra, Andhra and Hyderabad. Except Mumbai, who were already through with 28 points, and Hyderabad, who had played all their matches, accumulating 22 points, and had their fate hinging on other results, the other three teams went into the last day with 22 points each.
Among them Delhi had the best net run rate, which meant that even if they lost to Chhattisgarh in their final encounter, they were likely to pip Hyderabad and Maharashtra – had the latter lost the virtual shootout to Baroda who would have then moved to 24 points, leaving Hyderabad and themselves tied on 22.
But both Delhi and Maharashtra won, ensuring not only their but also Hyderabad’s entry into the quarter-finals. Hyderabad’s qualification was also helped by the abandonment of two Punjab matches. Punjab, who were unfortunate to finish with 20 points as a result, looked set to win at least one of them against Goa where they had posted 359 before rain washed the possibility away. Andhra, too, beat Madhya Pradesh by seven wickets to finish on 26 points and qualify.
In the plate group, Bihar and Uttarakhand were the dominant teams. Both won seven of their eight matches, but eventually Bihar’s five-wicket win over Uttarakhand earlier in the tournament proved decisive, as they, with the help of a washout, finished with 30 points, two more than Uttarakhand’s 28.
In group C, four of the ten teams are in contention for the two remaining spots. Jharkhand are best placed with 28 points and a game in hand, followed by Haryana on 24 points with one match remaining and Services, who are on 22 points, with two matches left. Tamil Nadu, with 20 points and one match left, could make a back-door entry, provided they win their final match by a big margin and other results go their way.
Jharkhand will top the group if they win. They can still finish in the top two if they lose. They will be ousted only if Services beat them in addition to winning their second match against Rajasthan, and Haryana beat Tamil Nadu. That will put Services on 30 points, leaving Haryana tied with Jharkhand on 28 points – and Haryana currently have the better net run-rate.
Haryana will finish in the top two if they beat Tamil Nadu, regardless of other results, given their superior NRR. Services will top the group if they win both matches. If they win only one match, they will need Haryana to lose to Tamil Nadu to finish in the top two. A win for Tamil Nadu will tie them with Haryana on 24 points but the margin of victory would have to be large for them to be able to overtake Haryana’s NRR. Furthermore, they also need Services to lose both their matches to have a shot at qualifying.