Mumbai, Feb 19: Seasoned Tamil Nadu cricketers Dinesh Karthik and Laxmipathy Balaji played lead roles in India Cements' exciting 10-run victory over State Bank of Mysore (SBM) that earned them a smooth passage into the semifinals of the 50-over BCCI Corporate Trophy on Tuesday (February 18).
Captain Karthik, who batted at number seven after even Balaji, rescued his team with a blistering 108 off only 88 balls, embellished with five sixes and eight fours, as India Cements recovered from a precarious 98 for 5 to 298 all out, with useful contributions coming from Abhinav Mukund (45), Baba Aparajith (41) and V Yomahesh (33) in the Group D match.
Medium pacer Chetan Williams returned with splendid bowling figures of 6/28 for SBM at the Wankhede Stadium here.
Later, SBM were cruising smoothly towards the target as they were 278 for 6 with 18 balls remaining, before Balaji turned the tables, claiming a couple of wickets in the last two overs to stop SBM at 288 in 49.4 overs.
The former Test pacer bagged the key wicket of big-hitting Anirudh Joshi (76 off 58 balls with 4 sixes and 3 fours) to break the seventh wicket stand between him and Sasi Kumar (29 off 30 balls), who also departed in the same over.
Balaji added two more scalps to end up with superb figures of 5 for 40. He was well supported by Yomahesh, who too, bowled a good last couple of overs to keep SBM under check and finished with 2 for 39.
The early damage was done by P Amarnath (3 for 61). This was the cement company's third win on the trot and earned them a semi-final clash against Comptroller and Auditor General, who qualified for the last four by topping Group B held in Nagpur.
The India Cements-CAG semi-final match will be held at the MCA's BKC Ground here on February 20.
The other semi-final, to be held at Motera Ground in Ahmedabad, will pit defending champions Chemplast, who topped Group A with an all-win record at Ahmedabad, against Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) - who topped Group C held at Vadodara.
In the other Group D game held at the BKC Ground, Food Corporation of India eked out a three-wicket victory with 39 balls to spare over their more fancied rivals Air India.
FCI restricted AI to 238 for 9 and then overhauled the target by riding on Nitin Saini's 103 off 96 balls to notch up their second win in the group.
Sachin Rana's powerful 72 off 59 balls with eight fours and three sixes rallied the airlines from 167 for 8 in the 41st over.
India Cements 298 (A Mukund 45, B Aparajith 41, D Karthik 108; Chetan Williams 6 for 28, H S Sharath 2 for 69) beat State Bank of Mysore 288 (M K Abbas 60, P Deshpande 60, A Joshi 75; L Balaji 5 for 40, P Amarnath 3 for 61, V Yomahesh 2 for 39)
Air India 238 for 9 (S Marathe 52, M Kaif 57, S Rana 72; R Dhawan 2 for 48, J Khan 2 for 46, V Choudhary 3 for 43) lost to Food Corporation of India 241 for 7 (N Saini 103; Sonu Sharma 3 for 44).