New Delhi: Openers Akash Verma and Rameez Nemat hit aggressive half centuries and shared 151 runs between them as Jharkhand chased down 218 to beat Services by five wickets and qualify for the quarterfinals of the Ranji Trophy on a nervy final day here on Tuesday.
Despite the loss, Services also made it to the quarters as they emerged Group C toppers with 26 points while Jharkhand ended their league engagements on 24 points.
Andhra Pradesh, who also ended their league matches on 24 points, were knocked out as Jharkhand have more number of outright wins (three to just one for Andhra). Andhra`s match against Kerala at Cuddapah ended in a draw with the former collecting three points by virtue of their first-innings lead.
Both Jharkhand and Andhra went through some tense moments today as one of them was to make it to the knock-out stage as Services had already qualified irrespective of the result.
Andhra, on 21 points before this match, did not have a chance to enforce a win and they knew that they would not get more than three points. Their fate depended on the Jharkhand-Services match.
Jharkhand`s loss would have made Andhra through to the quarters and the morning fog in Delhi and subsequent delay in the start of the day`s proceedings gave them a slight hope, which, however, was dashed later as Jharkhand chased down the target by scoring 219 for five.
Verma (72, 119 balls) and Nemat (86, 129 balls) set up the win for Jharkhand with a stand of 151 in 37 overs. Verma (overnight 15) and Nemat (overnight 20) batted aggressively to score more than four runs an over.
After the dismissal of the duo, Jharkhand struggled for a while before Ishant Jaggi (28 not out) took his side home.
Nishan Singh was the lone successful bowler for Services with three for 70 runs.
Brief Scores: Services: 185 and 152
Jharkhand: 120 and 219 for 5 in 51.4 overs (Akash Verma 72, Rameez Nemat 86; Nishan Singh 3/70).