New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh's wicketkeeper-batsman Ekalavya Dwivedi blasted his way to an unbeaten century as he got his team out of the woods by saving the relegation en route their seven wicket win against Railways in a Ranji Trophy cricket match, here on Monday.
UP finished their league engagements with 15 points, to be ahead of Bengal who ended their campaign on 13 points.
Jammu and Kashmir got relegated ending with 12 points from eight games. Railways, who could have qualified with an outright win finished on 16 points and stayed at the mid-table.
Chasing a target of 243, UP achieved the target in 74.4 overs as Ekalavya smashed his way to an unbeaten 102 off 73 balls that had 15 fours and three big sixes. He completed his century with a huge straight six off left-arm spinner Ashish Yadav.
Along with Umang Sharma (35 batting), who dropped anchor at one end, Ekalavya added 136 runs for the unbroken fourth wicket stand.
He was dropped early in his innings by Amit Paunikar at first slip off Arnab Nandi's bowling but there was no stopping after that as he punished the seamers as well as spinners with equal disdain.
Dwivedi, someone whose shoddy work behind the stumps have come in for a lot of flak over the years, scored his third first-class century at a time, when the team needed it most.
He played the cut shot against spinners as well as charged down the track on occasions. Against pacers, he just stood his ground and mostly hit through the line.
There was lack of imagination in newly-appointed skipper Karn Sharma's tactics and some of the field placings were inexplicable.
Brief Scores: Railways 345 and 189.
Uttar Pradesh 292 and 246/3 (Ekalavya Dwivedi 102 no, Tanmay Srivastava 53, Himashu Asnora 42, Umang Sharma 35 batting). Points: UP 6; Railways 0.