Medium-pacer Ashith Rajiv returned with a four-wicket haul as Puducherry sailed past Assam by five wickets to seal a quarterfinal spot in the Vijay Hazare Trophy at Dehradun on Thursday.
Electing to field, Puducherry bowlers set the tone by reducing Assam to 92/5 in 27 overs before Rajiv (4/17) rattled the lower order to bundle them out for a paltry 115 runs in 36.1 overs.
In reply, Puducherry cantered home in 22 overs after overcoming some minor hiccups up front as they topped the table with 32 points to grab the solitary spot up for grab from the Plate Group.
Six points behind, Chandigarh and Uttarkhand finished second and third on net run-rate.
On a day veteran seamer Vinay Kumar looked off colour after being smashed for 30 runs from his six overs, off-spinner Suresh Kumar (2/19 from four overs) put the brakes by dismissing Assam opener Pallavkumar Das (27) and Parvez Aziz (two) in successive overs.
Captain Shibsankar Roy (24) and Gokul Sharma (19) tried to forge a partnership but their 43-run stand was broken by left-arm spinner Sagar Udeshi (2/20).
The skipper too followed suit in a space of seven balls after which Ashith wreaked havoc with his four-wicket burst to trigger Assam collapse.
Meanwhile, Manipur pacer Bishworjit Konthoujam claimed a hat-trick on way to a career-best seven for 54 but his brilliant effort went in vain as Nagaland bowlers held their nerves to defend 240 and script a thrilling five-run win at the Tanush Academy Ground.
At Abhimanyu Cricket Academy: Assam 115; 36.1 overs (Ashith Rajiv 4/17, Suresh Kumar 2/19, Sagar Udeshi 2/20). Puducherry 116/5; 22 overs (Paras Dogra 44; Pritam Das 2/39). Puducherry won by five wickets. Points: Puducherry 4, Assam 0.
At Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium: Uttarakhand 253/8; 50 overs (Tanmay Srivastava 102, Avneesh Sudha 78; Jaskaran Singh 4/44). Chandigarh 254/8; 49 overs (Uday Kaul 102, Gaurav Puri 45; Dhanraj Sharma 4/70). Chandigarh won by two wickets. Points: Chandigarh 4, Uttarakhand 0.
At Tanush Academy Ground: Nagaland 240; 48.2 overs (Yogesh Takawale 90, Stuart Binny 61; Bishworjit Konthoujam 7/54). Manipur 235/8; 50 overs (Al Bashid Muhammad 100, Johnson Singh 50; Imliwati Lemtur 2/41, Binny 2/47, Shrikant Mundhe 2/50). Nagaland won by five runs. Points: Nagaland 4, Manipur 0.
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