Ranji Trophy: Desai century; Pujara, Jackson fifties take Saurashtra to semis
Harvik Desai scored 84 and 116 in the match. (Saurashtra Cricket Twiiter)

Harvik Desai bettered his first-innings score of 84 with a century in the second, and along with unbeaten half-centuries from Cheteshwar Pujara and Sheldon Jackson starred in Saurashtra’s successful chase of 373 against Uttar Pradesh. Saurashtra beat Vidarbha by six wickets to become the fourth and final team to qualify for the semi-finals of the 2018-2019 Ranji Trophy.

Resuming their innings at 195 for 2, Desai, 19, struck his maiden First-Class century off 226 balls which included 15 boundaries before Saurabh Kumar dismissed him for 116. Yash Dayal had earlier removed Kamlesh Makhwana cheaply which meant that Pujara and Jackson came together with 144 more needed to win.

Pujara and Jackson bided their time playing out a crucial period of play. With UP skipper Akshdeep Nath rotating his bowlers, Pujara and Jackson stitched a crucial 50-run stand to bring the target to under 100. At lunch, Saurashtra were 74 away from victory. Batting solidly, Pujara and Jackson brought up their respective half-centuries, getting Saurashtra closer to the target.

Eyes set, both batsmen started scoring runs freely and the partnership exceeded 100. Pujara hit the winning runs and remained unbeaten on 67 with nine boundaries; Jackson 73 not out with 11 fours and a six, to take Saurashtra into the final four, where they join Karnataka, Kerala and Vidarbha.

Saurashtra will take on Karnataka, whereas Kerala will face defending champions Vidarbha in the two semi-finals.