Haryana and Jharkhand grabbed the final two quarter-final spots in the Vijay Hazare Trophy on Tuesday. Four teams from group C were in contention for two remaining spots, but Haryana's victory over Tamil Nadu and Services' loss to Rajasthan render the last three matches redundant and mean that Haryana and Jharkhand would progress to the quarter-finals. What remains to be seen is which one of them tops their group. Both teams are tied on 28 points and Haryana have the better net run rate, while Jharkhand still have a match in hand.
Tamil Nadu, on 20 points, needed to beat Haryana by a big margin and other results to go their way to remain in the race, but a 77-run loss eliminated them. That result also made the equation clear for Services, who then needed to win both their matches - against Rajasthan and Jharkhand - to qualify. But they suffered a seven-wicket loss to Rajasthan, leaving them on 22 points and leading to their exit, albeit with a match in hand. Even if they beat Jharkhand in their final encounter, they will reach 26 points, which won't be enough against the 28 of Jharkhand and Haryana.
From the 18 teams that were jostling for five spots from Elite groups A and B, Mumbai led the way, followed by Delhi, Maharashtra, Andhra and Hyderabad. Except Mumbai, who were already through with 28 points, and Hyderabad, who had played all their matches, accumulating 22 points, and had their fate hinging on other results, the other three teams went into the last day with 22 points each.
Among them Delhi had the best net run rate, which meant that even if they lost to Chhattisgarh in their final encounter, they were likely to pip Hyderabad and Maharashtra - had the latter lost the virtual shootout to Baroda who would have then moved to 24 points, leaving Hyderabad and themselves tied on 22.
But both Delhi and Maharashtra won, ensuring not only their but also Hyderabad's entry into the quarter-finals. Hyderabad's qualification was also helped by the abandonment of two Punjab matches. Punjab, who were unfortunate to finish with 20 points as a result, looked set to win at least one of them against Goa where they had posted 359 before rain washed the possibility away. Andhra, too, beat Madhya Pradesh by seven wickets to finish on 26 points and qualify.
In the plate group, Bihar and Uttarakhand were the dominant teams. Both won seven of their eight matches, but eventually Bihar's five-wicket win over Uttarakhand earlier in the tournament proved decisive, as they, with the help of a washout, finished with 30 points, two more than Uttarakhand's 28.