Rajasthan players celebrate after winning the Ranji Trophy semifinal match against Haryana in Lahli, Rohtak on Thursday. (PTI)
Rohtak: Fast bowler Rituraj Singh returned with a five-wicket haul to help Rajasthan notch up a 64-run victory over Haryana and enter into their second consecutive Ranji Trophy final at the Bansi Lal stadium on Thursday.
Only in his third first-class game, Rituraj finished as the highest wicket-taker for Rajasthan in the innings, claiming five for 37 to skittle out Haryana for 120 in their second essay in Lahli here. Rituraj, who took a total of 12 wickets for 82 runs in this semifinal game, claimed the wickets of Harshal Patel (1), Prateek Pawar (6) and tail-enders Jayant Yadav (5) and Mohit Sharma (20) in Haryana's second innings. He had also dismissed opener Rahul Dewan on Wednesday.
Resuming at 15 for two, still needing 170 to win, Haryana's second innings folded just an hour after lunch with Rituraj dismissing Mohit. Sachin Rana, who was the highest scorer for Haryana with 25 runs, tried to provide some resistance but once he was dismissed just before lunch with the scoreboard reading 88 for seven, it was all but over for the hosts.
Starting the day under bright sunny conditions, Haryana could add only five more runs to their overnight score of 15 before losing nightwatchman Harshal Patel (1). Rana, who was the most impressive of Haryana's batsmen in the second innings, applied himself and tried to keep the scoreboard ticking along with opener Nitin Saini (23).
At Rohtak: Rajasthan 89 in 36.1 overs and 192 in 68.5 overs beat Haryana 97 in 47.5 overs and 120 in 48.5 overs (Sachin Rana 25, Nitin Saini 23; Rituraj Singh 5/37, Pankaj Singh 4/48) by 64 runs.
Vijay ton powers TN to big lead
In the other semifinal in Mumbai, India discard Murali Vijay struck his first century of the season as Tamil Nadu took a huge first innings lead over Mumbai and then more than doubled it by stumps on day three of their four-day Ranji Trophy tie on Thursday.
By close, the visiting team - who packed off the last four Mumbai batsmen in short shrift in the first session to take a 202-run lead - were ahead by 422 runs after making 220 for four with opener Vijay unconquered on 103, his ninth first class hundred, at the Wankhede Stadium.
The slim chance Mumbai had after conceding the first innings lead in the morning, by being bowled out for a paltry 157 when replying to TN's 359, were to dismiss Tamil Nadu cheaply in the second essay and go for an outright victory. Though TN lost three wickets in 12 overs later in moving to 134, Vijay and K Sri (36 in 138 minutes) batted in a sedate fashion and lasted as a pair till the last few overs when the left handed Vasudevadas departed. By then the visitors' lead was in excess of 400.
In the morning, Mumbai resumed at 121 for six and lost the remaining four wickets in 68 minutes to concede the lead.
At Mumbai: Tamil Nadu 359 in 136.1 overs and 220/4 in 70 overs (Murali Vijay batting 103, Abhinav Mukund 42; Kshemal Waingankar 2-43) vs Mumbai 157 in 51 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 52, Hiken Shah 21; Laxmipathy Balaji 4-28, Yo Mahesh 3-63, Jagannathan Kaushik 2-34).