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Corporate Cup: India Cements thrash Air India to inch closer to semis

Mumbai: India Cements took a step closer to qualifying for the semi-finals of the 50-over BCCI Corporate Trophy when they crushed strong rivals Air India by seven wickets in their second round Group D encounter at the MCA's BKC Ground here today.

In another second round Group D game, Food Corporation of India (FCI) kept their semi-final hopes alive by defeating State Bank of Mysore (SBM) by four wickets with 14 balls to spare with Rishi Dhawan playing an all-round role for the winners. India Cements, made up of a number of Tamil Nadu Ranji Trophy players, chased down AI's 272 for 8 - built mainly on Yuvraj Singh's pulverising 76-ball 79 studded with three sixes and eight fours - on the back of a fine unbeaten century by left-handed opener Abhinav Mukund (133 off 139 balls with 2 sixes and 6 fours).

Dinesh Karthik made unbeaten 41 for India Cements. Left-arm spinner Rahil Shah was among the wickets for the second match running, taking 4 for 68 to help India Cements restrict Air India to a total below 300 mark as Yuvraj threatened to score a second century on the trot after making 105 against SBM yesterday at the Wankhede Stadium. The stylish southpaw was caught behind off Yo Mahesh (2/62).

The other notable AI scorer was Sachin Rana, who made a quickfire 28-ball unbeaten 52 laced with five sixes and two fours. In the other game at Wankhede, FCI, who went down by 91 runs to India Cements yesterday at BKC Ground, restricted SBM, who are out of contention for a berth in the last four by slumping to their second defeat in as many games, to 272 for eight and then reached the target by making 273 for six in 47.4 overs.

Half-centuries from Pavan Deshpande (59 off 76 balls) and skipper Balchandra Akhil (63 off 81 balls) and their stand of 123 for the third wicket propped up the bankmen after they lost openers K C Avinash and Chetan Williams with only 18 on the board. But the rest of the batsmen, barring S Aravind (40 not out), failed miserably and SBM ended up with a score well below what they looked for as medium pacer Dhawan picked up three for 57.

In reply, FCI were off to a reasonably good start to be 149 for 4 by the 32nd over, thanks to opener Nitin Saini's 77-ball 65 and his half century stand for the fourth wicket with Umang Sharma (41) before they suffered a wobble. There was a brief period of dominance by SBM, who reduced their rivals to 187 for six before an attacking knock of 62 not out off only 32 balls with ten fours and a six by Dhawan and his unconquered partnership of 86 runs with Rajindra Bisht (20 not out) took FCI past the finish line.

Tomorrow India Cements will take on SBM at the Wankhede Stadium and a victory would put them in the last four while FCI clash with AI at the BKC Ground. Brief scores: State Bank of Mysore 272 for 8 (Pavan Deshpande 59, B Akhil 63, S Aravind not out 40; R Dhawan 3 for 57, R Bisht 2 for 45) lost to Food Corporation of India 273 for 6 (N Saini 65, U Sharma 41, R Dhawan not out 62, R Bisht not out 20; C Williams 2 for 35). Air India 272 for 8 (Yuvraj Singh 79, S Rana 52 not out; Rahil Shah 4 for 68, V Yo Mahesh 2 for 62) lost to India Cements 276 for 3 (A Mukund not out 133, D Karthik not out 41; Sonu Sharma 2 for 55).

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