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, India’s domestic 50-over tournament, in Shimoga 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 grabs from the Plate Group.
Six points behind, Chandigarh and Uttarkhand finished second and third on net run-rate.
On a day veteran all-rounder Vinay Kumar looked offcolour 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...