Hyderabad: Kerala stunned group toppers Bengal by eight wickets to storm into the pre-quarterfinals of the Under-25 State A Trophy here on Friday.
Kerala's win coupled with Himachal Pradesh's loss at the hands of Uttarakhand lifted them to second spot in Elite Group D with 14 points from five matches. Bengal, who suffered their first defeat, are through to the quarterfinals by virtue of having topped the group with 16 points.
Kerala will take on Gujarat in the pre-quarterfinals to be played at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on December 3.
Chasing 234, Kerala openers Krishna Prasad (55) and Vishnu Mohan (22) added 81 inside 13 overs. Though the two fell in the same over, captain Salman Nizar (68 not out) and Ashwin Anand (83 not out) took Kerala past the target with an unbeaten third wicket stand of 155 off 34.3 overs.
Earlier, pacer Basil N P (3/47) helped Kerala restrict Bengal to 233/8 after Salman opted to bowl. Bengal captain Kazi Junaid Saifi top-scored with 57, while useful contributions from Vikas (49) and Akash Ghatak (36) took them to a modest total.
Brief scores: Bengal 233/8 in 50 overs (Kazi Junaid Saifi 57, Vikas 49; Basil N P 3/47) lost to Kerala 236/2 in 47.1 overs (Ashwin Anand 83 not out, Salman Nizar 68 not out, Krishna Prasad 55).
Points: Kerala 4; Bengal 0.