Thuthipet: Kerala failed to qualify for the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals after playing out a draw with Pondicherry in their final Elite Group C match at the Siechem Stadium here on Friday.
Needing an outright win to progress after conceding the first innings lead, Kerala were kept at bay by the Pondicherry batsmen on the fourth and final day.
Opener Jay Pande hit an unbeaten 102, while first innings centurion Paras Dogra made 55. Krishna Pandey too was among the runs as he scored 94.
Pondicherry had reached 279/5, an overall lead of 364, when the game was drawn in the final session after M D Nidheesh sent back Krishna.
Jharkhand, who finished with 23 points from seven matches, qualified for the knockout stage as the second team behind Karnataka (35). Kerala came third with 21 points followed by Rajasthan (20).
Resuming on 34/1, Dogra and Pande added 84 more on the day. The two were involved in a 110-run stand for the second wicket.
Dogra was trapped in front of the wicket by left-arm medium-pacer Visweshwar Suresh. The veteran hit four fours in his 115-ball knock.
Though Akash Kargave (12) and skipper D Rohit (1) fell cheaply to Suresh, Pande and Kishna shut the door on Kerala with a 122-run partnership for the fifth wicket.
Karnataka will take on Uttarakhand in the quarterfinals, while Jharkhand meet Bengal.
Brief scores: Pondicherry 371 and 279/5 in 74.3 overs (Jay Pande 102 not out, Krishna Pandey 94, Paras Dogra 55; Visweshwar Suresh 3/58) drew with Kerala 286.
Points: Pondicherry 3; Kerala 1.