Lahli (Haryana): Kerala outplayed Haryana by an innings and 8 runs to enter the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals for the first time here on Tuesday.
Kerala shot out the hosts for 173 in their second innings to earn seven points, which included a bonus point for the innings win.
Kerala, led by Sachin Baby and coached by Australian Dav Whatmore, won five out of their six matches in the seven-team Group B to book their place in the last-eight stage of the country's premier domestic competition. They ended up second with 31 points behind defending champions Gujarat (34).
The runner-up finish in the Plate League (second tier) in 2007-08 was Kerala's best performance prior to this. They had also made it to the Super League stage of the main competition in 1996-97.
Harayana, who resumed on 83/5, were bowled out inside the first session on the fourth and final day.
Captain Amit Mishra top scored with 40, while Rajat Paliwal made 34 for the home side. Off-spinner Jalaj Saxena ended the 58-run stand between the two for the sixth wicket by dismissing Paliwal.
Soon medium-pacer M D Nidheesh sent back Mishra and Harshal Patel (1).
Though Poonish Mehta (32 not out) and Ajit Chahal (12) put on 27 for the ninth wicket, part-time bowler K B Arun Karthick provided the breakthrough by castling the latter.
Mehta and No. 11 Ashish Hooda (5) delayed the inevitable before Nidheesh accounted for Hooda to script a famous win for Kerala.
Saxena and Nidheesh claimed three wickets each.
The quarterfinals will be played from December 7.
Brief scores: Haryana 208 and 173 in 78.3 overs (Amit Mishra 40; M D Nidheesh 3/27, Jalaj Saxena 3/37) lost to Kerala 389 in 129.3 overs.
Points: Haryana 0; Kerala 7.