Washington: Donald Trump crushed his Republican opponents in Pennsylvania, Maryland and three other US states, a sweep that put him considerably closer to capturing the party’s presidential nomination outright, while Hillary Clinton won Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware, the media reported. Trump was widely expected to dominate the primaries and his margins of victory on Tuesday intensified the aura of inevitability around his bid to lead the Republicans and created urgent new challenges for his rivals, the New York Times reported. More significant, they increased his chances of avoiding a fight on the floor of the party’s convention in July and of claiming the nomination on the delegates’ first ballot. The other Republican candidates, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and John Kasich of Ohio, fared so poorly on Tuesday that they were likely to lose most of the 118 bound delegates up for grabs across the Northeast. Rhode Island, Connecticut and Delaware also went for Trump. Cruz is now under intense pressure to beat Trump in Indiana’s primary next week, perhaps the last real chance the stop-Trump forces have to halt his march to the nomination. He and Kasich forged an alliance to stop Trump in Indiana, but it already appears strained. Even before polls closed in the East on Tuesday night, Cruz tried to pre-empt the rush of coverage about Trump’s dominance.