Unmukt powers Delhi home

Cricket Vijay Hazare Trophy : Right-hander slams unbeaten 80 as Gambhir's men crush HP to enter final

Unmukt powers Delhi home

 The fine run of their bowlers and Unmukt Chand’s sparkling form with the bat combined to take Delhi into their second Vijay Hazare Trophy final, following their convincing six-wic­ket victory against Himachal Pradesh in their semifinal here at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday. 

It was a game where everything went right for the Gautam-Gambhir led side. Gambhir’s decision to put Himachal into bat was spot on as his bowlers did a splendid job to restrict Himachal for 200 for nine in the stipulated 50 overs. As it has been the case for them in the past, it was the collective effort from their bowlers that kept Delhi in control of their opposition throughout the innings.

Delhi cruised to the target in 41.1 overs, thanks to a scintillating unbeaten 80 from Unmukt. Delhi face Gujarat in the title clash on Monday. Gujarat pulled off an inspiring 31-run win over Tamil Nadu in the other last four clash here at the Alur (1) ground on Saturday. 

While Subodh Bhati (2/36), Pawan Negi (2/36) and Nitesh Rana (2/16) bowled in tandem in the middle overs to pick wickets at regular intervals, pacemen Navdeep Saini (1/33) and Ishant Sharma (1/35) were instrumental in applying the pressure early on by not providing any free scoring opportunities.

Himachal’s painstakingly slow innings gained some momentum when skipper Bipul Sharma (51) scripted a gutsy half-century which was marked by some clean hitting and good running between the wickets. When most of his team members failed to pace their innings, Bipul was in his elements right from the start. Walking in at the 31st over with his team’s score reading 98 for four, Bipul was left wanting for more support as wickets kept tumbling at the other end. At 131 for seven, with 11.4 overs to go, Mayank Dagar joined forces with Bipul to forge an alliance of 57 runs.

Bipul’s knock included four fours and three sixes and his dominance of Saini in the 41st over, when he slammed two back-to-back fours, was a fine example of timing and execution.

Delhi weren’t troubled much in their run-chase. Despite the early loss of opener Rishabh Pant (18) in the eighth over, valuable partnerships along with Unmukt’s solid knock took them over the line with ease.

Starting with a classy straight drive, Unmukt remained positive in his approach and looked in complete control. The 22-year-old sent the spinners to the cleaners, fetching boundaries off his slog sweeps. With a lowly total to achieved, Unmukt’s 59-run partnership with southpaw Shikhar Dhawan (39) took the match away from Himachal. Though Himachal picked a couple of important wickets in the form of Shikhar and Gambhir (16), the match had already slipped out of their hands.

Slamming seven fours and two sixes, Unmukt struck his second half-century of the tournament and his match-winning innings rightly earned him the man-of-the-match award.

score board

HIMACHAL PRADESH: Ankush Bains (run out) 6 (19b, 1x4), Prashant Cho­pra c Negi b Bhati 33 (69b, 2x4, 1x6), Robin Bist c Pant b Saini 6 (13b, 1x4), Paras Dogra c Chand b Negi 28 (65b, 2x4), Rishi Dhawan b Negi 9 (21b), Bipul Sharma c Chand b Ishant 51 (45b, 4x4, 3x6), Nikhil Gangta c Isha­nt b Rana 13 (22b, 1x4), SL Verma st Pant b Rana 2 (9b), Mayank Dagar c Negi b Bhati 21 (33b), Pankaj Jaswal (not out) 7 (4b, 1x6). Extras (B-1, LB-10, W-13) 24. Total (for 9 wkts, 50 overs) 200.

Fall of wickets: 1-19 (Bains), 2-32 (Bist), 3-77 (Chopra), 4-98 (Dhawan), 5-103 (Dogra), 6-128 (Gangta), 7-131 (Verma), 8-188 (Dagar), 9-200 (Bipul).

Bowling: Navdeep Saini 10-1-33-1 (w-4), Ishant Sharma 10-3-35-1 (w-3), Subodh Bhati 10-1-36-2, Manan Sharma 10-2-33-0 (w-2), Pawan Negi 6-0-36-2 (w-1), N Rana 4-0-16-2.
DELHI: Rishabh Pant c Dagar b More 18 (28b, 3x4), Shikhar Dhawan b Sharma 39 (53b, 5x4), Unmukt Chand (not out) 80 (86b, 7x4, 2x6), Gautam Gambhir lbw Gangta 16 (29b, 1x4), Milind (run out) 10 (12b, 1x4), Nitish Rana (not out) 19 (39b, 1x4). Extras (B-4, LB-2, W-13) 19. Total (for 4 wkts, 41.1 overs) 201.

Fall of wickets: 1-32 (Pant), 2-93 (Dhawan), 3-124 (Gambhir), 4-146 (Milind).
Bowling: Rishi Dhawan 6-0-27-0 (w-4), Ronit More 5-0-34-1 (w-2), Pankaj Jaswal 8-0-36-0, Bipul Sharma 8-0-25-1, Mayank Dagar 9-0-42-0 (w-1), Nikhil Gangta 3-0-14-1 (w-2), Sumeet Verma 2.1-0-17-0.

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