Khejroliya 'tricks in Delhi victory

Khejroliya 'tricks in Delhi victory

Gautam Gambhir en route to his century against Haryana in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

Left was simply right for Delhi on the day. If left-arm pacer Kulwant Khejroliya put them on path to victory with a six-wicket haul, including a hat-trick, southpaw Gautam Gambhir completed the task with a typically busy ton (104, 72b, 16x4) as Delhi made short work of Haryana’s 229 all out in 49.1 overs, replying with 230 for five with 64 balls to spare.

The five-wicket win means Delhi will take on Mumbai in a mouth-watering semifinal here on Wednesday.

Opting to bat first in ideal conditions, Haryana suffered a mini collapse with almost the full fourth quarter of play left in their innings to settle for a total less than they had threatened to score at one stage in their Vijay Hazare Trophy quarterfinal at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday.

Khejroliya’s early twin strikes and Navdeep Saini’s dismissal of Jayant Yadav (0) had left Haryana reeling at 37 for three but Chaitanya Bishnoi (85, 117b, 6x4, 2x6) and Pramod Chandila (59, 88b, 3x4, 1x6) resurrected the innings with a 140-run stand (173 balls) for the fourth wicket.

With just about 12 overs left in the innings and with two set batsmen at the crease, it was the right time for Haryana to step on the gas. Khejroliya, however, threw their innings into disarray with a hat-trick, claiming three from the last three balls of the 39th over. His figures of 6/31 were also the best List A returns for Khejroliya.

A miscued lofted drive resulted in the fall of Bishnoi, ending the most productive partnership of the match. Chandila was the next to go after the ball jagged back to rattle the timber. Losing two set batsmen in as many balls had already pegged Haryana back seriously but Khejroliya inflicted more damage, trapping handy batsman Amit Mishra in front to complete his hat-trick. From 177 for three Haryana slipped to 177 for six that dented their prospects of giving Delhi at least a challenging target. Haryana could muster only 52 runs in the next 10.1 overs.

Delhi got off to a brisk start with Gambhir and his opening partner Unmukt Chand raising 54 runs in just six overs before the latter was dismissed. That was the only success Haryana could enjoy for the next 21 overs with Gambhir totally dominating the association for the second wicket. The left-hander, who celebrated his 37th birthday by powering his team to semifinal, was severe on both the pacers and the spinners while bringing up his century in just 69 balls with the help of 15 fours. While he scored 50 runs off 41 deliveries from the spinners, 54 runs came off just 22 balls he faced from the pacemen.

It wasn’t until leg-break bowler Rahul Tewatia (3/32) -- who was strangely not brought on to attack earlier despite 11 wickets in the previous six matches -- that Haryana had another breakthrough which ended a 118-run association between Gambhir and Dhruv Shorey (50, 85b, 6x4) for the second wicket. As it often happens after a long innings, Delhi lost two more wickets in quick succession, but the first two partnerships had done enough damage for Haryana to even nurse the slimmest of hopes.          

Mumbai dump Bihar

The other quarterfinal at Just Cricket ground lasted less than the length of an innings’ play with favourites Mumbai ending Bihar’s dream run in clinical fashion.

After inserting Bihar, Mumbai shot out the minnows for 69 in 28.4 overs with medium pacer Tushar Deshpande claiming 5/23. He was ably supported by left-arm spinner Shams Mulani who picked three for 18.

Mumbai broke little sweat, rattling the required number of runs in just 12.3 overs. Rohit Sharma remained unbeaten on 33 as Mumbai came a step closer to the final.