CHANDIGARH: Fresh from a couple of resounding victories against established outfits like Haryana and Bengal, Chandigarh rode on
’s all-round effort to register their
third consecutive victory
Vijay Hazare Trophy
, after edging past the Services by 5 runs in a Group E tie in Kolkata on Thursday.
Coming in at No 9, Gaurav slammed a quickfire 47-ball unbeaten 44 to help Chandigarh reach a respectable 224 for 8 at the end of their 50 overs, before stifling the opposition with magical figures of 4/51 from his 9 overs and restricting them to 219 in 49.4 overs.
Earlier after being asked to bat, Chandigarh encountered a rare off-day from the top order, which finally allowed them to test their middle and lower order batting. Opener Arslan Khan got the team to a brisk start of 22 runs in 2 overs, before skipper Manan Vohra (10) was dismissed.
Manan’s departure brought in the in-form
, the architect of the previous match’s win over Bengal. Bhambri and Khan began the rescue work with ease, adding 59 runs for the second wicket before the left-handed opener was dismissed by
for a 48-ball 44, laced with six hits to the fence. Bhambri soon fell to the same bowler, after adding 16 runs to the total with new man Uday Kaul. His knock of 32 came off 66 balls, and contained three boundaries.
Meanwhile, Uday took some time to settle in but the left-hander was instrumental in stitching a crucial 35-run fourth wicket partnership with Ankit Kaushik (22 off 34 balls, 4X2), before the Services bowlers triggered a mini collapse of sorts that witnessed Chandigarh lose four wickets in a span of just 15 runs.
Reduced to 147/7 at the end of the 36th over, the onus was on the lower order to guide the team to some sort of respectability. All-rounders Gurinder Singh and Gaurav Gambhir decided to take the attack to the opposition and reaped rich dividends, as the duo fetched a 63-run 8th wicket stand to propel Chandigarh past the 200-run mark.
While Gurinder fired a 42-ball 30, laced with a four and a six, Gambhir ended on 44 not out, courtesy five hits to the fence.
For the Services side, Trivendra Kumar and Rahul Singh picked a couple of wickets each, while Diwesh Pathania, Varun Choudhary and Pulkit Narang chipped in with a wicket apiece.
In reply, Services recovered from an early jolt of opener Nakul Verma’s wicket, with a fruitful 105-run second wicket stand between half centurions Ravi Chauhan and Mohit Ahlawat. The duo struck contrasting fifties, with Ravi scoring 57 off 71, laced with seven fours and a six, while Mohit got a brisk 73-ball 69, powered by six boundaries and three massive hits out of the park.
At one point, their partnership threatened to take the game away from the grips of the Chandigarh boys, before Gambhir applied the brakes by removing them in a span of two overs. There was no looking back for the UT side, as Services started losing wickets in heaps, and barring skipper Rajat Paliwal (16), Pulkit Narang (27), and Varun Choudhary (19), none of the other batsmen had a reply to Chandigarh’s disciplined bowling.
Besides Gambhir’s four-wicket burst, Raman Bishnoi chipped in with a couple of wickets, while Jagjit Singh Sandhu, Bipul Sharma and Mandeep Singh picked one apiece.
Chandigarh 224/8 in 50 overs: Arslan Khan 44, Gaurav Gambhir 44 not out, Shivam Bhambri 32, Uday Kaul 28; Rahul Singh 2/28
S ervices 219 all out in 49.4 overs: Mohit Ahlawat 69, Ravi Chauhan 57; Gaurav Gamnhir 4/51, Raman Bishnoi 2/29