Chirag Gandhi’s heroic ton not enough for Gujarat

Chirag Gandhi’s heroic unbeaten maiden hundred went in vain as Gujarat narrowly missed out on what would have been a sensational victory over India-B, in the Deodhar Trophy at the Green Park here on Tuesday.

Unmukt scored his second consecutive half-century and forged two valuable partnerships of 52 and 47 runs with Iyer and Sachin Baby respectively to put India-B on course a competitive total.   -  Sandeep Saxena

Chirag Gandhi’s heroic unbeaten maiden hundred went in vain as Gujarat narrowly missed out on what would have been a sensational victory over India-B, in the Deodhar Trophy at the Green Park here on Tuesday.

Asked to bat first, India-B relied on Unmukt Chand’s half-century and Suryakumar Yadav and Stuart Binny’s cameos to post a challenging 280 for eight. They then restricted Gujarat to 273 for a seven-run victory and made it to Friday’s final after recording their second win in as many matches.

Gujarat missed the services of their captain Parthiv Patel, who is unwell, and all-rounder Axar Patel, who will join the squad Wednesday on his return from Australia. Notwithstanding the defeat, the Vijay Hazare Trophy champions gave India-B a tough fight.

Precarious situation

When Gandhi came in to bat at No. 6 at 125 for four in the 26th over, following a crucial 78-run stand between Manpreet Juneja (50) and Rujul Bhatt (45), the target was still a mountain to climb.

After Bhatt’s departure, Gandhi shouldered the responsibility and stitched together 49 runs off 50 balls with Rush Kalaria. Binny, who had earlier snared a well-set Priyank Panchal (27), ended the dangerous-looking partnership by scalping Kalaria in the 39th over.

Gandhi, a 25-year-old from Surat, joined hands with Mehul Patel (12) to add 36 runs. Even when Gujarat were reduced to 234 for nine, the gutsy right-hander did not lose hope and hammered the India ‘B’ bowlers at will to single-handedly take his team to the brink of victory. In the final over, he made a wrong choice and helplessly watched his side lose the contest.

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With Gujarat needing 15 off six, Gandhi hit Suryakumar for a six over square-leg and then took a single to complete his century off 77 deliveries. No.11 batsman Hardik Patel was run out off Shreyas Iyer’s throw while trying to give the strike back to Gandhi.

“Since Parthiv and Axar were not available and three players made their debuts, there was a lot of responsibility. I was confident that if we played till the end we could achieve it. Maybe I made a mistake by taking a single in the last over,” said a disappointed Gandhi.

In the morning, Unmukt scored his second consecutive half-century, studded with some splendid boundaries. The Delhi batsman forged two valuable partnerships of 52 and 47 runs with Iyer and Sachin Baby respectively to put India-B on course a competitive total.

Suryakumar (47) and Binny (41) boosted the side further with an 81-run partnership for the seventh wicket before Karn Sharma and Jayant Yadav did the finishing job well on a batsman-friendly track.