North Zone T20: Easy win for Delhi

Having restricted J&K to just 103 after deciding to field first, Delhi was never in trouble.

Unmukt Chand guided Delhi to victory againt J&K with an unbeaten 49.

It wasn't exactly a fireworks show but Unmukt Chand made sure the 100-odd spectators at the HPCA Stadium here were entertained enough during his unbeaten 49 run knock that saw Delhi cruise past Jammu & Kashmir for an eight-wicket win in just 16.2 overs in its opening game of the North Zone T20 league here on Sunday.

Having restricted J&K to just 103 after deciding to field first, Delhi was never in trouble, despite losing Gautam Gambhir early. Gambhir was dismissed for one, caught behind, trying to cut Umar Nazir in the second over. But Shikhar Dhawan and Unmukt farmed the strike and struck boundaries at will, toying with the J&K attack.

Dhawan, struggling with his form and looking to reclaim his spot in the national side, was the more tentative of the two starting off, but appeared to get comfortable as the innings progressed. Unmukt, on the other hand, was on the attack, opening up his arms with the innings' first six over midwicket region in the eight over to welcome spinner Waseem Raza.

With the target hardly challenging, the two took their time mixing singles and doubles with fours and sixes to keep the run-rate ticking nicely along. Once Dhawan was gone, his leg stump uprooted by a ball that slipped through bat and pad for 30, Unmukt sped up the scoring rate a notch in the company of Nitish Rana, clobbering fours and sixes all around the ground before ending it with a nonchalant four over midwicket for the winning runs.

Earlier, a combination of some tight bowling and disciplined fielding by Delhi meant J&K had to struggle and earn every run, which wasn't much. Youngsters Shubham Khajuria and Pranav Gupta tried to stitch together a partnership but the former was unlucky to be out hit-wicket for 26, trying to fend off a rising delivery from Manan Sharma. The 21-year old looked assured in his stay but once he was gone, Gupta had little support form the other end. Former Delhi captain Mithun Manhas and Jatin Wadhwan managed to get a couple of big hits before perishing, unable to handle the pace and swing of Ishant Sharma and Navdeep Saini from either end. Sharma, while going wicketless, gave away just five runs in his three overs.

The day's other match here, between host Himachal and Services, saw the latter win by four wickets with one ball to spare, riding on a dominant, unbeaten 47 by Amit Pachhara. Starting an hour late due to a combination of poor visibility and patches of wet outfield, the game was reduced to 15 overs each with swathes of the ground covered in sawdust to make it playable. Chasing 129, Pachhara and Diwesh Pathania took the match into the last over and, with four runs needed in two balls, the former struck a powerful straight six into the stands just above the sightscreen to seal the matter.

At Amtar, Haryana's top-order ensured a 47-run victory against Punjab in a game that saw the last five batsmen of both teams failing to reach double digits. A 73-run second-wicket partnership between Rajat Paliwal and Shubham Rohilla was the highlight of the innings, Paliwal top-scoring with 44. Between them, Paliwal, Rohilla and Shivam Chauhan accounted for 122 of the 153 runs Haryana scored after being put in to bat. In reply, Manan Vohra and Jaskaran Sohi were the only batsmen to offer any kind of resistance, managing to cross the 20-run mark and adding 45 runs for the second wicket. Seven of the batsmen fell for single digit scores as Punjab folded up for 106 in 18.5 overs.

The scores:

J&K 103 for six in 20 overs (Shubham Khajuria 26, Pranav Gupta 24; Manan Sharma two for 13) lost to Delhi 106 for two in 16.2 overs (Unmukt Chand 49 not out, Shikhar Dhawan 30) by eight wickets. Points: Delhi 4, J&K 0.

Himachal 128 for five in 15 overs (Rishi Dhawan not out 37, Amit Kumar 34, Ankush Bains 24; Diwesh Pathania two for 10, Sumit Singh two for 25) lost to Services 131 for six in 14.5 overs (Amit Pachhara 47; Pankaj Jaswal three for 33) by four wickets. Points: Services 4, Himachal 0.

Haryana 153 for seven in 20 overs (Rajat Paliwal 44, Shivam Chauhan 41, Shubham Rohilla 37; Sandeep Sharma two for 35, Manpreet Grewal two for 29) beat Punjab 106 (Jaskaran Sohi 27, Manan Vohra 24; Sanjay Pahal three for eight, Joginder Sharma two for 20, Rahul Tewatia two for 13) by 47 runs. Points: Haryana 4, Punjab 0.

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