Vijay Hazare: Garhwal's century sends Madhya Pradesh crashing out

Aditya Garhwal and Amit Gautam dashed Madhya Pradesh's sliver of hope left in its qualification for the knockout rounds of the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

Vijay Hazare Naman Ojha

Madhya Pradesh failed to qualify for the knockout stages of the Vijay Hazare tournament.   -  K. Pichumani

Madhya Pradesh needed a win (along with some help from Mumbai) to stay alive in the Vijay Hazare Trophy but faltered in its final league match after an all-round performance from Rajasthan saw it triumph by seven wickets at the M A Chidambaram Stadium on Monday. 

After Rajasthan pacer Syed Khaleel Ahmed (3/51) jolted Madhya Pradesh’s top order, Aditya Garhwal (108 in 108 balls, 7 fours, 2 sixes) and Amit Gautam (62 in 94 balls, 7 fours) sent the Madhya Pradesh bowlers on a leather hunt to wrap up a successful day for Rajasthan.

Everything went right for Rajasthan from the time its captain Mahipal Lomror called it right at the spin of the coin. Putting Madhya Pradesh into bat, the bowlers were on the money and restricted MP to 241 in its 50 overs.

The batsmen then complemented the bowlers as Gautam and Aditya stitched together a match winning 161 runs for the second wicket to set a strong foundation for Rajasthan’s win.

Aditya and Gautam were not troubled a bit as they went about their business in treating the bowlers with disdain. Although they were slow to get off the blocks, the duo measured every step they took and left MP with no chances.

Their shots were marked with precision and their approach was laden with intent. Once they were settled, the runs came easy and MP ran out of ideas to stop the onslaught.

Aditya reached his three-figure mark with a heave over deep mid-wicket and Lormor then cut loose a little as Rajasthan coasted to its second win of the league.

Earlier, Rajasthan was off to a good start with the new ball as MP was reduced to 29/2 in the first five overs. Although the wicket didn’t assist the seamers to a great extent, the Rajasthan pace duo of Ankit Lamba and Khaleel didn’t put a foot wrong and rattled the Madhya Pradesh top order.

It was left to skipper Harpreet Singh Bhatia and Anand Singh Bais to resurrect the innings and the duo came up with a 51-run partnership for the fifth wicket in 61 balls as MP huffed and puffed past the 100-run mark.

With Bhatia dismissed soon after he reached his half century (55; 56 balls, 5 fours, 2 sixes) and Sohraab Dhaliwal failing to beat Kamlesh Nagarkoti’s throw, Madhya Pradesh was left in a spot of bother at the halfway stage, losing six wickets for 131 runs.

Just when Rajasthan was having its tail up, Bais and Ankit Sharma rose to the occasion to steady the Madhya Pradesh ship with an 85-run partnership for the seventh wicket. The duo kept the Rajasthan bowlers at bay for more than 20 overs with sublime timing and good running between the wickets.

By the time, Bais was dismissed for 51 (92 balls, 3 fours, 1 six) in the 46 over, Madhya Pradesh had put up a score in excess of 240.

With Mumbai winning later in the day, MP's chances of making the knockouts was dashed.