Jammu & Kashmir lit up the opening day of the Vijay Hazare Trophy by overhauling a gargantuan target of 343 against a fancied Madhya Pradesh on Saturday.
Riding on an ultra-aggressive approach by all the batters, J & K batters overcame the resistance of an all-round MP attack, led by quickies Kuldeep Sen and Avesh Khan. The northern frontiers chased down MP’s 342 for eight with two wickets and four balls to spare at the D.Y. Patil University Ground, adjacent to the main stadium.
When Madhya Pradesh coasted to 342, thanks to Yash Dubey’s neat hundred (121, 121b, 13x4) and cameos by Rajat Patidar (62, 45b, 4x4, 3x6) and Akshat Raghuvanshi (32, 22b, 4x4) after being put in to bat, it would have thought of having crossed the par score despite a belter of a pitch.
J&K then justified its decision to chase with a stunning display of batting against quality bowling. Left-handed opener Vivrant Sharma (69, 62b, 8x4, 2x6) started the chase in top gear, hitting Avesh Khan straight over the sight-screen and hooking Kuldeep Sen over deep fine-leg.
Just when MP was starting to seize control, having plucked three wickets for 32 runs to leave MP at 113 in a spot of bother in the 23rd over, Henan Malik (68, 73b, 4x4, 2x6) and Abdul Samad (66, 62b, 7x4, 2x6) started opening the shoulders.
The duo’s 117-run association off just 102 balls brought J&K back into the game before Malik was caught behind off Avesh after the pacer changed the angle and bowled around the wicket.
Samad’s lusty blows over covers and Abid Mushtaq’s big-hitting brought them to the cusp of a win. Despite wickets falling, the runs kept flowing, be it through big edges through the vacant slip cordon, as the equation was brought down to 14 off 12.
An outside edge off Sahil Lotra’s willow in Kuldeep Sen’s last over meant J&K required five runs off six balls. Successive edges off Avesh’s first two balls off the last over sealed the deal for J&K, leading to celebrations.