Kulwant Khejroliya: Happy to perform when the team needed it

Kulwant Khejroliya took six for 31 to help Delhi beat Haryana and qualify for the Vijay Hazare Trophy semifinals.

Delhi's Kulwant Khejroliya took four wickets against Chattisgarh. (file photo)   -  R. V. Moorthy

Haryana seemed in a position of strength in its Vijay Hazare Trophy quarterfinal clash against Delhi here on Sunday when Kulwant Khejroliya was thrown the ball. Chaitanya Bishnoi and Pramod Chandila had added 140 runs for the fourth wicket when Gautam Gambhir brought on the left-arm pacer. Bishnoi was caught off a top-edge in the covers for 85 before Chandila was bowled through the gate next ball. Khejroliya then trapped Amit Mishra leg-before with a full delivery to complete a fine hat-trick. It reduced Haryana to 177 for six and turned the tide of the match.

"I'm very happy because the performance came when the team needed it," Khejroliya, who finished with career-best List A figures of six for 31, said later. "Gautam bhaiyya (Gambhir) brought me on and told me: 'This is a very important over. If we get a wicket now, it will be good for the team.' After I got the first wicket, I realized the ball was reversing a bit. So I bowled wicket to wicket and that is how I got the second wicket and the third."

Khejroliya, who debuted for Delhi only in 2017 and three years ago was working as a waiter in Goa, stated that playing for RCB at the same venue had helped him. "I had some idea of the pitch and the ground. I knew where to bowl and where not to," he said.

The 26-year-old hailed Gambhir's century, his second in the Vijay Hazare Trophy this season. “He was aggressive right from the beginning. He has batted well in the tournament but today was his best performance since it came in the knock-outs,” he said.