Mushtaq Ali T20: Punjab dashes Himachal's hopes

It was a virtual knockout and Punjab pulled through when it mattered, registering a crucial 19-run victory against Himachal Pradesh in the North Zone Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy here on Monday to increase its chances of advancing to the knockout stage of the competition.

R. V. MOORTHY

Manan Vohra plays a shot in New Delhi on Monday.

It was a virtual knockout and Punjab pulled through when it mattered, registering a crucial 19-run victory against Himachal Pradesh in the North Zone Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy here on Monday to increase its chances of advancing to the knockout stage of the competition.

Set a stiff 212-run target to win courtesy a quick-fire century stand for the opening wicket between Manan Vohra (74) and Mandeep Singh (46)

for Punjab, Himachal tried its best but fell short in the face of some good bowling in the final overs.

Vohra’s knock, in 42 balls, would have pleased the IPL scouts at the venue, including John Wright. The opener had been getting runs previously but was at his powerful best on the day, swatting aside anything that Himachal bowlers could come up with.

He hit Rishi Dhawan straight down the ground for a massive six that landed on the second tier above the sight screen, he smashed Bipul Sharma over long-on and seven of his 10 fours came in front off the middle of a straight bat that gave no chance to the fielders. It took a full-frontal dive from Himachal skipper Prashant Chopra to grab a low catch and end his innings but the foundation for a big total had been laid.

In reply, Chopra and Ankush Bains set the template in the second over itself with 24 runs in the second over of the innings off Manpreet Grewal, including a six and two fours, to make his intent clear and match the Punjab scoring. While the other Himachal batsmen kept getting runs, Rishi Dhawan's dismissal in the 18th over – caught at midwicket by Harbhajan Singh off Sandeep Sharma – the trio of Sharma, Siddharth kaul and Grewal ensured the required 49 runs would not be scored in the last three overs.

In the other match, Haryana won its last league game against Services by four wickets off the penultimate ball of the innings to lift itself up from the bottom of the table and though it made little difference to the team's chances of advancing to the knockouts, it also ended any hopes Services might have had to do so. Chasing 140, Haryana overhauled the target thanks mainly to a fighting half-century from Shivam Chauhan (54).

On paper, though, Services could still advance if it manages to defeat Delhi comfortably in their final league game on Tuesday but on form, that looks unlikely.

The scores: Services 140 for eight in 20 overs (Nakul Sharma 42, Diwesh Pathania 27; Ajit Chahal three for 36, Harshal Patel two for 26, Jayant Yadav two for 13) lost to Haryana 141 for six in 19.5 overs (Shivam Chauhan 54, Rajat Paliwal 29, Rahul Tewatia 29 not out; Diwesh Pathania three for 27).

Points: Haryana 4, Services 0.

Punjab 211 for four in 20 overs (Manan Vohra 74, Mandeep Singh 46, Gurkeerat Mann 36 not out, Sharad Lumba 26) bt Himachal 192 for five

in 20 overs (Prashant Chopra 52, Nikhil Gangta 52 not out, Paras Dogra 30; Mayank Markande two for 35).

Points: Punjab 4, Himachal 0.