Vijay Hazare: Priyank Panchal's unbeaten ton flattens Tamil Nadu

Priyank fired the shots from his willow, as he crafted his way to his third List-A century.

Priyank Panchal plays a shot en route to his unbeaten hundred.   -  K. Pichumani

Priyank Panchal crafted a strokeful unbeaten 117 (129b, 6x4, 4x6) as Gujarat got the better of Tamil Nadu by four wickets in its Vijay Hazare Elite Group ‘C’ league match at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Thursday.

On a slow and sluggish wicket, it was Gujarat which called the shots from the word go. A disciplined bowling effort coupled with good fielding helped Gujarat restrict Tamil Nadu to a moderate 205/9 in 49 overs.

It was then Priyank, who fired the shots from his willow, as he crafted his way to his third List-A century.

He stitched a 46-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Rujul Bhatt (16 off 41 balls), an important run-a-ball 60-run stand for the fifth wicket with Chirag Gandhi (15 off 27 balls) to help Gujarat cross the line.

Priyank was at ease taming the pacers and spinners with equal disdain. His crafty and deceptive wrist work helped him get to the pitch of the ball and work it away on either side of the wicket to keep the scoreboard moving.

"The wicket was a difficult one to bat on. But, we had an idea on how to go about the chase. I was concentrating on scoring in blocks of 20 runs and never thought of my century. It was all about being calm and composed,” Priyank said.

Earlier, Tamil Nadu started on a horrid note, unable to find the gaps and get into the scoring mode. The Tamil Nadu openers — Kaushik Gandhi and Abhinav Mukund — started in an extra cautions manner and disciplined bowling compounded TN’s problems.

Roosh Kalaria worked wonders with the new ball. He didn’t have much movement off the seam but hit the deck hard and bowled probing lengths.

Scoring at just 2 runs an over for the first 12 overs, Tamil Nadu seemed all at bay. Kalaria’s opening spell of 6-2-5-1 was the telling difference in the first hour of play.

Tamil Nadu could only up the ante past the 20 over mark and when Vijay Shankar (47, 64 balls, 2x4, 1x6) and Baba Indrajith (58, 59 balls, 3x6) got going.

Indrajith was technically strong and equally deceptive. He lunged into the slower bowlers in a jiffy, launching them beyond the ropes effortlessly.

Indrajith perished in the 39th over when he tried an encore of a big hit and could only find the fielder at the ropes.

Vijay Shankar fell in the very next over when he was adjudged leg-before wicket, a decision the skipper wasn’t happy with, as N. Jagadeesan (17 off 23 balls), B. Anirudh and C.V. Varun Kumar could only muster little courage to lift Tamil Nadu beyond the 200-run mark.

Shankar said Priyank’s century was the difference and rued his team’s slow batting.

“We could have batted a little better upfront. The wicket was sticky in the morning but with the kind of batting line-up we have, we should have batted better.

“The best take away from this match was the way we played in the middle overs, rotating the strike and putting the bad balls away. We hope to improve as the competition progresses,” he explained.

In other Group C matches in Chennai, Bengal got the better of Jammu and Kashmir by six wickets and Jharkhand beat Rajasthan by seven wickets.

Brief Scores:

Tamil Nadu 205/9 in 49 overs (B. Indrajith 58, Vijay Shankar 47, Piyush Chawla 3/38) lost to Gujarat 210/6 in 47 overs (Priyank Panchal 117*, R. Sai Kishore 2/37)

Jammu and Kashmir 96 in 23.4 overs (Paras Sharma 17, Prayas Barman 4/20, Ishan Porel 3/19) lost to Bengal 98/4 in 20.4 overs (Shreevats Goswami 22)

Rajasthan 73 in 28.3 overs (Shahbaz Nadeem 8/10) lost to Jharkhand 76/3 in 14.3 overs (Anand Singh 22).