Cricket

Vijay Hazare Trophy 2021/22 SF 1: All-round Himachal Pradesh reaches final with a comprehensive win

Pavan Suresh

Himachal Pradesh continued their impressive run defeating Services easily in the first semi-finals of the 2021/22 Vijay Hazare Trophy played at Sawai Man Stadium, Jaipur on Thursday.

Services captain Rajat Palliwal won the toss and decided to field first. After a decent first over by Diwesh Pathaina, Raj Bhadur produced a good delivery getting rid of Shubham Arora. Digvijay Rangi was bought into the playing by Himachal Pradesh for this game struggled against Pathaina and Bhadur. Prashant Chopra also looked cautious against disciplined Services pace bowling. At the end of the first 10 overs, Himachal Pradesh scored just 31 for 1.

After the field restrictions, Chopra and Rangi put the pressure on the Services change bowlers. Both showed intent keeping scoreboard ticking. Rahul Singh struck for Services getting rid of Rangi cleaned bowled. Rangi and Chopra added 74 runs for the 2nd wicket. Nikhil Gangta looked in decent touch before being involved in a mix-up to be run out. The experienced Pathaina got the wicket of Amit Kumar to leave Himachal Pradesh struggling. Rishi Dhawan and Prashant Chopra steadied ship for Himachal Pradesh keeping the scoreboard ticking. Chopra completed his half-century off 76 balls while Rishi Dhawan also settled in. Dhawan and Chopra put enough pressure on Services bowlers.

The things looked good for Himachal Pradesh before Prashant Chopra could not connect the shot for a six being caught by Mohit Ahlawat at long-off. Chopra and Dhawan added 88 runs for the 5th wicket. Akash Vasisht looked in great touch right from the word go as Services fielding looked ordinary with drop catches and misfield. Dhawan looked composed and reached his fifty off 57 balls. Vasisht was given a reprieve as Pathaina overstepped after being caught. Dhawan and Akash kept the momentum for Himachal Pradesh with flurry of boundaries. Rishi Dhawan was eventually dismissed in the last over trying to smack a big shot. Dhawan and Akash put on 83 runs for the 6th wicket. Thanks to brilliant knocks by Chopra, Rishi Dhawan and Akash, Himachal Pradesh posted competitive total of 281 for 6 in 50 overs.

Chasing 282 runs to win, it was a cautious start by Services openers as Lakhan Singh could not rotate the strike while Ravi Chauhan made the batting look easy. The veteran Rishi Dhawan got the breakthrough dismissing Lakhan Singh with a stunning delivery. Ravi Chauhan and Mohit Ahlawat struggled against disciplined Himachal Pradesh bowling. At the end of the first 10 overs, Services scored 30 for 1.

After the field restrictions, Rishi Dhawan dismissed Mohit Ahlawat with a half-hearted pull caught by Akash Vashist. The experienced duo of Ravi Chauhan and Rajat Palliwal tried to increase the scoring rate. Akash Vashist dismissed Chauhan caught by Rangi at long-on. Chauhan and Palliwal added 49 runs for the 3rd wicket. Rajat Palliwal looked in decent touch keeping Services on track reaching his fifty off 58 balls. Rahul Singh also went cheaply trying to increase scoring run rate.

Siddarth Sharma produced the big wicket of Palliwal caught by Dhawan to leave Services in big trouble. After the fall of Palliwal, Himachal Pradesh bowlers kept picking wickets at regular intervals to bowl out Services for 204.

Himachal Pradesh 281 for 6 in 50 overs (Rishi Dhawan 84, Prashant Chopra 78, Raj Bahdur 2/52) beat Services 204 in 46.1 overs ( Rajat Palliwal 55, Ravi Chauhan 45, Rishi Dhawan 4/27) by 77 runs.

For his all-round performance, Rishi Dhawan was named the man of the match.

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