Cricket

Vijay Hazare Trophy: Preview of Semi final 1 – Himachal Pradesh vs Services

Pavan Suresh

The Vijay Hazare Trophy 2021 season is at its business end with 4 teams remaining in the fray. Himachal Pradesh and Services will face off in the first semi-finals while powerhouse Tamil Nadu will take on Saurashtra in the 2nd semi-finals to be played on 24th December 2021.

Himachal Pradesh will face Service in the first semi-finals of Vijay Hazare Trophy 2021 to be played at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium, Jaipur on 24th December. It has been a brilliant journey for Rishi Dhawan led side so far in the prestigious tournament.

They were placed in Group A along with Vidarbha, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Gujarat, and Jammu Kashmir. Due to a better net run rate, Himachal Pradesh finished top of the points table qualifying directly for the quarterfinals.

Himachal Pradesh stunned favorites in the quarterfinals, defeating Uttar Pradesh by 5 wickets. Vinay Galetyia kept Uttar Pradesh on the backfoot giving away just 19 runs in 10 overs and grabbing 3 wickets. Siddarth Sharma and Pankaj Jaiswal also did a superb job to pick 2 wickets each. Himachal Pradesh captain Rishi gave away 60 runs with only 1 wicket. A superb bowling effort helped them to restrict Uttar Pradesh to 207 for 9.

Prashant Chopra and Shubham Arora looked cautious putting on 54 runs for the opening wicket in 17.2 overs. Soon after, Gangta and Chopra kept Himachal Pradesh on the course, adding 122 runs for the 2nd wicket. Despite losing quick wickets, Himachal Pradesh won the match by 5 wickets with 27 balls to spare.

On the other hand, Services performed brilliantly in the league. With 16 points each for Services and Rajasthan, due to better net run rate, Services finished top of Group E. It was a brilliant effort by Services to go past the star-studded lineup of Kerala in the 4th quarterfinals played at KL Saini Ground, Jaipur.

Thanks to a superb bowling spell by Diwesh Pathaina with figures of 3 for 19 in 8 overs, Services bowled out Kerala for 175. In reply, the experience of Rajat Palliwal and Ravi Chauhan partnership of 154 runs for the 3rd wicket helped Service chase down the target with 19.1 overs to spare.

Prashant Chopra has performed brilliantly in the Vijay Hazare Trophy so far for Himachal Pradesh with 357 runs from 6 matches (6 innings) with 4 half-centuries with the best score of 99 against UP in the quarterfinals. Himachal Pradesh captain Rishi Dhawan failed to contribute in the quarterfinals but has done reasonably well in the league stage with 332 runs from 6 matches (6 innings) with a best score of 91 not out.

In the bowling department, Rishi Dhawan and Mayank Dagar have grabbed 10 wickets each for Himachal Pradesh. Left-arm spinner Dagar grabbed 10 wickets from 6 matches with figures of 6/59.

For Services, Ravi Chauhan has been brilliant with the bat scoring 269 runs from 6 matches (6 innings) with a best score of 95 in the quarterfinals against Kerala. Rajat Palliwal has performed brilliantly for Services so far with 248 runs from 6 matches (6 innings) with the best score of 85*.

The toss will be an important one for both these teams. The pitch has some moisture and the pace bowlers can create a major impact.

Players to watch out for Himachal Pradesh: Prashant Chopra, Rishi Dhawan.
Players to watch out for Services: Rajat Palliwal, Ravi Chauhan, Diwesh Pathaina.

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