Jharkhand cruise into semis



Jharkhand stormed into the semifinals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy with a facile six-wicket victory over Vidarbha at Palam Ground on Wednesday. But it was one man MS Dhoni who hogged the limelight throughout the match.

Put to field, Jharkhand reduced Vidarbha to 87/7, before Ravi Jangid (62) stitched 61 runs for the eighth wicket with Rajneesh Gurbani to prop up Vidarbha innings to 159/9 in 50 overs.

In reply, Jharkhand completed the chase in 45.1 overs with captain Dhoni (18 n.o.) hitting the winning runs with a six over mid-wicket.

Dhoni’s presence drew people in numbers to the Air Force ground, where the entry to the civilians is not allowed. That, though, hardly served as a deterrent to fans who climbed the trees and boundary walls to catch a glimpse of the star cricketer.

In the semifinals, Jharkhand will meet Bengal who chased Maharashtra’s 318/6 with a ball to spare at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium.

Opening Jharkhand’s chase, Ishan Kishan (33) and Pratyush Singh (35) put up a solid opening wicket stand of 68 runs with Vidarbha choosing to open with spinners upfront — left-armer Akshay Karnewar and offie Akshay Wakhare.

However, left-arm seamer Ravikumar Thakur bowled an impressive spell that included knocking the bails of the two Jharkhand openers.

Each Jharkhand dismissal raised the chants of Dhoni’s name. To the crowd’s delight Kumar Deobrat and Saurabh Tiwary departed quickly even as Ishank Jaggi (41 n.o.) firmly held one end up. Dhoni’s arrival, when Jharkhand needed 44 runs for victory, attracted whoops of joy all around. At one instance, a boy jumped from the fence, dashed to Dhoni at the non-striker’s end, and touched his feet. Dhoni even quickly signed his autograph book, leaving the boy sprinting back in euphoria brandishing the prized possession.

Alongwith Jaggi, Dhoni stitched 49 runs for the fifth wicket, and the two took Jharkhand home with 29 balls remaining.

Earlier Vidharbha top order, barring Ganesh Satish, failed to stick around for log. Both openers, captain Faiz Fazal and Jitesh Sharma, were back in the pavilion for nine runs.

Jatin mistimed a pull off Monu Kumar to the mid-wicket in the fifth over while Fazal nicked a rising delivery off Varun Aaron in the next, only to be pouched by Dhoni.

Within three balls, Siddhesh Wath was run out by Pratyush Singh, and triggered a collapse.
On a pitch, where stroke-making was not easy, Jangid played with patience and gumption for a fluent half-century. His eighth-wicket stand with Gurbani frustrated Jharkhand but it was not enough.

Brief scores: Vidarbha: 159/9 in 50 overs (Ravi Jangid 62, Ganesh Satish 35; Monu Kumar 2-27) lt ot Jharkhand: 165/4 in 45.1 overs (Ishank Jaggi 41 n.o., Ishan Kishan 35, Pratyush Singh 33; Ravikumar Thakur 2-25).

Maharastra: 318/6 in 50 overs (Rahul Tripathi 95, Nikhil Naik 63, Kedar Jadhav 44, Ruturaj Gaikwad 43; Sayan Ghosh 2-61, Aamir Gani 2-70) lt to Bengal: 320/6 in 49.5 overs (Shreevats Goswami 74, Anustup Majumdar 66, Sudip Chatterjee 60 n.o.; Kedar Jadhav 2-30, Shrikant Mundhe 2-51, Shamshuzama Kazi 2-47).

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