Himachal rout Punjab in Vijay Hazare Trophy
VADODARA: Ramandeep Singh's half century went in vain as Punjab succumbed to a 25-run loss to Himachal Pradesh in the Vijay Hazare Trophy at the Sangramsinh Gaekwad Sports Academy on Tuesday.
Ramandeep struck a calculative 108-ball 62, laced with seven hits to the fence to shoulder Punjab's chase of a challenging 244, before falling prey to the disciplined Himachal Pradesh attack, led by Pankaj Jaiswal (3 for 62).
Ramandeep, who came at the fall of Abhishek Sharma (18 off 11 balls; 4X4) anchored Punjab's innings from a troublesome 26 for 2, with a brief 36-run third wicket effort with Anmolpreet Singh (25 off 35; 4X5) before the latter was dismissed.
Thereafter, Punjab banked on a steady 53-run fourth wicket stand between Ramandeep and Gurkeerat Singh Maan, who struck a valiant 32 off 45 deliveries, laced with four boundaries to help Punjab cross the three-figure mark.
With the asking run-rate gradually mounting, Ramandeep eventually gave in to the pressure even as wicketkeeper-batsman Anmol Malhotra (36 off 35; 4X2, 6X1) raged a lone battle lower down the order before Punjab were eventually being skittled out for 218 in 49 overs.
For the Himachal side, Pankaj's efforts were complimented well by Kanwar Abhinay (2 for 35) and Ayush Jamwal (2 for 47) while Rishi Dhawan and Mayank Dagar chipped in with a couple of wickets, each.
Earlier, left-arm spinner Karan Kaila once again starred with the ball, returning figures of 3 for 36 to restrict Himachal Pradesh to 243 for 9 in their 50 overs. Karan got rid of the opening duo of Priyanshu Khanduri (29) and Prashant Chopra (13), who put on 44 for the first wicket.
Punjab pace duo of Siddharth Kaul and Sandeep Sharma also joined the party with a couple of wickets each to shake the middle order, even as Ankit Kalsi (35), Nikhil Gangta (40), Rishi Dhawan (22) and Ayush Jamwal (39) came up with vital contributions to propel the side to a par total.