Sandeep guides Punjab to Vijay Hazare knockouts
VADODARA: India discard Sandeep Sharma produced another brilliant spell, returning four wickets from his seven overs to guide Punjab to a six-wicket win over Maharashtra and more importantly to the knockouts of the Vijay Hazare tournamenton Wednesday.
Punjab skipper Mandeep Singh's decision to field on winning the toss worked wonders as Sandeep (4 for 24) led the bowling with a devastating spell that bundled Maharashtra out for a meagre 65 in 27.2 overs.
Sandeep was ably supported by fellow pacer Siddharth Kaul (1 for 11) and the spin duo of Mayank Markande (2 for 10) and Karan Kaila (2 for 10) that saw a drastic collapse of the Kedar Jadhav-led side.
Opener Ruturaj Gaikwad (14) and Naushad Shaikh (22) were the only Maharashtra batters to reach the double digits even the rest of the batting order fell like nine pins on a pitch that hardly had any such demons.
Siddharth started the onslaught with the early wicket of opener Rahul Tripathi (9) before Sandeep ripped through the top order with his immaculate bowling. Sandeep accounted for the wickets of Ruturaj, Ankit Bawne (1), skipper Jadhav (0) and Satyajeet Bachhav (4). Joining the party was the left-arm spinner Kaila, who dismissed top scorer Naushad and Nikit Dhumal (3) besides effecting a successful run out of Azim Kaji (3). Leg-spinner Markande cleaned up the lower order with back to back wickets of stumper Nikhil Naik (3) and Shamshuzama Kazi (5).
In reply, Punjab were also off to a woeful start after being reduced to 11 for 2 by the eighth over of the innings before opener Sanveer Singh's calculative unbeaten 35 off 79 deliveries, laced with five boundaries guided them to safety. Sanveer got good support from skipper Mandeep (22 off 49 balls; 4X2, 6X1) and despite the early heroics of Satyajeet Bachhav (3 for 24), Punjab coasted to an easy win in just 27 overs.
Maharashtra 65 all out in 27.2 overs: Naushad Shaikh 22, Ruturaj Gaikwad 14; Sandeep Sharma 4/24, Mayank Markande 2/10, Karan Kaila 2/10
Punjab 66 for 4 in 27 overs: Sanveer Singh 35 not out, Mandeep Singh 22; Satyajeet Bachhav 3/24