Ankit Rajpoot spearheaded UP's first win of the tournament with a superb bowling performance. © BCCI

Ankit Rajpoot spearheaded UP’s first win of the tournament with a superb bowling performance. © BCCI

Uttar Pradesh registered their first win in the Central Zone leg of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy All-India Twenty20 tournament by defeating Railways by seven wickets at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium in Raipur on Saturday (January 13).

In the second game, Rajasthan put an end to Vidarbha’s winning streak and jumped to the top of the table after subjecting the newly-crowned Ranji Trophy champions to a six-wicket loss.

Railways v Uttar Pradesh

Ankit Rajpoot’s three-wicket haul helped Uttar Pradesh restrict Railways to 132 for 8 before the batsmen chased down the target without much trouble.

Uttar Pradesh lost Umang Sharma early on in their chase, but Shivam Chaudhary and Suresh Raina kept the scoreboard ticking. The duo added 53 off 52 balls for the second wicket before Raina (266 off 26) was dismissed by Abhishek Sharma. In his next over, Abhishek sent back Chaudhary as well for a 39-ball 40 to make it 91 for 3.

Rinku Singh and Akshdeep Nath ensured there were no surprises and steered the side to victory with two overs to spare. Rinku’s unbeaten 37 off 21 consisted of three fours and two sixes, while Nath contributed 18 off 13.

Earlier, after being put in to bat, Railways didn’t have a great start. Mohsin Khan dismissed Aakash Verma for ten in the second over of the innings. Two balls later, Karan Sharma fell to Rajpoot, leaving Railways 12 for 2.

Arindam Ghosh (17 off 19) and Ashish Sehrawat (13 off 22) resisted for a while before falling to Saurabh Kumar’s left-arm spin.

Mahesh Rawat, the captain, and Ashish Yadav tried to increase the run-rate and took the team past 100 in the 17th over. Ashish, in particular, looked aggressive, scoring 32 off 23 balls, including three fours. He was eventually bowled by Rajpoot, while Rawat was dismissed in the last over for a run-a-ball 35.

For Uttar Pradesh, Rajpoot was the most successful bowler, registering figures of 3 for 30, while Mohsin and Saurabh chipped in with two wickets each.

Coming into this game with three wins under their belt, Vidarbha were expected to put it past Rajasthan, but they also were unbeaten in three encounters before this contest and put up a clinical show with Aditya Garhwal leading the way with an unbeaten half-century to extend their winning record to four in four.
Vidarbha, winning the toss and batting first, were restricted to 131 for 8 in the allotted 20 overs and Rajasthan scaled the target in 18 overs with six wickets to spare.
Vidarbha’s batting disappointed, barring the 31-ball 39 from Ganesh Satish. In fact, only three other batsmen — Faiz Fazal, Apoorv Wankhade and Karn Sharma, went past the 20-run mark.
For Rajasthan, Deepak Chahar and Khaleed Ahmed finished with two wickets apiece.
It was always going to be tough for Vidarbha to defend such a low total and it was made tougher after Rajasthan’s opening pair of Ankit Lamba and Garhwal added 42 runs. Lamba was the aggressor in the partnership, scoring 26 runs from 17 balls with a six and three fours.
Garhwal took his time at the crease and settled in nicely while Tajinder Singh came up with a crucial 26 from as many balls. Garhwal remained unbeaten on 51 from 54 balls with three fours and a hit over the fence.
The 54-run stand for the fifth wicket between Garhwal and Tajinder came after Rajasthan lost Mahipal Lomror and Rajesh Bishnoi off successive deliveries. Lomror (15) became Akshay Wakhade’s only victim,
Incidentally, Lomror was the only wicket taken by a bowler, while Bishnoi ran himself out for nought. Bishnoi’s run out was one of three run-outs to plague Rajasthan’s run chase.