Vidarbha continued their unbeaten run in the Central Zone leg of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy all-India Twenty20 tournament, with a hard-fought win over Madhya Pradesh at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium in Raipur on Friday (January 11).
Elsewhere, Khaleel Ahmed’s four-wicket haul, backed by Ankit Lamba’s unbeaten half-century, helped Rajasthan beat Chhattisgarh by seven wickets in a low-scoring game.
Defending 15 in the final over, Ravi Thakur picked up two Madhya Pradesh wickets to give Vidarbha a seven-run win and maintain their place at the top of the table.
A combined batting effort had Vidarbha posting 156 for 5 after they were put in. MP were 149 for 9 when they ran out of time.
Thakur, who finished with 4 for 29, also had the first MP wicket to fall, when he sent back Rajat Patidar in the fifth over and broke the side’s most promising stand when he had Anshul Tripathi caught by Jitesh Sharma.
Tripathi (39 off 28) had held down one end while Sohraab Dhaliwal (45 off 25) attacked at the other, the duo adding 71 off 41 balls for the fifth wicket.
But two wickets to Shrikant Wagh in the 19th over, followed by Thakur’s final strikes, prevented a final burst to the finish.
Earlier, Ganesh Satish (35 off 32) and Ravi Jangid (34 off 28) propped up Vidarbha after they had been reduced to 17 for 2 in 6.2 overs. They added a steady 60 off 45 before Apoorv Wankhade gave the innings a much-needed push, smashing three sixes and four fours in a 23-ball 43.
After bowling Chhattisgarh out for 103, Rajasthan overcame an early stutter to register a comfortable win in the end.
Rajasthan didn’t have a great start as Shakeeb Ahmed removed Abhijeet Tomar with just 14 on the board. Sumit Ruikar then dismissed Deepak Chahar and Aditya Garhwal in quick succession to make it 44 for 3.
But Lamba and Mahipal Lomror dashed Chhattisgarh’s hopes with an unbeaten 60-run partnership for the fourth wicket to see Rajasthan home in 17.3 overs. Lamba made a 55-ball 54, consisting of seven fours, while Lomror’s 24-ball 29 included one four and the lone six of the match.
Earlier, Amandeep Khare and Sahil Gupta provided Chhattisgarh with a steady start, but both the openers found it difficult to score freely. The duo added 43 in 7.5 overs before Gupta was bowled for a 26-ball 27 by Chandrapal Singh.
Khare and Ajay Mandal took the score to 60 but after that wickets fell at regular intervals. Mandal was the first to go, dismissed by Tajinder Singh for 11, who then accounted for Ashutosh Singh (3) to leave Chhattisgarh 67 for 3.
Khare tried to hold the innings together but once he was dismissed by Khaleel, for 36 off 40, the innings collapsed. From 90 for 4 in 14.2 overs, Chhattisgarh lost their remaining six wickets in next 20 balls.
Khaleel was the wrecker-in-chief, picking up 4 for 12 from three overs, while Chandrapal and Tajinder chipped in with two wickets apiece as only three Chhattisgarh batsmen reached double figures.