Vijay Hazare Trophy: Andhra Thrash Delhi, Saurashtra in Semis
While Maharashtra will play Karnataka in the first semi-final, Saurashtra will meet Andhra in the second semi-final.
Delhi's much-vaunted batting line up fell like a pack of cards as unheralded Andhra Pradesh reached semi-finals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy with a six-wicket victory in Delhi on Thursday, 22 February. Saurashtra on the other hand reached the semi-finals after beating Baroda by three wickets on Thursday.
Medium pacer Siva Kumar (4/29 in 10 overs) and left-arm spinner Bharghav Bhatt (3/28 in 7.1 overs) wreaked havoc as Delhi were skittled out for 111 in 32.1 overs.
In reply, Andhra reached the target in 28.4 overs with Ricky Bhui (32) and Ashwin Hebbar (38) scoring bulk of the runs.
Andhra opted to field on a wicket that didn't have any demons but none of the Delhi batsmen were willing to stay at the crease long enough to put up a substantial score.
Unmukt Chand (4) was bowled by an incoming delivery from Siva while Gambhir (8) gave a simple catch to B Sumath.
Young Hiten Dalal (11) also played across the line to be castled with Delhi reeling at 33 for 3 in 9 overs.
Siva, who bowled at late 120kmph, did nothing exceptional save pitching it up and Delhi batsmen didn't show requisite application.
Nitish Rana (2) couldn't get going as he completely missed the line of military medium pace bowler Bandaru Ayappa.
Rishabh Pant (38) and Dhruv Shorey (21) tried to stem the rot with 36-run stand for fifth wicket but inept shot selection saw them lose six wickets for 35 runs.
Shorey misread the flight of Bhatt's delivery and was stumped but it was Pant whose atrocious shot selection stood out.
With more than 20 overs left, Pant miscued a pull shot off Siva's half tracker to be caught by Bhatt at mid wicket boundary.
Once Pant was out, there was no resistance shown by the tail as it brought curtains down on one of the most controversial yet happening season in Delhi cricket.
Saurashtra Beat Baroda by 3 Wkts
Young Arpit Vasavada kept his composure during the end overs as his 43-ball-45 enabled a safe passage for Saurashtra into the Vijay Hazare semi-finals.
While Maharashtra will play Karnataka in the first semi-final, Saurashtra by virtue of their quarter-final win will meet Andhra in the second semi-final.
Chasing a target of 248, Saurashtra crossed the finishing line in 48.4 overs courtesy Vasavada and useful contributions up the order from opener Avi Barot (82) and skipper Cheteshwar Pujara (40).
The match could have been a lopsided affair after Saurashtra had left Baroda tottering at 105 for 7 in 22.3 overs before Mumbai Indians star Krunal Pandya (61, 75 balls) and Soaeb Tai (72 no, 91 balls) added 97 runs for the eighth wicket to give the team total some semblance of respectability.
The duo batted nearly 21 overs to steady the ship. Left-handed Krunal hit five fours and two sixes in his innings while Tai had eight fours and a six to his credit.
Once Krunal was dismissed, Tai added another 45 runs with Lukman Meriwala (9) for the ninth wicket to take the score closer towards 250.
Chirag Jani's wicket to wicket medium pace proved to be the most effective as he got 4 for 35 while Prerak Mankad had 2 for 29.
While chasing, Saurashtra lost opener Samarth Vyas and former India player Robin Uthappa within 45 runs but Barot and Pujara added 102 runs for the third wicket to set the pace. Pujara hit five fours in his 66 while Barot struck eight boundaries in his 105-ball knock.
However, there was a mini collapse when Pujara was brilliantly snapped up by Vishnu Solanki off seamer Atit Sheth's bowling. Barot, who looked good for a hundred followed suit, as left-arm seamer Rishi Arothe got him holed by Meriwala. Prerak Mankad was also gone leaving Saurashtra in a spot of bother at 181 for 5 with 67 runs to get.
It could have got trickier but Vasavada and Jani (25) added 40 runs for the sixth wicket to put paid to Baroda's hopes of a comeback.
Saurashtra coach Shitansu Kotak told reporters that Ravindra Jadeja is recovering from a side strain and is likely to be available for the semi-final match against Andhra.
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