In a match which saw 17 wickets fall for a total of just 99 runs, Punjab barely managed to edge past Haryana by three wickets in Vadodara on Sunday. The win also takes the Mandeep Singh-led side to the top of Elite Group A and B with 16 points, ahead of Karnataka and Haryana who have 12 points each.
Brief scores: Punjab 50/7 (Abhishek Sharma 22* and Ajit Chahal 4-32) beat Haryana 49 all-out (Nitin Saina 22 and Sandeep Sharma 7/19)
There are occasions in cricket when the decision made at the toss backfires big time on the captain and today's match between Punjab and Haryana showcased the best example of such a scenario. Skipper Amit Mishra, after winning the toss, had no hesitation to bat first despite the pitch being under covers overnight due to incessant rains. However, the decision backfired instantly as within a blink of an eye, his Haryana team were reduced to 32-8, with pacer Sandeep Sharma accounting for five of the eight scalps.
Wicket-keeper Nitin Saina (22) and Sumit Kumar (13*) were the only two Haryana batters to get to double digits and their efforts seemed negligible as they were bundled out for a scarcely believable score of 49, with Sandeep finishing with outrageous figures of 7/19 off his 8 overs.
While the chase on paper looked straightforward, it was anything but that as no less than seven Punjab batsmen were dismissed for single digits, with Ajit Chahal (4/32) being the wrecker in chief. However, just when it seemed like Haryana were going to pull out an outrageous result, teenage sensation Abhishek Sharma (22*) kept an extremely calm ahead amidst all the chaos to drag his side to a narrow three-wicket victory.
With the result, Punjab now move to the top of Elite Group A and B with 16 points, although having played more matches than any other side in the group.