After Priyank Panchal scored a flawless century, Arzan Nagwaswalla and Piyush Chawla did a fine choking job with the ball against Andhra Pradesh to help Gujarat to the Vijay Hazare Trophy semi-final. Batting first, Gujarat scored 299 and in reply, the Hanuma Vihari-led side could only manage 182.
Brief scores: Gujarat 299/7 in 50 overs (Priyank Panchal 134, Rahul V Shah 36, Het Patel 28, Ripal Patel 35; Harishankar Reddy 3-60) beat Andra 182 in 41.2 overs (Ricky Bhui 67, Naren Reddy 28; Arzan Nagwaswalla 4-30, Piyush Chawla 3-33) by 116 runs.
After opting to bat first at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi, Gujarat openers Dhruv Raval and skipper Priyank Panchal batted cautiously, but KV Sasikanth found himself in the game immediately, sending Raval back for 18. But in a game where scoring runs were a bit tough from the beginning, Panchal should be credited for delivering an almost flawless knock even though he never looked like accelerating.
He bided his time, negotiated the tricky left-arm spin of Lalith Mohan in company with Rahul V Shah to take the score to 113 when Mohan caught the latter plumb in front. A couple of useful innings from Het Patel (28) and Delhi Capitals’ latest recruit Ripal Patel (35) ensured Harishankar Reddy’s late burst didn’t have a big impact on the overall score. Panchal was the last batsman to be dismissed, scoring 134, as the 2015-16 Champions gave Hanuma Vihari-led Andhra Pradesh a target of 299 runs.
It needed a couple of calm partnerships from Andhra, whose breath-taking batting against Tamil Nadu in the league phase became the talk of the town, but Arzan Nagwaswalla had other plans. With Chintan Gaja bowling miserly overs from one end, Nagwaswalla brought the attacking instincts to the side, just like Roosh Kalaria used to do for the state side back in his heyday. By getting the better of both CR Gnaneshwar, Ashwin Hebbar and skipper Vihari in his first three overs, Nagwaswalla, who once expressed his desire to do well in live broadcasting games, pushed the Andhra side to the back foot inside the powerplay.
With Andhra Pradesh already being reduced to 21/3, Hardik Patel decided to join the fun and leverage his own part in the story. Complimented by Piyush Chawla’s experiences from the other end, Hardik, who started his spell with a barrage of half-trackers, sent Nitish Reddy back to the hut but the threat was anything but over.
Ricky Bhui batted with purpose and thwarted Chawla off the attack in the beginning but that was a false dawn. The initial collapse meant Andhra were already playing catch-up and they were folded out for 182 as Gujarat qualified for the semi-final that will be played on Thursday.