A second consecutive three-wicket haul from left-arm seamer Yash Dayal set-up the game for Uttar Pradesh as the Karan Sharma-led side thrashed Gujarat by 5 wickets to book their place in the final. After bowling out Gujarat for 184, a fine 71 from Aksh Deep Nath helped U.P register a 5-wicket win.
Brief scores: Uttar Pradesh 188/5 in 42.4 overs (Aksh Deep Nath 71, Karan Sharma 38 and Chintan Gaja 2/30) beat Gujarat 184 all-out (Het Patel 60, Piyush Chawla 32 and Yash Dayal 3/34) by 5 wickets
The fairytale run for the young Uttar Pradesh side in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy continued as the Karan Sharma-led unit dusted aside favourites Gujarat by five wickets to book their place in the final of the 2020/21 Vijay Hazare Trophy. Gujarat had won each of their six matches in the competition heading into their semi-final clash, but an incredible team effort from the young U.P. side saw Priyank Panchal’s men be humiliated at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on Thursday.
The game started on the right note for Gujarat as skipper Panchal called it right at the toss and opted to bat first, but disaster struck for the batting side inside the first 10 overs. Centurion in the quarter-final, Panchal was dismissed in the fifth over of the game by the very impressive Yash Dayal, while a mix-up between Dhruv Raval and Rahul V Shah resulted in the latter walking back to the pavilion for 10 in the 9th over. The early strikes jolted Gujarat, who then failed to build partnerships and kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Raval, Karan Patel and Ripal Patel all perished in the span of 12 overs, and soon the batting side were reduced to 92/5.
At this moment, the possibility of Gujarat even folding under 150 looked likely, but it was then Het Patel and veteran Piyush Chawla steadied the ship with a fine partnership. Patel, coming on the back of scores of 114, 67, 82 and 28, played anchor to perfection, while Chawla donned a more attacking role in an attempt to keep the scoreboard ticking. The duo put on a 66-run stand and took Gujarat to 158/5 in the 39th over, but just when things started to look bright, the innings turned upside down once again as both the set batsmen were dismissed in the span of three balls. While Chawla was sent back to the hut by Dayal, a terrible mix-up resulted in the demise of Het Patel. 158/5 soon became 159/7 and, from thereon, it was a steady downward slide for the batting side, who could only add 15 more runs for the final three wickets as they were bowled out for a paltry 184.
In response to the total of 184, Uttar Pradesh got off to an extremely shaky start, losing each of their first three wickets inside the first 12 overs. Madhav Kaushik, Samarth Singh and Priyam Garg all perished for scores under 20, and the young U.P side found themselves reeling at 45/3, thanks to a double strike from Chintan Gaja. But just when Gujarat thought they had a sniff, Panchal’s men were blunted by the duo of Karan Sharma and Aksh Deep Nath, who took the game away from the bowling side.
In a fine, free-flowing 89-run partnership, skipper Karan Sharma and Aksh Deep Nath kept the Gujarat bowlers at bay, and steered the side closer to the target. Skipper Sharma, who’d struck an 83 in the QFs, treaded rather cautiously, striking just two boundaries, while Aksh Deep Nath took the role of the aggressor. Their partnership, eventually, was broken in the 33rd over, with U.P just 51 shy of a win, but by then, the game had been sealed already.
Aksh Deep Nath batted on before perishing for a well-made 71, while the finishing touches in the chase were put by wicket-keeper Upendra Yadav, who struck a thundering 25-ball 31 that featured 3 fours and a six. The cameo from Yadav was enough to see Uttar Pradesh home as the Karan Sharma-led side marched to victory with 5 wickets and 7.2 overs to spare to put an end to Gujarat’s unbeaten run in the competition.
Uttar Pradesh will now take on Mumbai in the final of the 2020/21 Vijay Hazare Trophy at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on Sunday, March 13