The Men in Yellow went off to a wobbly start as they were reduced to 40 for 4 inside 15 overs. Karthik then took the onus and played a magnificent knock of 116 off 103 balls while his partner Indrajith scored 80 off 71.
Shahrukh contributed with a 21-ball 42 before Himachal restricted bowled them for 314. Pankaj Jaiswal was the pick of the bowlers for HP, registering the figures of 4 for 59. Skipper Rishi Dhawan picked up three wickets while Vinay Galetiya, Sidharth Sharma, Digvijay Rangi scalped a wicket apiece.
Earlier, HP defeated Services while TN overcame Saurashtra in semi-final 1 and semi-final 2 respectively on Friday to make the summit clash.
Skipper Rishi Dhawan and Akash Vasisht’s brilliant all-round performances helped Himachal Pradesh reach their maiden Vijay Hazare Trophy final berth as they beat Services by 77 runs in the first semi-final at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here.
The duo put on an all-important 83-run partnership for the sixth wicket, making 84 and an unbeaten 45 respectively, to propel Himachal’s total to a competitive 281/6. They also picked six wickets between them to derail Services’ run chase.
A 74-run stand for the second wicket between Prashant Chopra (78 off 109) and Digvijay Rangi helped Himachal recover from an early setback. However, a mini-collapse during the middle overs left them reeling at 106 for 4 after being put in to bat first.
From there on, skipper Dhawan joined hands with Chopra to build an 88-run stand, scoring a fluent 84 that came off 77 deliveries. After Chopra’s departure, Vasisht joined forces with the captain and chipped in a handy cameo of 45 off just 29 deliveries to help their side finish on a strong note.
In reply, Services’ chase suffered from lack of momentum as Dhawan dismissed both Lakhan Singh and Mohit Ahlawat in the space of six overs. Skipper Rajat Paliwal (55) and unbeaten opener Ravi Chauhan consolidated the innings but they consumed too many deliveries, allowing the asking rate to climb.
Vasisht finally dismissed Chauhan on 45 at 24.4 overs, to end the 49-run partnership. He picked up his second wicket in quick succession. From 154 for 5 at the start of the 37th over, when skipper Paliwal departed on 55, Services lost wickets in clusters in the next 10 overs to bundle out for just 204.
In another semi-final, Baba Aparajith’s knock of 122 outclassed Sheldon Jackson’s 134 and Chetan Sakariya’s brilliant fifer as Tamil Nadu entered the final with a narrow two-wicket victory over Saurashtra.
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