Maharashtra enter Vinoo Mankad KOs

Bowlers Rajvardhan, Abhishek set tone as State top Group

Maharashtra enter Vinoo Mankad KOs
Abhishek Nishad (4/18) for Maharashtra

PUNE: The script was clear and Maharashtra clearly knew - win at any cost - was the only way to progress to the knockouts. And so they did!

Having taken a hit from Chandigarh in the last round, Maharashtra bowlers – pacer Rajvardhan Hangargekar and Abhishek Nishad hit the deck well to ensure a shaky 4-wicket win over Himachal Pradesh in Round V - Elite Group B, Vinoo Mankad Trophy 2020-21, at the Karnail Singh Stadium, New Delhi.

Between them, they shared 7 wickets. Abhishek (4/18) off 8 overs was effective and economical, while Rajvardhan after tasting the day’s first success had Abhishek work to do his bit before returning to pile on the Himachal Pradesh misery.

As a result, Himachal Pradesh was left woeing their decision to bat first as they were shot out for 99 in the 41st over, the lowest total in the group of the day. Barring openers Innesh Mahajan (15) and Kabir Singh (13) and later Praval Singh (10) none of the batters could push into double digits, which included skipper Vaibhav Kalta (1).

If Himachal Pradesh’s innings gained some respectability it was only because of the dogged effort by middle-order batter Raghav Angra (43). 

 Laying the foundation perfectly, Maharashtra’s reply which needed no more than 2.45 per over wobbled. In what seemed to be a low-scoring easy-achieving target, turned laborious and uphill as the Maharashtra batters were getting pushed to the wall. 

In a span of 11 overs, Maharashtra were 29/3 with pacer Ritvik Kumar sending back Kiran Chormale (5), Arshin Kulkarni (20) and Mridul P Surroch sending back Ashkan Kazi (3).

Maharashtra distinctly struggled. However, Kaushal Tame (30 n.o) held fort and also stitched two defiant partnerships – 31 for the fourth-wicket with Sachin Dhas (21) and later an unbeaten 26 with Shubham Kharat to help Maharashtra home 33 overs.

The win was the third for Maharashtra. For Himachal, the loss was their fifth.

Maharashtra (14 points) finished level with Tamil Nadu and Chandigarh, who also won their matches on the final day. Tamil Nadu chased Madhya Pradesh’s 215-run target with 3 wickets to spare and Chandigarh achieved 121 set by Gujarat with 6 wickets in hand.

Maharashtra finished with +1.731 NRR to separate themselves and now move to Ahmedabad for the knock-outs.