Dhoni blasts ton as Jharkhand vanquish Chhattisgarh
Kolkata, Feb 26 (IANS) Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni blasted a century as Jharkhand defeated Chhattisgarh by 78 runs in a Group D match of the Vijay Hazare cricket tournament here on Sunday.
Riding on Dhoni’s 107-ball 129, Jharkhand posted 243/9, and then skittled out Chhattisgarh for 165 in 38.4 overs at the Eden Gardens to pick up their first four points from the tourney.
Jharkhand had gone down to Karnataka by five runs in their tournament opener on Saturday.
Dhoni walked in with Jharkhand tottering at 43/4 in the 14th over, and saw two more wickets fall within a short while.
At 57/6, Jharkhand seemed to be staring down the barrel, but Shahbaz Nadim teamed up with Dhoni in the middle to put on 151 runs for the seventh wicket and take their team past the 200-run mark.
Nadeem (53; 90b, 4×4, 1×6) went back in the 48th over, but Dhoni struck some characteristic sledge hammer blows in the remaining deliveries and was out on only the last ball of the innings. His knock included 10 fours and six sixes.
For Chhattisgarh, right arm medium pacer Kant Singh (4/33) was the most successful bowler.
In reply, Chattisgarh never really got going, as none of their willowers managed to put up a substantial score. Only three of the batsmen went into the 20s and the highest partnership was that of 32 between skipper Mohammed Kaif (23) and Amandeep Khare (22) for the third wicket.
Kant (24) was the top scorer, while pacer Varun Aaron (3/26) and left arm spinner Nadeem (3/36) were the chief wreckers for Jharkhand.
Meanwhile, defending champions Gujarat defeated Goa by 78 runs in a Group A match in Chennai.
Set a target of 278 runs, Goa were all out for 199 with Gujarat off-spinner Rujul Bhat returning figures of 5/38.
Snehal Kauthankar (64) and Amogh Desai (61) shone with the bat for Goa.
Earlier, Gujarat rode on half-centuries from skipper Parthiv Patel (80) and Priyank Panchal (57) to post a total of 277/9.
Pacer Rituraj Singh was the most successful among the Goa bowlers with figures of 3/61.
In Group B, Himachal Pradesh thrashed last year’s runners-up Delhi by 185 runs in Bhubaneshwar.
Asked to bat first, Himachal rode on a century by Prashant Chopra and a half-century by Paras Dogra to post 339/8 in their allotted 50 overs.
Chopra plundered 159 runs from 140 balls, hitting 24 boundaries and three sixes along the way.
Dogra scored 77 off 65 deliveries and added 205 runs along with Chopra to set Himachal on their way to a formidable total.
Off-spinner Dheeraj Kumar then clinched a five-wicket haul as Delhi were skittled out for 154 runs in 37 overs.
Dheeraj notched up figures of 5/24 while pacer Pankaj Jaiswal bagged three wickets.
In other matches on Sunday, Assam defeated Punjab by three wickets,
Gujarat: 277/9 in 50 overs (Parthiv Patel 80, Priyank Panchal 57; Rituraj Singh 3/61) vs Goa: 199 in 45.5 overs (Snehal Kauthankar 64, Amogh Desai 61; Rujul Bhatt 5/38).
Himachal Pradesh: 339/8 in 50 overs (Prashant Chopra 159, Paras Dogra 77) vs Delhi: 154 in 37 overs (Sarthak Ranjan 37; Dheeraj Kumar 5/24, Pankaj Jaiswal 3/24)
Jharkhand 243/9 in 50 overs (Mahendra Singh Dhoni 129, Shahbaz Nadeem 53; Kant Singh 4/33) vs Chattishgarh 165 in 38.4 overs (Kant Singh 24; Varun Aaron 3/26, Shahbaz Nadeem 3/36).