Chasing a target of nearly 300 felt like a stroll in the park for Punjab, as Prabhsimran Singh showed the way for his team against Vidarbha in the 2021 Vijay Hazare Trophy. The 20-year-old scored a match-winning 167 against an experienced Vidarbha bowling attack to help his team climb to second place on the points table after four games.
Fielding first on the day, Punjab’s opening bowlers looked ineffective, as opposition captain Faiz Fazal and star batsman Ganesh Satish stitched together a partnership of over 100 runs with the skipper getting a century. Harpreet Brar however proved to be a spanner in the works of Vidarbha, as he picked up the wickets of opener Sanjay Raghunath and Ganesh Satish to get Punjab back in the game. Captain Fazal was also dismissed shortly after, thanks to a smart catch by Prabhsimran off the bowling of Siddharth Kaul.
Brar continued to cause problems for the batting side, as Vidarbha’s middle-order batsmen Aditya Sarvate and Nachiket Bhute were sent packing for paltry scores. The 25-year-old Punjab Kings spinner ended the game with figures of 4/43 in nine overs, as Vidarbha set a challenging target of 291 on the day at the Holkar Stadium in Indore.
In reply, Punjab looked a bit shaky as opener Abhishek Sharma and captain Mandeep Singh were dismissed cheaply. The team continued to lose wickets at regular intervals but Prabhsimran remained solid, keeping his side in the hunt. Unfazed by the lack of support from his peers, the youngster continued to play his fearless brand of cricket as Punjab kept chipping away at that total.
Nachiket Bhute suffered the worst of Prabhsimran’s onslaught, taking a beating by conceding 65 runs in his nine overs. The 20-year-old Punjab Kings wicket-keeper batsman scored 13 fours and nine sixes in his innings as he paved the way for a famous win for his state team. While none of his teammates crossed even 35, but Prabhsimran stood tall to give Punjab their second win of the 2021 Vijay Hazare Trophy. The win also relegated Vidarbha to bottom spot in the group, virtually knocking them out of the competition.
Shahrukh shines again
In one of the other games of the competition, Tamil Nadu picked up a comfortable 67 run win over Jharkhand. The team were in a spot of bother at 86/4 but Shahrukh Khan played a calculated innings to ensure Tamil Nadu finished the innings strong. The hard-hitting batsman scored at nearly a run a ball to get his second consecutive fifty in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Shahrukh scored three fours and three sixes in his innings of 51, as Tamil Nadu put up a strong score of 266.
This was Shahrukh’s third fifty in four games, who seems to have continued his good form from the 2021 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, and seems ready to take his VIVO Indian Premier League opportunity with both hands come April.