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Gaikwad’s four centuries, Iyer’s all-round show, and Dhawan hits all-time low

Last updated on 15 Dec 2021 | 03:58 PM
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Gaikwad’s four centuries, Iyer’s all-round show, and Dhawan hits all-time low

Here are some stats from the league stages of the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2021-22

At the end of the league stage, Himachal (12 points) and Vidarbha (12 points) from Group A, Tamil Nadu (12 points) and Karnataka (12 points) from Group B, Saurashtra (20 points) and Uttar Pradesh (12 points) from Group C, Kerala (16 points) and Madhya Pradesh (16 points) from Group D, Services (16 points) and Rajasthan (16 points) from Group E and Tripura (20 points) from the Plate group have qualified for the Pre-Quarter-final and Quarter-final stages of the 2021-22 Vijay Hazare Trophy (VHT). Among the Elite group teams, Saurashtra are the only team to be undefeated.

Despite Ruturaj Gaikwad scoring over 600 runs with four centuries in five innings, Maharashtra failed to make it to the next phase of the tournament. Among other prominent miss-outs, defending champions Mumbai are also one and Punjab’s run ended as their last match of the league resulted in a tie. Last year’s semi-finalists, Gujarat also endured a torrid run as they ended up fifth among their group.

With Gaikwad and Iyer taking the limelight, here are a few notable stats from the league stage of the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2021-22:

Gaikwad joins Kohli, Shaw and Padikkal

Since the start of the second leg of the IPL 2021 in September, Gaikwad has just been piling on runs for fun. Before the start of VHT, Gaikwad had scored over 250 runs at an average of 51.8 in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021-22. He continued his merry way in the 2021-22 season of VHT as well. In fact, he owned it. In five innings of VHT this season, Gaikwad’s score read: 168, 21, 124, 154* & 136 (recent first). He became the third batsmen after Virat Kohli in 2008-09, Prithvi Shaw and Devdutt Padikkal in the 2020-21 season to hit four centuries in a season, the most by a batsman.

His last score of 168 against Chandigarh also registered the highest score for Maharashtra in List-A as well as VHT. He is the only Maharashtra batsman to hit 150+ scores in List-A.

Venkatesh Iyer puts an all-round show

Another name and one of the hottest contenders for a spot in the Indian limited-overs side, Venkatesh Iyer has had a season to remember. With two centuries in five innings, the all-rounder amassed 349 runs at an average of 69.8 and strike rate of 136.9. To go with it, he bagged eight wickets and was the second highest wicket taker for Madhya Pradesh. Since 2002-03 VHT, he is only the fourth MP all-rounder to score 200+ runs and bag five-plus wickets in a season of VHT. To emboss more, the only one to score 250+ runs and pick up five-plus wickets in a single season.

Ankit Rajpoot becomes the third UP bowler to a claim a hat-trick

In the last match of the league stage for Uttar Pradesh against Haryana, Rajpoot picked up his career best List-A spell (5/33). His previous best spell of 4/36 came against Punjab in the 2019-20 season of VHT. To top that, his career best spell involved a hat-trick as well. In the 39th over, Rajpoot first dismissed Harshal Patel, followed by Tinu Kundu and Nitesh Hooda to complete a hat-trick and put an end to Haryana’s innings. By virtues of that, Rajpoot became the third UP bowler to bag a hat-trick in List-A and VHT. Ashish Zaidi against MP in the 1996-97 season of VHT was the first and prior to Rajpoot, Shivam Mavi against Saurashtra in the 2018-19 season was the second.

Dhawan undergoes a horrendous season

It is just a year and two months away from the 2023 ODI World Cup in India and every season of VHT is an opportunity to prove yourself in the domestic circuit. However, Shikhar Dhawan who is one of the contenders for the opening spot alongside Rohit has hit rock bottom this season. In five innings this season, Dhawan has scored 56 runs at an average of 11.2. Across the seasons of VHT, this is the lowest he has averaged in a season. In the 2019-20 season, he averaged 18.6, the lowest then.

Punjab’s first tie in List-A saw their exit in the league stage

Heading into the last match of league stages of VHT 2021-22, Punjab were on 12 points with a net run rate of +1.086. On the other hand, Rajasthan with 16 points were ahead of them. However, a loss by 16 runs for Rajasthan against Services had opened doors for Punjab to qualify ahead of them. But, following a tie against Goa, Punjab ended up with 14 points. This was the first ever tie in List-A cricket for Punjab. In 174 matches, they have won 119 matches, lost 48, tied one and six have been no results.

Tamil Nadu succumb to their second lowest score

The champions of Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy 2021-22, had already qualified for the Quarter-final stages heading into the last league match. But, they had an opportunity to extend their lead and step into the business end of the tournament with a huge win after they restricted Baroda for 112 in the first innings. However, the outcome was different. Baroda decimated the Tamil Nadu batting unit to attain a 41-run victory as they were bundled out for 73. This is their second lowest score in List-A cricket. Their lowest came against Hyderabad in the 1993-94 season.

In addition, this is the lowest total defended by a team in VHT since the 2002-03 season. Previously, Jharkhand in 2017 had defended 125 against Saurashtra at Eden Gardens (Complete 50-over).

Few other notable stats:

Abhishek Sharma scored an unbeaten 169 against Services in Ranchi, which is the highest score of this season and the highest score for Punjab in List-A cricket.

Gujarat scored 363/6 against Vidarbha at Brabourne stadium, the highest of this season. This was Gujarat’s highest List-A total and the first 350+ total against Vidarbha in List-A.

With a 6-wicket haul against Jharkhand, Chama Milind became the first Hyderabad bowler to bag 6-wicket haul twice in List-A cricket.

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