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Vijay Hazare Trophy 2021-22: a group stage for the ages

Last updated on 14 Dec 2021 | 03:00 PM
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Vijay Hazare Trophy 2021-22: a group stage for the ages

We look back on the top moments and performances from the group stages of the 2021/22 Vijay Hazare Trophy season that delivered big time

Five days of exhilarating cricketing action at the Vijay Hazare Trophy and we have already witnessed some memorable events. Right from Ruturaj's fantastic show with the bat to some nail-biting thrillers, the tournament has thrown stellar performances.

We take you through a few key talking points from this season so far. 

Ruturaj, Bharat and Venkatesh make it count again

Ruturaj Gaikwad continued from where he left in the IPL and the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The Maharashtra captain scored four centuries in five games to stamp his authority in the 50-over format as well. He is currently the highest run-scorer in the tournament with an aggregate of 603 runs and average of 150.75 in five games.

KS Bharat gained a lot of prominence for his glove work against New Zealand in the whites. He rose to the occasion with two back-to-back 150 plus scores. The wicketkeeper batter scored 161* (109) and 156 (138) against Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat respectively. 

Venkatesh Iyer, meanwhile, hit two tons and a half-century in five games. To back that up, the all-rounder from Madhya Pradesh also picked eight wickets.

Delhi pull off a stunner against Haryana

After being reduced to 47/4 in 17 overs, Delhi were revived by a partnership between Jonty Sidhu and Lalit Yadav. Both batters added 145 runs for the fifth wicket. While Jonty went on to stay unbeaten on a century, Anuj Rawat scored a quickfire 44* (16) to take their total to 267/5 at the end of 50 overs. On the other hand, Haryana were reduced to 70/3 before Shivam Chauhan's scintillating ton alongside Pramod Chandila's innings of 78 put them in a respectable position. 

With 32 runs required off 29 deliveries, it seemed like a cakewalk for Haryana. However, the Delhi bowlers brought themselves back into the game with three wickets in three overs. Followed by the chaos, Mayank Yadav and Pradeep Sangwan scalped four more wickets, conceding just a single in the last couple of overs to steal a victory for Delhi by just 10 runs. 

Pondicherry's spectacular comeback against Tamil Nadu 

Put to bat first, Pondicherry were left reeling at 147/9. Twice in their last three games they had been bowled out for low scores of 53 and 82. However, Fabid Ahmed registered an outstanding knock of 87* (84) batting with number eleven batter Bharath who scored 22. Both took Pondicherry to a total of 225/9 at the end of 50 overs. 

With N Jagadeesan and Dinesh Karthik scoring half-centuries, Tamil Nadu were cruising at one stage with 159/3 from 35 overs. However, the game turned on its head with four wickets falling in the next five overs. The SMAT champions were restricted to 204/9 from 44 overs before rain came into play. Pondicherry won the game by one run via VJD method. 

Kerala register a brilliant run-chase despite batting collapse

Winning the toss and electing to bowl, Kerala reduced Maharashtra to 22/2. However, a century from Ruturaj Gaikwad and Rahul Tripathi's 99 took their total to 291/8 in 50 overs. Kerala were off to an awful start being reduced to 35/4. Skipper Sanju Samson and Jalaj Saxena tried to revive them but got dismissed in their 40s. 

At 120/6 with half the overs exhausted, chasing 292 seemed like a distant reality. That's when Vishnu Vinod and Sijomon Joseph combined for an unbeaten 174-run partnership for the seventh wicket. Vishnu finished with a match-winning ton while Sijomon was unbeaten on 71* as Kerala secured a win in the penultimate over.

Nafees Siddiqui's dream debut for Meghalaya

Picking a wicket on the first ball of your debut is one thing but claiming a six-wicket haul is the stuff of dreams. Nafis Siddiqui, who was playing his first game, got his career off to a flying start. The right-arm medium pacer ended with figures of 6/39 against Manipur to help his team register a 111-run victory. These are the best bowling figures so far in the tournament. 

Defending champions put up a dismal show

The champions from the previous season, Mumbai, failed to replicate their performances in the ongoing edition. With Prithvi Shaw and Sarfaraz Khan in the India 'A' side, their absence hurt Mumbai's prospects at the Vijay Hazare Trophy. While Mumbai managed to defeat Baroda by 13 runs due to the VJD method, they failed to cross the line on four occasions. 

Their worst performance of the season came in the final game where they failed to chase a total of 158, getting bowled out for just 139 runs. None of the batters managed to cross a total of 150 runs from the side in what was a forgettable outing for Mumbai.

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