Vijay Hazare Trophy 2018: Pawan Negi steers Delhi to victory
Pawan Negi broke Jharkhand's hearts and brought a sigh of relief to Delhi captain Gautam Gambhir, to set up a thrilling finale between historic rivals Delhi and Mumbai. With 51 runs needed from just 2 wickets, Negi proved his worth to the team by playing one of his best knocks on the domestic circuit. Delhi - India's capital city and Mumbai - India's financial capital, have a healthy rivalry on many fronts, cricket being one of the front-runners.
After Mumbai won yesterday's semi-final by the VJD method, Delhi's captain Gautam Gambhir won the toss and chose to field in today's semifinal. Delhi's opening bowlers Navdeep Saini and Kulwant Khejroliya took wickets upfront, sending half of Jharkhand's lineup in the first 25 overs, with the score at 74.
Virat Singh got Jharkhand out of a mess with the help of Shahbaz Nadeem, taking the team score to 199. Pranshu Vijayan also took two wickets for Delhi. Delhi lost early wickets but had a strong chance while Nitish Rana was still in. But Jharkhand's captain Ishan Kishan's gamble of saving nine of Shahbaz Nadeem's overs for the second half of Delhi's innings proved right as he got two big wickets of Nitish Rana and Subodh Bhati. Anand Singh (with three wickets) and Varun Aaron (with two wickets) also did a good job with the ball after one of their main bowlers Rahul Shukla got injured after bowling just one over.
Pawan Negi, however, stabilized things with a great mix of aggression and caution and found an able partner in the form of the best bowler of the day - Navdeep Saini. Negi scored 42 not out off 49 balls with 5 fours and one sixer. Navdeep scored 13 not out off 38 balls, as Delhi won the match by 2 wickets with just 2 balls to spare. Negi, who was part of India's 2016 Asia Cup squad, represented India in only one match against UAE in the Asia Cup T20 played just before the ICC tournament.
Mumbai under Shreyas Iyer and Delhi under Gautam Gambhir will face off in Saturday's final. Mumbai and Delhi, two of the best teams on the domestic circuit, have won two editions and one edition of the Vijay Hazare Trophy respectively. Delhi also won the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament played earlier this year.