Parthiv Patel’s breezy, stroke-filled half-century (76, 60b, 10×4, 1×6) and Priyank Panchal’s unhurried knock (80, 91b, 8×4, 1×6) carried Gujarat to a commanding six-wicket win over Delhi in the Vijay Hazare Trophy quarterfinal here on Sunday.
Chasing 225, Gujarat was home and dry with more than 11 overs to spare.
On a slightly two-paced wicket, skipper Parthiv started with a slashed four over the slip cordon off speedster Subodh Bhati.
But once he had his eye in, there were a delightful array of shots.
He scored as many as eight 4s in his first 50 runs, with Bhati and fellow paceman Simarjeet Singh repeatedly pulled and driven.
At the other end, Panchal was watchful but quick to pounce on the bad deliveries. A crisp drive to the cover fence got him going before he came up with two delightful flicks to the mid-wicket boundary.
Simarjeet did induce a false stroke when Panchal was on 28, but Nitish Rana dropped a sitter at mid-on.
It was a pity that neither went on to make a century; Parthiv caught at short mid-wicket after he failed to keep a flick down, while Panchal picked the third-man fielder following a lazy shot.
But by then, just over 50 runs were left, and the 2015-16 champion found a steady hand in Dhruv Raval (34 n.o., 46b, 1×4).
Earlier, Chintan Gaja proved Parthiv’s decision to bowl first right by claiming both Delhi openers with just 17 on board. Shikhar Dhawan was sent back for nought, as he failed to clear mid-off after advancing down the pitch.
Dhruv Shorey and Nitish Rana brought some stability with a 90-run stand. Skipper Shorey, in particular, batted beautifully (91, 109b, 7×4, 2×6), with his standout shots being two maximums off Axar Patel over long-off and fine-leg late in the innings.
But his dismissal in the 38th over — caught at short fine-leg — denied Delhi the finishing kick that was required and it duly fell apart.
The scores: Delhi 223 in 49 overs (Dhruv Shorey 91, Nitish Rana 33, Chintan Gaja 3/27, Arzan Nagwaswalla 3/75) lost to Gujarat 225/4 in 37.5 overs (Parthiv Patel 76, Priyank Panchal 80, Dhruv Raval 34 n.o.). Note: Match reduced to 49 overs following a 25-minute rain delay during the Delhi innings. Target revised to 225.