Bengaluru: Delhi cruised into the final of the Vijay Hazare cricket tournament as they rode on Unmukt Chand's unbeaten 80 to register a six-wicket victory over Himachal Pradesh in the first semi-final here on Saturday.
After Delhi captain Gautam Gambhir chose to field, his bowlers restricted Himachal to 200 for nine in 50 overs at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Leading the side, Bipul Sharma top-scored for Himachal with an aggressive 45-ball 51, which was studded with four boundaries and three sixes, including a huge one that landed on one of the stands. Sharma was ably supported by Mayank Dagar, who put on a 57-run partnership for the eighth wicket, after Himachal were precariously placed at 131 for seven.
Chasing a modest total of 201, Delhi were helped by Chand's 86-ball knock, which was decorated with seven boundaries and two sixes.
India opener Shikhar Dhawan was dismissed for 39 by Bipul Sharma, who had the southpaw foxed by his orthodox left-arm spin. Dhawan took 53 balls to score those runs and found the fence on five occasions.
Gautam Gambhir, Rishabh Pant and Milind Kumar made 16, 18 and 10, respectively, before Chand and Nitish Rana (19 not out) guided Delhi past Himachal's total with 8.5 overs to spare. No Himachal bowler impressed as they could only get four wickets with Ronit More, Nikhil Gangta and Bipul Sharma bagging one each. Chand was declared Man of the Match.
Earlier, sent into bat, Himachal began their innings on a poor note, losing two wickets when the score was just 32 runs in 10.3 overs. Opener A K Bains was unfortunately run out for six and then Robin Bist, the one-drop batsman, made six before being caught by Rishabh Pant off Navdeep Amarjeet Saini's bowling.
P S Chopra (33), in the company of Paras Dogra, put on a 45-run partnership for the third wicket. Rishi Dhawan also soon departed, having made nine in 21 balls. The Himachal all-rounder was cleaned up by Delhi all-rounder Pawan Negi, which left his team in the lurch, struggling at 98 for four in 30.1 overs.
After the departure of Chopra, Dogra also did not last long and walked back into the pavilion after Chand latched on to a catch off Negi's delivery. Nikhil Gangta followed suit after scoring 13 runs off 22 balls.
Next to follow was Sumeet Verma, who was stumped by Rishabh Pant off Rana for two. Struggling at 131 for seven, Bipul played a captain's knock and stitched a 57-run partnership with Mayank J Dagar for the eighth wicket. The partnership was broken by Subodh Bhati when Dagar gave a catch to Negi after scoring 21 in 33 balls. Sharma was the last man out after Chand took a catch off Ishant Sharma. Bhati, Negi and Rana scalped two wickets each, while Saini and Ishant bagged one wicket each.