Rajasthan survived the lethal spell of Darshan Nalkande to post an exciting three-wicket victory against Vidarbha in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy Twenty20 Cricket tournament at the Emerald Heights International School ground in Indore on Monday.
Chasing a modest target of 105, Rajasthan too got off to a poor start and lost two wickets in the first over just like Vidarbha did in the morning.
Young speedster Nalkande was on fire and captured four top-order wickets to reduce Rajasthan to 37 for 4 in the fifth over, raising the hopes of a dramatic Vidarbha win.
The 22-year-old Nalkande, who was part of the Kings XI Punjab team during the IPL held in UAE a couple of months ago, used his IPL stint to good effect with a fine mix of pace and swing. The tall pacer finished with an impressive figure of 3-1-20-4.
After the deadly three-over spell from Nalkande, Akshay Wakhare swung into action. The experienced off-spinner struck in back-to-back overs and sent back Rajasthan captain Ashok Menaria (3) and Ankit Lamba (16). With Rajasthan tottering at 54 for 6 in 9.1 overs, it looked like Vidarbha will defend their low score and turn the tables on their opponents.
However, Arijit Gupta (41 not out: 23 balls, 2×4, 4×6) and Deepak Chahar (10) shattered the hopes of Vidarbha with a fighting partnership of 44 runs.
Although Deepak Chahar scored only ten runs he offered solid support to Gupta, who played a blinder of an innings to seal the fate of Vidarbha.
Earlier, two of the most successful bowlers in the thirteenth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) Deepak Chahar and Rahul Chahar continued their remarkable form to bundle out Vidarbha for a paltry score of 104.
Put in to bat by Rajasthan skipper Ashok Menaria, Vidarbha got off to a disastrous start as on the very first ball of the match dashing opener Jeetesh Sharma was run out. Three balls later, fellow opener Atharva Taide was also dismissed. The left-handed opening batsman struck a four but became the first of the three victims of Deepak Chahar, who plays for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL.
These two first-over setbacks incidentally set the tone for the day as Vidarbha never recovered from the early shocks and lost their wickets at regular intervals thereafter.
Vidarbha skipper Ganesh Satish (10 off 16 balls) tried to steady the rocking ship but he too could not stay long at the crease.
Only Siddhesh Wath managed to arrest the slide as the gutsy youngster hit 31 off 45 balls which included a couple of boundaries and six.
All-rounder Apoorv Wankhade (13), Nachiket Bhute (10) and Yash Thakur (10) managed to reach double digits but failed to score big against a tidy Rajasthan bowling attack.
Vidarbha (Playing XI): Nachiket Bhute, Akshay Wakhare, Apoorv Wankhade, Ganesh Satish (captain), Jitesh Sharma (WK), Akshay Karnewar, Rushabh Rathod, Siddhesh Wath, Atharva Taide, Darshan Nalkande, Yash Thakur.
Rajasthan (Playing XI): Mahipal Lomror, Manender Narender Singh (WK), Rajesh Bishnoi, Ankit Lamba, Ashok Menaria (captain), Arjit Gupta, Deepak Chahar, Rahul Chahar, Aniket Choudhary, Ravi Bishnoi, Khaleel Ahmed.
Vidarbha 104 all out in 19.3 overs (Siddhesh Wath 31, Apoorv Wankhade 13, Ganesh Satish 10, Nachiket Bhute 10, Yash Thakur 10, Akshay Karnewar 9; Deepak Chahar 3-10, Rahul Chahar 3-27, Aniket Choudhary 2-18, Ravi Bishnoi 1-17) lost to Rajasthan 106 for 7 in 14.3 overs (Arijit Gupta 41 not out, Ankit Lamba 16, Ravi Bishnoi 15, Rajesh Bishnoi 15, Deepak Chahar 10; Darshan Nalkande 4-20, Akshay Wakhare 3-33) by three wickets.