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Important to finish on a high: Raina

With the series coming to a close, Suresh Raina reckoned the final T20I at Cape Town would be a crucial one to take a good momentum along in the series ahead

It has been two months since India arrived here in Cape Town, a place where they started off their long South African tour. After three Test matches, 6 One-Day Internationals and two T20Is, India will now look to end the series on a high and go back home with a 2-1 series wrap. With the T20I series leveled 1-1 and both sides looking eager for a win, Suresh Raina expected the last T20I in Cape Town to be a closely fought contest.

“We have to finish really well,” Raina said. “Our captain Virat Kohli is such that he doesn’t take anything for granted and that will be our approach in the final. Inputs have been given to everyone in the team by the team management and we need to go out there and enjoy ourselves. We need to do well in all the departments tomorrow and we will look for a win.”

Raina also applauded South Africa’s efforts in the second T20I wherein they chased 189 with 8 balls to spare. JP Duminy and Heinrich Klaasen blew away the target with ease and India were vary of South Africa’s batting exploits. “They played really well in the previous game. JP Duminy took up the responsibility and finished well for the side. Klaasen was great too, but the dew made a lot of difference. We know what we have to do and have our plans in place. It is going to be an exciting game tomorrow. Hopefully we can enjoy ourselves and get the trophy home.”

On India’s batting front, Raina has been promoted at No.3 ahead of captain ViratKohli. Raina has got off to decent starts in both games and helped the team to get off to a flier. This according to the left-handed batsman was a strategy by the team to go big in the first six overs of the game. “Virathas showed that faith in mein the last two games and we have been able to dominate their bowlers in the first six overs. In T20Is it is really important to start well. You have to play your shots at the top of the order. The first six overs are crucial. When you have batting depth in the middle-order, you need to take your chance. I have been asked to play my natural game and will continue to look to give good starts for the team.”

Raina didn’t delve too much into team combinations when asked but reckoned it will be an exciting game come Saturday. “I think 150 is the average total in Cape Town. We will go tomorrow and have a look at the pitch and then take it from there. We will look to watch the ball and hit in the right directions. I am sure we will do well.”

Anand Subramaniam
Anand Subramaniam

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Impressive Andhra outclass Delhi

Saurashtra edge out Baroda in the quarter-final.

Andhra cantered to the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2017-18 semi-final with a six-wicket win over Delhi while Saurashtra triumphed over Baroda in the quarter-finals.

After pacer Siva Kumar’s 4/29 helped bowl out Delhi for a meager 111, the Andhra batsmen chased down the target comfortably at the Palam ground in New Delhi.

While Chirag Jani’s maiden four-for helped set-up the game in Saurashtra’s favour; Avi Barot (82) and Arpit Vasavada’s (45*) determined knocks helped overhaul the 248-run target with eight balls to spare.
Karnataka will take on Maharashtra in the first semi-final on February 24th and Andhra will face-off against Saurashtra in the second semi-final on February, 25th in New Delhi.

QF3: Saurashtra vs Baroda: With a convincing win over Baroda, Saurashtra booked themselves a place in the semi-finals of the one-day tournament.

Debutant Chetan Sakariya claimed Kedar Devdhar to leave Baroda on 23 for one after Cheteshwar Pujara elected to field in the must-win game. However, Aditya Waghmode and Urvil Patel stitched a partnership to keep the innings on course. Jani ended the blossoming stand by accounting for the opener to leave the team on 82 for three. The breakthrough caused a middle-order collapse that left Baroda reeling at 105 for seven. While Patel was removed by Prerak Mankad and Vishnu Solanki; Jani claimed Deepak Hooda, Swapnil Singh, and Atit Sheth to put Baroda on top.

Krunal Pandya however, stood stoically at one end and found an able ally in No 9 batsman, Soeeb Tai. The duo revived the innings with a 97-run stand to take Baroda past the 200-run mark. With the team on 202, the middle-order batsman was adjudged caught behind when his bat had hit the ground. Tai then carried the innings forward with Lukman Meriwala to set the opposition a 248-run target. The lower-order batsman remained unbeaten on 72 as he kept the innings from folding. 

Chasing a respectable total, Saurashtra opener Samarth Vyas was sent back for 20 by Vishnu Solanki while Robin Uthappa was run out 25 runs later. Barot and Pujara then forged a 102-run partnership to shift the momentum in the team’s favour. 

However, a bit after the flourishing stand was ended by Sheth with the wicket of the Saurashtra skipper, Barot was sent back by Rishi Arothe leaving Saurashtra on 160 for four. In the bowler’s next over, Vasavada was dropped on three by Vishnu Solanki. The missed chance proved to be expensive for Baroda as the batsman went on to anchor the team to the finish line with an unbeaten 43-ball 45-run knock.

After Vasavada’s 21-run stand with Mankad, he stitched a 40-run partnership with Jani to keep the innings in the fray. After Jani departed swinging the bat at Sheth, the bowler also claimed Kamlesh Makwana a bit later to leave the team on 231 for seven. With Shaurya Sanandia at the other end, the middle-order batsman took his team into the semi-finals.

Click here for scorecard 

Click here for Match Highlights 

QF4: Andhra vs Delhi: After finishing as finalists in the Ranji Trophy followed by a title win in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Delhi were beaten in the Vijay Hazare Trophy quarter-final by Andhra.

The Delhi line-up caved in to the Siva Kumar-led attack in 32.1 overs. The pacer rattled Unmukt Chand’s stumps with eight runs on the board and followed up with the key wicket of Gautam Gambhir to leave Delhi on 18 for two. Fifteen runs later he bowled Hiten Dalal to push Delhi on the back-foot at 33 for three. Nitish Rana was then trapped lbw by Ayyappa Bandaru with just 40 runs on the board.

Rishabh Pant then joined Dhruv Shorey in the middle in an effort to stabilize the innings, but 36 runs later, the partnership was ended by Bhargav Bhatt. The bowler had Shorey stumped for 21. A bit later, Siva Kumar accounted for Pant leaving Delhi on 97 for six. Pradeep Sangwan was sent back by Naren Reddy while Bhatt claimed Ishant and Navdeep Saini and Bandaru dismissed Pawan Negi to wrap-up the Delhi innings.

Chasing the sub-par total, KS Bharat was removed for naught by Ishant Sharma while Hanuma Vihari was castled by Saini leaving Andhra on 11 for two. Ashiwn Hebber and Ricky Bhui then helped the team to 65 until the latter was sent back by Negi. After he had helped add another 35 runs to the total with B Sumanth, Hebber was bowled by Rana leaving the team on 100 for four.

Sumanth and Ravi Teja then took Andhra to victory.

Click here for scorecard


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