Himachal’s upset win over Punjab throw race open

P Khanduri (70) and Nakul Sharma (71) struck half-centuries each as Himachal Pradesh shocked Punjab and registered an impressive seven-wicket victory over the North India giants in their own backyard in the Vinoo Mankad cricket tournament held at PCA Stadium on Friday. Opener Khanduri gave a brisk start to the team while Nakul's impressive knock ensured Himachal never faltered in their run chase against Punjab.

Earlier, Punjab won the toss and elected to bat first. However, nothing went their way and the team was all out for 232 in 49.4 overs. The only silver lining in Punjab's innings was the second wicket stand of 80 runs between Jaskaranveer Singh (67) and Bhupinder Singh (40) that lent some solidarity to Punjab's total. Their stand took the team to 126 for 2 in 26.3 overs.

The other batsmen failed to keep the momentum going and apart from skipper Mohit Handa's quickfire 40 off 44 deliveries, nobody was able to find his feet on the crease. As a result, Punjab were bundled out for 232 which was never going to be enough on a placid track. Arjun Sharma picked up three wickets for 61 runs while Akash Bashisht also bowled well to take two wickets for Himachal.

Chasing the target, Himachal were given a sound start by their openers Ankush Dhariwal (36) and Khanduri, as the duo hammered 69 runs off just 12.3 overs for the opening stand. Another fruitful partnership of 74 runs ensued between Khanduri and Nakul as Himachal firmly took control over the match. Khanduri's knock came off 79 deliveries and included six boundaries.

After's Khanduri's dismissal, Nakul found an able ally in Ankit Kalsi and they added 60 runs for the third wicket to take the score to 203 for 3 in 41.3 overs. Nakul was bowled by Karan Kaila for 71, which came off 90 balls and contained six well-timed boundaries.

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