Gwalior: Western Wizards Jiwaji University Gwalior kept their hopes alive for a semifinal berth in the Toyota University Cricket Championship after a 12-run win against Eastern Eagles Vir Bahadur Singh Purvanchal University, Jaunpur at the Captain Roop Singh Stadium here on Saturday night. This was Gwalior's first win in two matches while Jaunpur have lost both their Group A games.
Chasing a victory target of 153, the Jaunpur boys lost momentum in the middle overs after making a promising start and averaging close to seven-plus at the halfway stage. But Nishant Rai, the man who should have held fort and took the initiative for a win, threw his wicket away in the 9th over. Rai batted well for his 22-ball 29 but was bowled playing a horrible cross batted sweep to give leg-spinner Pawan Dhakad his only wicket in the match. Jaunpur scored 140 for 6 in their 20 overs, all-rounder Praveen Dubey's impressive 62 off 47 balls (five fours and 2 sixes) going in vain.
The departure of skipper Bijendra Singh - bowled by a Prashant Mavai straighter -- in the 15th over started a middle-order collapse and skipper Sohraab Dhaliwal came to the party with his second wicket and a stunning catch at long on to tighten the screws on the Jaunpur boys. Mavai finished with impressive figures of 2 for 18 and was responsible for Gwalior's well-earned victory.
Earlier, a 54-run third wicket partnership between Mavai (36) and Ravi Sikarwar (27) helped Jiwaji post a challenging 152 for 5. Sent in to bat, the home team rode handsome contribution of 31 each from openers Sanat Gurjar and Bharat Anant.
On a good batting strip, with a tinge of grass, the Jiwaji boys were off to a rollicking start scoring at 9 runs an over as the Jaunpur seamers lacked discipline and bowled too many loose balls. Gurjar, who has a fifty in the Toyota University Cricket Championship, and Anant scored with sizzling shots on both sides of the wicket and Jiwaji looked set for a par score of 180.
The run-rate took a dip when seamer Pradeep Jaiswal used the old ball well and struck with intelligent change of pace. Anant holed out to the keeper mistiming a pull. His 29-ball innings contained four boundaries and a six. There was more trouble for the home team when Gurjar unnecessarily ran himself out in the 10th over.
But the stocky Mavai and Sikarwar took control in the middle overs and kept the run-rate moving with some lusty strokes. Their 50-run stand came off just 40 balls and just when Mavai seemed to be shifting gears, left-arm spinner Gulub Nishad struck. Mavai was caught at deep mid-wicket (130/3) and Sikarwar became Jaiswal's second victim, bowled playing across the line.
Although skipper Dhaliwal scored a 10-ball 14, Nishad (2/34) kept the Jiwaji boys under check with a wicket in the 20th over. Jaiswal finished with impressive figures of 2/21 but the real check on the run-rate came from leg-spinner Praveen Dubey, who conceded just 16 off his four overs.