In an unusual but successful move, skipper Harbhajan Singh promoted himself to No.3 position and smashed a 50-ball 78, thus playing a pivotal role in Punjab's nine-run win over Services in a North Zone leg match of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy, here on Friday.
While Harbhajan was the top scorer, Himanshu Chawla also hit a quickfire 50 off 34 balls as they enabled Punjab reach a competitive total of 154 for six in their allotted 20 overs.
The hosts then restricted Services to 145 for nine, thanks to leg-spinner Rahul Sharma's impressive bowling figures of 4-0-21-4 and some great work on the field that resulted in three run-outs.
Electing to bat, Punjab lost openers Manan Vohra (5) and Mandeep Singh (0) and Gurkeerat Singh (5) cheaply to be reeling at 35 for three in 6.6 overs, before Harbhajan and Himanshu steadied the boat.
The duo put on a solid 99-run stand for the fourth wicket to bail the team out and steer it towards a respectable total.
Harbhajan's impressive knock included nine fours and four sixes, while Himanshu's innings had five boundaries and a maximum.
In reply, Services had a poor start as they lost as many as four wickets for just 34 runs on the board.
It was captain Yashpal Singh (24) and Soumya Swain (46) who consolidated the position and stitched 67 runs together for the fifth wicket to keep Services' hopes alive.
But just when things were starting to look promising for Services, Rahul Sharma struck to see off Yashpal. And even though Swain continued to slog in the middle, three successive batsmen -- Avishek Sinha (10), Suraj Yadav (10) and Shadab Nazar (10) -- were all run out.
In the end, Services fell short.Brief scores:
Punjab: 154 for six (Harbhajan Singh 78, Himanshu Chawla 50; Arnav Kush 2/37).
Services: 145 for nine (Soumya Swain 46, Yashpal Singh 24; Rahul Sharma 4/21).