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Himachal deliver KO blow

Delhi and Himachal have qualified for the knockout stage of the T20 Inter-state tournament from the North Zone.

india Updated: Oct 26, 2009 01:06 IST
Subhash Rajta

Delhi and Himachal have qualified for the knockout stage of the T20 Inter-state tournament from the North Zone. Delhi made the cut beating Services by eight runs in their last league match, and Himachal put it across Punjab to storm through on Sunday.

While Delhi going through is on expected lines, Himachal making the cut, and that too ahead of Delhi, is something the upcoming team will be really proud of. "It's a huge achievement for us to beat Delhi and Punjab and be the top team of the zone. We have put in a huge effort to reach this position and I am sure it's going to take the confidence of our team sky high," said Himachal's coach Rajdeep Kalsi.

Struggling to hold back his emotions, the coach said, "I can say that we are now as good a team as anyone else in the shorter versions and now we want to achieve similar standing in the Ranji Trophy," he said.

For Himachal, it was a virtual semifinal against Punjab for a spot in the knockouts. And the men from the hills stood up to the challenge and eked out a fine 12-run victory. Skipper Paras Dogra laid the foundation of victory with his unbeaten 58 run knock and a 72-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Mukesh Sharma (41). The duo tore into the Punjab attack with some fabulous strokes in the last five overs, helping Himachal put up a fighting 165 on the board.

Punjab openers responded aggressively and gathered 50 runs without loss in no time. Ravi Inder Singh (51) was middling the ball well. But then Sarandeep Singh choked the flow of runs, and picked up two wickets to peg back the advancing Punjab.