FORMER RANJI cricketer Rizwan Shamshad always remained the most reliable batsman in the middle order for Uttar Pradesh before calling it quits his First Class career in 2007.
His experience of playing long innings on the pitch of the Chowk Stadium in the past proved worthy on Thursday, when he slammed a fine half-century to help Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) enter semi-finals of the 56th Sahara City Homes Sheesh Mahal Cricket Tournament.
Rizwan struck 59 in 82 balls with four hits to the fence. He along with Mayank Tehlan (34, 30b, 3x4) added 99 runs for the third-wicket. With two wins already in their pocket in the four-team Pool 'A' of the tournament, ONGC had no difficulty in outplaying Pakistani outfits Karachi Jelani Tigers' by 39 runs in their last league match. Right-arm seamer Vikramjeet Malik turned out to be the wrecker-in-chief, bagging 5/32 to demolish the rivals for 174 in 35.1 overs. Varun Sood and Saurabh Kumar shared four wickets between them.
Consolation win for UP
LOCAL CHALLENGERS Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) finally made their presence felt in the tournament, carving out a three-wicket against defending champions Air India, at the KD Singh 'Babu' Stadium here.
UPCA after losing two back-to-back matches appeared a bit happy for saving their pride, but it didn't make any difference for Air India, which managed to qualify for the semi-finals as the second team from Pool 'A'. Needing 231 to win in the stipulated 40 overs, UPCA had usual start, losing three quick wickets for just 42 on the board. But, it was talented Parminder Singh, who changed the fortunes of the side with a fine knock of 76 in 77 balls with the help of eight fours and a six.
Both Parminder and skipper Tahir Abbas played sensibly and went on adding 131 runs for the fourth-wicket, which proved important at the end. Tahir too struck fine 55 in 66 balls, which contained three hits to the fence.
ONGC 213 for 5 in 40 overs (Rizwan Shamshad 59, Sandeep Sharma 39, Mayank Tehlan 34, Mohd Saif 30, Gagan Khoda 26) beat Karachi Jelani Tigers', Pakistan 174 in 35.1 overs (Afsar Nawaz 87, Fahadullah Khan, 36, Vikramjeet Malik 5 for 32, Varun Sood 2 for 27, Saurabh Kumar 2 for 40).
Air India 230 for 9 in 40 overs (Deepak Joon 64, Shafiq Khan 44, Naman Sharma 40 not out, Akhilesh Kushwaha 4 for 42, Bharat Awasthi 2 for 41) lost to UPCA 233 for 7 in 39.5 overs (Parminder Singh 76, Tahir Abbas 55, Mritunjay Yadav 27, Ashish Yadav 20, Iresh Saxena 2 for 33,Ajit Chandela 2 for 45).