CHETESHWAR PUJARA is the new kid on the blocks. He has the ability to gel his batting with all form of the cricket, especially one-dayers. His experience of hitting the ball quickly in 'fata-fat' cricket at the just concluded Indian Premier League proved worthy for the Indian Oil, which outplayed Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) by 44 runs to make it to the final of the 56th Sahara City Homes Sheesh Mahal Cricket Tournament here on Monday.
The young opener smacked a fine unbeaten 109 in 119 balls with the help of eight fours and three mighty sixes as Indian Oil first mounted 273/3 in the stipulated 40 overs. And then got ONGC out for 229 in 36.4 overs, at the KD Singh 'Babu' Stadium.
ONGC players were all smiling when IOC opener Ajinkya Rahane edged a simple catch to Suhail Sharma off Vikramjeet Malik in the fourth over.
But, thereafter it was Pujara all-around. And later left-hander Ravikant Shukla took the charge and hammered a fine 63 in just 35 balls with five fours and a six. Aditya Tare's unbeaten 51 in just 26 balls with three fours and equal number of sixes in the slog overs of the innings added potential to IOC's total.
In reply, ONGC didn't lose their concentration and openers Radhey Shyam Gupta (60, 7x4) and Sandeep Sharma (15) added 50 runs in just six overs. But, later the wickets started tumbling on regular intervals. Skipper Rizwan Shamshad hammered highest 73 in 69 balls with five hits to the fence.
Left-arm orthodox spinner Abhishek Raut continued his good run with ball, bagging 4/44, while Anand Rajan 3/45 and B Shirke 2 for 41 also did well.
MUMBAI'S RIZVI Builders notched up a thrilling four-run win against Air India to set up a title clash with Indian Oil. Needing 251 to win in the stipulated 40 overs, Air India fell short by four runs, at the Chowk Stadium.
Deepak Joon remained the top scorer for the losers, hitting 80 in 62 balls with the help of five fours and four sixes, but could not avoid a defeat for his side. Ajit Chandela (40) and Shafiq Khan (36) were the other main run getters.
Paresh Patel was the start performer for the winners, bagging 4/32, while Karan Sharma and SP Singh shared four wickets between them. Earlier, Karan Sharma too proved his worth with willow, hitting 55 in 39 balls, containing six fours and two sixes as Rizvi Builders posted a challenging 250/9 after being sent to bat first. Prashant Gupta (44), Deepak Yadav (31) and BBCC Mahapatra (28) also made useful contributions.
Offie Ajit Chandela took 5/30, while Abid Khan had 2/39. The final will be played on Wednesday, at the KD Singh 'Babu' Stadium.
Indian Oil 273 for 3 in 40 overs (Cheteshwar Pujara 109 not out, Ravikant Shukla 63, Aditya Tare 51 not out) beat ONGC 229 in 36.4 overs (Rizwan Shamshad 73, Radhey Shyam Gupta 60, Abhishek Raut 4 for 44, Anand Rajan 3 for 45, B Shirke 2 for 41).
Rizvi Builders 250 for 9 in 40 overs (Karan Sharma 55, Prashant Gupta 44, Deepak Yadav 31, BBCC Mahapatra 28, Abbas Raza 25, Ajit Chandela 5 for 30, Abid Khan 2 for 39) beat Air India 246 in 40 overs (Deepak Joon 80, Ajit Chandela 40, Shafiq Khan 36, Paresh Patel 4 for 32, SP Singh 2 for 26, Karan Sharma 2 for 32).