Celebration time for Rajasthan
The inevitable was delayed like it always happens when the losing side tries to make some sense out of the wreckage.
The inevitable was delayed like it always happens when the losing side tries to make some sense out of the wreckage. On Friday, the Plate semifinal between Rajasthan and Orissa wasn't any different.
And when the expected result came, after Rajasthan rubbed off the 65-run deficit with a boundary, the crowd's celebrations acquired bacchanalian proportions.
Crackers went off, drummers were summoned, people danced -- there was all the merry-making that one sees when India beat Pakistan.
The fans, however, had to wait for all that till 44 minutes after tea. Prior to that, Orissa, under fire for their wretched batting throughout the match, tried to make up some of the lost ground. It was a shame their skipper and strike bowler Debashish Mohanty (45), in the company of Rashmi Ranjan Parida (67 not out), was giving some batting lessons to their more celebrated batsmen until after lunch.
"Don't touch anything outside the off, all your runs will come. They are bound to bowl loose balls" - this must have haunted all the players after almost every ball in the cordon was being left alone.
Together they made sure Rajasthan batted again. Stats confirm Mohanty's wealth of experience. Out of Mohanty's six boundaries, three came on the leg, while one was straight.
Parida had seven boundaries to his name, most of which came late in the innings, when he was well established. Pankaj Singh, having a dream match, collected three more to take his innings tally to six, and to ten for the match, while Aslam wiped off the remaining two to take his tally to three.
In reply, Rajasthan took all the time, using 25.3 overs to reach the target, and in between losing just one wicket, that too in an unlucky manner, when Dishant Yagnik tried to pull one but played onto his stumps.
Mithun Beerala, another of the imports, remained unbeaten on 41 to see his side through. "I think the team played well. There is no reason why credit should go to only one player," Rajasthan skipper Ajay Jadeja said in reply to question that hinted at his big role in Rajasthan's transformation.
So now, Rajasthan, whose each player will be richer by Rs 100,000, face winners from the Saurashtra-MP match, in the final.
It has little consequence apart from pride but Jadeja, who was impressive as a captain here -- he bowled all his bowlers in short effective bursts and took a big gamble when he preferred the green wicket -- is keen on maintaining the winning momentum.
Orissa (1st innings): 94
Rajasthan (1st innings): 250
Orissa (2nd innings): Parida not out 67, Behera c Doru b Aslam 6, Pradhan lbw Pankaj 26, Mohanty c Yagnik b Pankaj 45, Satpathy c Yagnik b Pankaj 0, Mangaraj lbw Aslam 0. Extras: 16 (b-6, lb-3, nb-6, w-1) Total (in 91.5 overs) 220.
Fall of wkts: 1-13, 2-24, 3-28, 4-44, 5-91, 6-97, 7/144, 8/202, 9/209.
Bowling: Gill 19-8-31-0, Pankaj 29-10-65-6, Kanwat 7-2-13-0, Afroz 16-3-39-1, Aslam 15.5-3-44-3, Jadeja 5-0-19-0.
Rajasthan (2nd innings): Beerala not out 41, Yagnik b Mangaraj 9, Gehlot not out 11. Extras 7 (lb-1, nb-6). Total (for 1 wicket in 25.3 overs)68.
Fall of wkts: 1-22.
Bowling: Mohanty 6-2-16-0, Mangaraj 7-1-25-1, Behera 4-26-0, Satpathy 4.3-2-11-0, Saigal 4-1-9-0.