Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2013-14, North Zone April 4, 2014

Ishant, Gambhir lift Delhi to top

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ishant Sharma's 4 for 9 and an unbeaten 75 from Gautam Gambhir helped Delhi pull away with a four-point lead in the North Zone table after their nine-wicket win over Haryana in Chandigarh.

A 103-run, second-wicket partnership between Avi Barot and Guntashveer Singh helped Haryana recover from an early setback after they opted to bat. Both batsmen scored fifties with Barot scoring 51 off 42 and Guntashveer slamming four sixes and three fours in his 49-ball 64. Then the slide began for Haryana, as the set pair were out in successive overs. Ishant compounded their problems, striking twice in the 17th over and once in the 19th, to keep Haryana to 140 for 7.

Delhi's experienced opening pair of Gambhir and Virender Sehwag shared a 121-run partnership, their third fifty-plus stand in four games, to ensure Delhi coasted to victory in the 18th over. Sehwag fell for 49 but Gambhir carried on, finishing with a 53-ball 75 that had seven fours and three sixes.

Medium-pacer Akshay Chauhan turned in 4 for 16 to help Himachal Pradesh beat Jammu & Kashmir by 17 runs in Mohali.

Chauhan built on the early strikes from Vikramjeet Malik, dismissing Parvez Rasool and Hardeep Singh in successive overs to leave J&K at 45 for 5 in the 10th over in chase of 128. Chauhan ended J&K's brief resistance, breaking a 48-run stand between Pranav Gupta and Abid Nabi in the 19th over. Rishi Dhawan's two wickets in the last over brought an end to J&K's innings.

Earlier, Chauhan was also involved in a handy 29-run, eighth-wicket partnership that helped Himachal reach 127 for 8. Dhawan's 44 had ensured the side kept scoring runs in spite of losing wickets but after he fell, the side quickly slid to 98 for 7 in the 18th over. Waseem Raza and Rasool were the most successful bowlers for J&K, taking five wickets between them.

Harbhajan Singh scored a 50-ball 78 and put on 99 with Himanshu Chawla to lay the platform for Punjab to beat Services by 9 runs in Mohali. Harbhajan and Chawla came together with Punjab, who had chosen to bat, 35 for 3 after seven overs. Harbhajan was out in the 18th over, after striking nine fours and four sixes, while Chawla was dismissed in the final over for a 34-ball 50, his first-ever T20 fifty.

Chasing 155, Services lost wickets regularly but stayed in the hunt thanks to Soumya Swain's 46 and a number of starts from the other batsmen. In all, seven of their batsmen got into double figures, but only two made more than 20, and that proved crucial in Punjab holding on to win. Rahul Sharma was Punjab's most successful bowler, with figures of 4 for 21 in his four overs.

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