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March 6, 2014
Punjab ended the league stage as table-toppers in North Zone with a narrow two-wicket win against Himachal Pradesh in Delhi. Opting to bat, HP put on a competitive 247 for 6 with an unbeaten hundred from Prashant Chopra (109*), and a fifty from Nikhil Gangta (63). Some late hitting from Rishi Dhawan pushed them towards 250.
Two quick wickets from Vikramjeet Malik and one from Dhawan reduced Punjab to 39 for 3, and once Yuvraj Singh fell for 19, they were 63 for 4. However, Gurkeerat Singh struck a stable 83 and Himanshu Chawla (64 off 68) partnered him for a stand of 121. Gurvinder Singh removed both of them and Dhawan took two more, but Punjab were home with two overs to spare.
Rajat Paliwal remedied a top-order collapse with his maiden List A century to propel Services to second place with a comfortable 44-run victory over Delhi at Feroz Shah Kotla. Services were 36 for 3 when he joined with captain Yashpal Singh (75) to put together 168 runs for the fourth wicket. Paliwal's 105 came off 112 balls, with six fours and two sixes and his brisk pace ensured Services not only recovered but also put up a competitive 257.
Gautam Gambhir and Unmukt Chand began the chase well, but Delhi lost three wickets for eight runs and were left at a nervous 59 for 3. Jagrit Anand (69) provided the ballast around which the innings could have been structured but the remaining batsmen could not muster meaningful contributions. All of Services' bowlers claimed wickets, except Paliwal who was employed for only one over.
A quick, unbeaten 42 from Haryana's keeper Nitin Saini, followed by a three-wicket haul from the legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal helped the team to a 44-run victory against Jammu & Kashmir in Delhi, in a match that was reduced to 20 overs per side. Haryana, batting first, lost two quick wickets, but the captain Rahul Dewan propelled the score with a run-a-ball 45. Parvez Rasool picked up three, including the wickets of Dewan and Joginder Sharma off successive deliveries. However, Saini's late 31-ball hustle - which included only two fours - lifted the team to 152 for 5.
J&K's top-order was wrecked by Joginder and Harshal Patel and the rest failed to mount sustained challenge. Waseem Raza, coming in at No. 9, was the top-scorer with 33 and was one of only four batsmen to reach double digits, as Chahal (3 for 18) and Dewan helped clean up the tail to bundle J&K out for 108.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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