Recent Match Report – Haryana vs Rajasthan Final 2023/24

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Haryana 287 for 8 (Ankit 88, Menaria 70, Choudhary 4-49) beat Rajasthan 257 (Tomar 106, Rathore 79, Sumit 3-34, Harshal 3-47) by 30 runs

In a pulsating final that was alive right until the very end, Haryana’s bowlers held their nerve to clinch their maiden Vijay Hazare crown in Rajkot. It meant a century in a steep chase under pressure by Rajasthan opener Abhijeet Tomar, who lifted his side from 12 for 3, ended up in a losing cause.

Rajasthan were in firm control going into the last 10 overs needing 76 with five wickets in hand. An over later, when Rahul Chahar and Kunal Singh Rathore pocketed 17 off legspinner Amit Rana, it looked as if the momentum had firmly swung Rajasthan’s way.

His cutters into the surface first accounted for the set Rathore off the first ball of the 44th. Then in his next over, off the 46th, he had the big-hitting Ajay Singh hole out to deep square. From cruise control, Rajasthan hit panic mode.

Legspinner Rahul Tewatia and fast bowler Anshul Kamboj then closed the game out expertly. When Kamboj flattened Khaleel Ahmed’s stumps in the 48th over, it triggered frenzied celebration in the Haryana camp. Rajasthan had been knocked over for 257, thirty short of Haryana’s 287 for 8.

It meant Ashok Menaria, in his first season as a professional for Haryana, lifted the crown against the side he represented with great distinction – he’s a two-time Ranji Trophy winner – for over a decade. Menaria didn’t just lift the trophy, but played an equal part in the final to inject momentum into an innings that seemed to be stuck in third gear.

Menaria himself had been part of that struggle early on, but to his credit, dug in and didn’t throw his wicket away. His 124-run stand for the third wicket with opener Ankit Kumar set it up for Haryana. Ankit, who has enjoyed a breakthrough List A season, did the early running to make a fluent 88, before falling to left-arm-seamer Aniket Choudhary.

It’s at this point that Menaria offset any pressure there may have been on Haryana by taking the attack to the bowlers, hitting three boundaries off the next six deliveries. But just as a century loomed, he fell trying to accelerate even more, becoming Choudhary’s third victim.

Late cameos from allrounders Nishant Sindhu, Rahul Tewatia and Sumit Kumar merely reiterated Haryana’s batting depth. The last nine overs produced 82 to give Haryana momentum at the halfway mark. Choudhary, like he’d been all tournament, was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 4 for 49. His swing up front and hard lengths in the middle overs that made it difficult for batters to pepper the long square boundaries were noteworthy.

Having struck an unbeaten 16-ball 28, Sumit continued his fairytale evening by dismissing Ram Chouhan and Mahipal Lomror in his first two overs. Off his third, he had the massive wicket of Rajasthan captain Deepak Hooda, who only less than 48 hours ago had made a scarcely believable 180 to knock out Karnataka. At 12 for 3, Rajasthan were in danger of being blown away.

Tomar held firm, and found some support from Karan Lamb and Rathore as they kept plugging away, always in sight of the asking rate even if boundaries weren’t always easily available. Their ploy of taking the game deep nearly rattled Haryana. That’s when two experienced bowlers who hadn’t enjoyed a particularly fruitful evening with the ball until then decided to stand up and be counted. It had a deflating effect on Rajasthan, for whom this was a case of being so near, yet so far.

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