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Roundup: Vijay Hazare Trophy, PQF, Day 1

Paliwal powers SSCB to victory

In the opening game of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, Services knocked out Vidarbha in a thrilling finish in the pre-quarter final stage. Here are the highlights of the day:

SSCB v Vidarbha: Services claimed a one-wicket win over Vidarbha in a nail-biting last-ball finish in Kolkata. Chasing 283, SSCB were propelled to victory by Rajat Paliwal's century. After being reduced to 29 for three, Paliwal rescued the Services' innings with a crucial knock and was ably supported by Yashpal Singh. While Paliwal smashed a 99-ball 112, Yashpal scored a 100-ball 81 to keep the team in the fray. The pair took the team to 224, before Yashpal was bowled by Ravi Jangid. And two balls later, the bowler accounted for Paliwal, thus dealing a critical double-blow.


However, A R Sinha then held up one end and helped achieve the target with a 21-ball 20. 

Earlier, electing to bat first, skipper S U Shrivastava took Vidarbha to 283 with an 84 not-out. Urvesh Patel's 59-run contribution in the middle order was also significant in setting Services a competitive target in the first match of the knockout phase.

Baroda vs Railways: Pacers bowled Railways to a thumping 93-run win over Baroda to book a place in the quarter-finals. Defending 230, Railways medium pacers ran through the Baroda line-up in 43.3 overs. Anureet Singh struck in the first over to send back S Wakaskar without a run on the board. K Upadhyay and Amit Mishra then left the opposition struggling on 45 for four with the likes of Kedar Devdhar, Aditya Waghmode and power-hitter Ambati Rayudu back in the pavilion. While Irfan Pathan made a fighting 73-ball 38, the rest of the line-up caved in to the Railways attack. Mishra picked three wickets, while Upadhyay and Chanderpal Saini took two each. Ashish Yadav took one, while Karn Sharma accounted for the key wicket of Yusuf Pathan to help bowl Baroda out for 137.

Earlier, after opting to bat first at the Eden Gardens in the day/night encounter, Railways posted 230 for nine, despite reeling on 20 for two at one stage. Amit Paunikar's 42 at the top of the order and C Saini's unbeaten 45 helped their team to a competitive score on the first day of the knockout stage.

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Raina finds a guiding star in Ganguly

Batsman seeks former captain’s mentorship to regain form

Suresh Raina had been a mainstay in India’s ODI batting line-up for the last few years, received a jolt when he was left out of the Asia Cup squad following a spade of low scores.

The left-hander decided to use this time for self-assessment and seek a guiding hand that could lead him back in form ahead of the World Twenty20. He found the perfect mentor in former India captain and left-handed batsman, Sourav Ganguly.

"Ganguly gave me confidence and told me to work on my strength. He reminded me how well I had done in ODIs before and told me to play the same aggressive game that made me successful,” Raina said of Ganguly’s advice to a leading India daily. “It does feel good when such a great player has so many good things to say about your game," Raina said.

While admitting the disappointment of being dropped from the team, Raina also drew motivation from the situation to improve himself for the 20-over World Championship.

"This T20 World Cup is going to be the stepping stone for the 50-over World Cup in a year's time,” he said. “If we do well and go on to win it here, it's going to be a huge boost to our confidence. As for me, if I do well and have a good IPL after that, it will help me come back into reckoning for ODIs."

Talking about his different roles in T20s and one-day games, Raina said batting high in the order in the shortest format gives him more time at the crease.

"In T20 cricket, more often than not, I have gone out to bat early. It has allowed me the time to get settled and play some crucial innings. That's something I would like to do in one-dayers as well, as and when I get the chance again."