Hyderabad came out a worthy winner in fading light but not in the manner it would have preferred.
After posting an intimidating 360 for three, a slender 17-run win by VJD method against defending champion Himachal Pradesh made Hyderabad look the least impressive among the four winning teams in Group A on the opening day of the Vijay Hazare Trophy (50-over) cricket tournament here.
In the other matches, Saurashtra defeated Chandigarh by seven wickets at the Jamia Millia Islamia ground, Gujarat drubbed Manipur by 152 runs at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground and Uttar Pradesh crushed Tripura by 83 runs at the Air Force II ground.
At the Air Force ground, Hyderabad stayed ahead of HP till the play was called off with two overs to go. At that stage, HP was 335 for nine and needed 26 runs off 12 deliveries.
HP’s hopes rested on its No 8 Digvijay Rangi whose brisk 36 off 25 deliveries was dotted with two sixes and a four. However, no further play was possible.
If HP stayed in the chase it was due to the 102-run second-wicket stand involving Amit Kumar (103, 98b, 12×4, 1×6) and opener Prashant Chopra (70, 70bv,8×4, 1×6). Later, the fourth-wicket stand of 72 runs off 55 deliveries between Amit and Akash Vashisht (30, 24b 2×4. 2×6) kept Hyderabad on its toes. It was the run-out of skipper Rishi Dhawan (45, 28b, 8×4) that truly swung the match in Hyderabad’s favour. The late blitzkrieg by Rangi gave HP an outside chance before it faded away in poor light.
Earlier, after Hyderabad was asked to bat, Rohit Rayudu (156, 144b, 12×4, 8×6) and Tilak Varma (132 not out, 106b, 10×4, 3×6) smashed their fourth century in the competition while raising 223 runs for the second wicket off 192 deliveries. Later, Varma and Buddi Rahul (35 not out, 14b, 2×4, 3×6) added 86 runs off just 38 balls for the unfinished fourth-wicket stand.