Chandigarh, Sept 27 (UNI) A strokeful unbeaten century knock by left hander Daniel Manohar (125 off 124 balls) enabled MRF, Chennai, to beat Punjab Cricket Club by nine wickets and sailed into the final of 14th All India JP Atray Memorial Cricket Tournament in the first semi-final at the PCA Cricket Stadium, in Mohali near here today.
MRF won the toss and opted to field first. Ravneet Ricky and Uday Kaul opened the innings for PCC and both gave a solid start to their team as duo added 97 runs for the opening wicket partnership.
Ravneet Ricky was first to depart as he scoped a dolly catch at mid wicket off the bowling of Ashish Kapoor and was easily taken by Saurav Tiwari. Ricky scored 43 runs which came off 71 balls with the help of five boundaries.
After the addition of only 19 runs Uday Kaul going for a big heave was cleaned up by Ashish Kapoor. Sarul Kanwar (33) and Pankaj Dharmani (62) did a repair job as this pair added 42 runs in just 40 balls but to accelerate the run rate Sarul Kanwar was caught at longon of the bowling of Ashish Kapoor once again.
Mayank Sidhana 32 of 19 balls and Sumit Sharma 23 of 14 balls gave pace to the scoring rate as Punjab Cricket Club scored 260 runs for the loss of five wickets in allotted 44 overs. The match was reduced to 44 overs due to overcast condition in the morning. Pankaj Dharmani contributed unbeaten 62 runs in 54 balls which includes five hits to the fence. Sunil Viswanathan and Prasantha Chandran too took one wicket each.
MRF Chennai started their run chase through left arm openers Daniel Manohar and Shikhar Dhawan. Shikhar Dawan started his inning in a whirlwind fashion as he was punishing the medium pacer like anything. Gagandeep Singh was his main victim. He completed his half century with a boundary at longon off offspiner Charanjeet Singh.
His 50 came in just 40 balls with the help of eleven boundaries.
The Opening pair reached the hundred run partnership in just 86 balls. Dhawan was main contributor in this partnership as he scored 62 runs where as D Manohar added 36 runs.
Charanjeet Singh taste the first success for PCC as he sent back Sekhar Dhawan to pavilion at a total of 134 runs. Dhawan scored 76 runs which came off 61 balls with the help of 13 well timed boundaries and a huge six over longon.
At the fall of first wicket, skipper of MRF Chennai Venugopal Rao stepped in and started his inning cautiously. After the departure of Sekhar Dhawan, D Manohar took the charge of scoring at a brisk pace as Rao was playing a sheet anchor role.
Punjab attack was looking toothless as their bowlers were not even able to beat the batsmen.
Daniel Manohar completed his 50 with a back foot cut over backward point off Charanjit Singh and reached to his hundred with the single towards the cover of the same bowler in 36th overs.
Venugopal Rao and D Manohar added 130 runs for the 2nd wicket unbeaten partnership which came off 138 balls. D Manohar remained not out at his individual total of 125 runs in just 124 balls. His inning was studded with 13 boundaries and a six. Venugopal Rao scored laborious 43 runs which came off 71 balls. MRF Chennai achieved the target with 14 balls to spare.
D Manohar for his excellent unbeaten knock of 125 runs was adjudged Man of the Match.
Brief scores: PCC X: 260 for 5 in 44 overs (Ravneet Ricky 43, Uday Kaul 48, Pankaj Dharmani-62, Sarul Kanwar 33, Mayank Sidhana 32, Sumit Sharma-23, Ashish Kapoor 3 for 40, P. Chandran 1 for 48, Sunil Viswanathan 1 for 44.) MRF Chennai: 264 for 1 in 41.4 overs (Daniel Manohar 125 not out, Shikhar Dhawan 76, Venogopal Rao 43 not out, Charanjeet Singh 1 for 41) Tomorrow PCA Colts will take on State Bank of Mysore in the second semi-final at PCA Cricket Stadium, Mohali.