Hazare Trophy: Tomar's comeback century helps Rajasthan win

Hazare Trophy: Tomar's comeback century helps Rajasthan win
© Provided by The Times of India

JAIPUR: Rajasthan have started their Vijay Hazare Trophy campaign on a winning note with a convincing six-wicket win over Punjab in an Elite Group ‘E’ match in Ranchi on Wednesday. While disciplined bowling ensured Punjab were bowled out at 219 in 49.4 overs, it was opener Abhijeet Tomar’s maiden unbeaten 104 off 118 balls that held the innings together, taking Rajasthan home with an over to spare.

Since Rajasthan have a dismal record in the one-dayers and it is their batting that often lets them down, 26-year-old Tomar’s gritty knock is a positive sign going ahead.

“It’s a great feeling because it has given my team a winning start. Also, the knock has come against a strong opponent like Punjab, so that adds to the confidence in the upcoming matches,” Tomar told TOI from Ranchi.

Talking about the wicket, the youngster said, “It was a good wicket for batting and we knew Punjab were 20-30 runs short. The plan was to ensure we took our time to settle down and not lose early wickets. I was a bit nervous, but thankfully everything went according to the plan.”

The right-hand batsman made his List A and T20 debut in 2018 and has played four and five games, respectively. Being on the sidelines for almost two seasons and with Covid-19 pandemic bringing a halt to the domestic tournaments for more than a year, there was hardly any opportunity for Tomar to prove himself.

“That was really frustrating for me. I am glad that this year Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) could organise tournaments like Colvin Shield. I performed there and that helped. I also did well during practice games we had before the one-dayers,” The Jaipur batsman said.

Tomar credits former Rajasthan wicketkeeper from Udaipur Dishant Yagnik for helping him improve as a cricketer. “During the last two years, Yagnik bhaiya has helped me a lot. Whenever I get an opportunity I go to Udaipur to work on my batting skills. During lockdown, when everything was shut, it was sir Chandan Choudhary at GR Academy in Jaipur who made sure my training continued uninterrupted. These people have played a big role in my growth,” Tomar said.

“Since I am in the senior’s team now, our head coach Nikhil Doru and assistant coach Puneet Yadav have made me comfortable and allowed me to play my natural game,” he added.

Brief scores: Punjab 219 in 49.4 overs (Gurkeerat Singh Mann 67; Khaleel Ahmed 4/36, Aniket Chaudhary 2/38, Kamlesh Nagarkoti 2/50) lost to Rajasthan 223/4 in 49 overs (Abhijeet Tomar 104 not out) by six wickets.

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