Despite their win over Jammu and Kashmir yesterday, Services should have learnt a lesson or two from their rivals’ mistakes. But the hosts, perhaps basking under that win, seemed to have forgotten the basics.
Services committed hara-kiri, first while fielding and then chasing a whopping 211 against Haryana at Palam. The end result was on the expected lines in their second Domestic Twenty20 championship: a 90-run defeat.
Nobody expected Services to win the game after Haryana posted 211 for seven after they elected to bat first. But what surprised everyone was the manner of their approach in chasing a big total. Earlier, if their bowling lacked bite, their catching was even worse. The two dropped catches at a crucial juncture foretold the story even before Services’ batsmen began their reply.
With the pitch giving absolutely no assistance to the bowlers, a disciplined line and length was required but the Services attack messed it up as they were taken to the cleaners by the Haryana top order. Their openers had started of slowly only to up the ante soon after a 17-run over from Narender Kumar. It gave the green light for Haryana batsmen to press the accelerator.
Sunny Singh and former India leggie Amit Mishra put on 63 runs for the opening stand. Mishra top-scored with 49, which included one six and six boundaries. S Karmarkar, off his own bowling, dropped Mishra once when he was on 35. But, it was Sachin Rana and Vishal Sahni who did the damage, especially the latter who hit three sixes — two off medium pacer Narender Kumar in one over — in his 20-ball knock. Rana smashed his way to 38 off 22 balls which included three sixes.
In their reply, Services batsmen did keep the run-rate under manageable limits, but careless shot selection resulted in wickets being lost at regular intervals — they lost eight wickets for 87 runs in 9.3 overs.
Sanjay Bhadwar cleaned up the top order with three scalps, including the prize wicket of Yashpal Singh. Jitender Billa, who suffered at the hands of Narender Kumar early on, also chipped in with three wickets. Narender had hit him for 16 runs before the bowler accounted for the batsman.
The last two wickets survived the Haryana onslaught before finally folding up for 121 at the end of 16 overs. Karmarkar top-scored for Services with 24.
Rana picked two wickets but star bowler Joginder Sharma conceded 29 runs in his two-over spell.