Ignored by Punjab, Shivam's fireworks lighten the debut of Mushtaq Ali from Chandigarh

CHANDIGARH: Less than a month after making his List A debut but Shivam Bhambri announced its arrival on the big stage of domestic India Cricket with a fiery century that led Chandigarh to a 9-run victory by the D/L method over Himachal Pradesh in his Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy will debut on Friday.

With up to four T20 contests scheduled for opening day in two stadiums at the UT, the morning showers had an impact on most visiting teams. But nature could not deter Shivam's bold approach when he threw a 106 of 57 balls, with 11 glorious strokes to the fence and seven on it, to propel the local side to a massive 167 of 5, the highest total of the day between all ties

Playing the second game of the opening day, Chandigarh's captain, Manan Vohra, did not hesitate to hit first, since the gate in the Sector-16 stadium dried up after the sky cleared in the afternoon. When opening the tickets, Vohra, however, could not click and was fired by a 7-ball 5, after sending the ball through the limit once. The other first game, Amit Parashar, looked good during his brief 26 of 24 balls, which included three limits.

The dismissal of Vohra brought Shivam to number 3, which completely changed the dynamics for the local team since the right did not allow any of the opposition bowlers to calm down and instead chased them mercilessly from the beginning.

When TOI approached Shivam after the match to enquire if that was the best way to vent out the frustration of being in the fringes of Punjab Cricket for long enough, the 24-year-old said: "After performing for years at the district level it was only last year when I finally got an opportunity to play for the Punjab Under-23 side. I played the one-dayers but always had the feeling of being ignored and only given an opportunity when I turned 23."

But when Chandigarh got affiliation with BCCI this year, things have changed for the better. On a personal front, having the opportunity to represent Chandigarh is an honor for me and the Vijay Hazare trophy matches were a great learning curve for us as a team. The best part of playing for Chandigarh is the support of older players and support staff, led by former Indian player VRV Singh, added Shivam, who placed the platform with a second 60-run wicket spot with Amit.

When questioned about the nature of the track, since most of the other hitters found that things were difficult, Shivam told TOI: There were no such demons on the court, it was supportive for the hitters. I entered with a positive mood. and the focus was only on bringing the team to a total winner.

In response to Chandigarh's total, Himachal could only achieve 84 of 4 in 11.3 more, as another rainy period interrupted the process and forced an early closure. Prashant Chopra was the top scorer of the visitors with a ball 31 of 40, while Amit Kumar hit a ball 28 of 28.

Brief scores:

Chandigarh: 167 for 5 in 20 overs: Shivam Bhambri 106, Amit Parashar 24; Pankaj Jaswal 2/40

Himachal Pradesh: 84/4 in 11.3 overs: Prashant Chopra 40, Amit Kumar 28; Gurinder Singh 2/13