Sent into bat, Sumeet slammed three fours and as many maximums in his 25-ball 51, while Akash Vasisht scored 43 off 24 balls, laced with four hits to the fence and two sixes to steer HP to 176 for 7.
In response, Shubman Gill made a 32-ball 45 at the top while Anmol Preet Singh (30), Mandeep Singh (29) and Ramandeep Singh (29) tried their bit but it wasn’t enough as they were limited to 163-7 in their 20 overs.
Dhawan did most of the damage for Himachal as he produced the first breakthrough, dismissing opener Abhishek Sharma (1), Pukhraj Mann (10) and Ramandeep. Mayank Dagar (2/27), Kanwar Abhinay Singh (1/27) and Akash Vasisht (1/8) were also among wickets.
Himachal, the 2021-22 Vijay Hazare Trophy winners, were 32 for 2 in the powerplay but Sumeet and Akash then put on 45 off 23 balls to take the team close to the 100-mark. Once Sumeet fell to Sanvir Singh in the 13th over, Akash took the onus on himself and added another 47 off 27 with Pankaj Jaswal (27) to lift them to a competitive total.
Jaswal clobbered two fours and a six in his 16-ball cameo. Chasing the total, Punjab innings never got going. Gill looked solid at the top as he had seven hits to the fence and a six in his innings but once he was gone, Punjab had slipped to 61 for 3 in the 10th over.
Anmolpreet tried to resurrect the chase but by the time he was back in the hut, Punjab had lost half their side for 103 in the 15th over. Skipper Mandeep and Ramandeep conjured up hopes of a turnaround with a 38-run stand but it was too little too late in the end.
Himachal Pradesh: 176 for 7 in 20 overs (S verma 51, A Vasisht 43; Abhishek Sharma 2/20, Sanvir Singh 2/17) beat Punjab: 163 for 7 in 20 overs (Shubman Gill 45; Rishi Dhawan 3/25).