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A cracker in the offing

cricket Updated: Nov 20, 2011 02:03 IST
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“If we can get five points, why we should we settle for just one,” said Mithun Manhas at the end of the third day’s play against Tamil Nadu at the Ferozshah Kotla on Saturday.

At 233, a 139-run lead and going into the final day with five wickets in hand, the Delhi skipper has every right to hope for an outright result in this Ranji Super League Group ‘A’ match.

No safe game here

“A 225-plus run lead is what we are looking for at the moment,” said Yogesh Nagar, who echoed his team’s intention of going for the kill on Sunday. “And we’re certainly not looking for a draw.”

Though the pitch mellowed down considerably on Saturday, batting on the last day is never easy. And with Delhi’s middle order still in the thick of action, an addition of anotherhttp://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/201111/20-11-pg22a.jpg quick 100 runs could see Tamil Nadu in trouble.

But, this team nearly chased down 146 off 13 overs in their last game. “Well, that was a different situation and we had nothing to lose,” said a cautious Abhinav Mukund. “But we have to see how brave Delhi will be (to set a target) if we can’t wrap them up early.”

Swinging either way

Mukund’s swollen jaw, courtesy Pradeep Sangwan, “pains every time” he tries to run. But the left-arm pacer wasn’t done with the opener and struck where it hurt the most — he sent back Mukund on 99.

An unlucky leg-before decision against J Kaushik ensured Delhi didn’t let the visitors gain the psychological edge of a 100-plus run lead. Nonetheless, the 94-run lead on an unpredictable Kotla pitch would have been encouraging, only if the fielders had backed the new-ball attack.

In what should have been a regulation slip catch, Unmukht Chand (41) was dropped on the first ball of the innings off Lakhshmipathy Balaji.

Still, a double strike by Yomahesh had Delhi in trouble at 70 for three. But Tamil Nadu let the advantage slip again. Milind Kumar (58) made amends for his first innings failure by forging a 104-runs partnership with Yogesh Nagar (56), who scored his second half century of the match.

A late flourish from Puneet Bisht (27* off 30) ensured Delhi finished the day on top, but the job's half done. Negating the Tamil Nadu pace attack in the first hour of Day 4 will decided if Delhi will walk away with five points, or nothing at all.

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