Delhi refused to learn from their mistakes as they were dismissed for a sorry 164 in the second innings to crash to an embarrassing innings and 160 run defeat against Karnataka at Eden Gardens on Saturday.
As many as five Karnataka batsmen made fifties in their first innings but Delhi were obstinate in not adapting to a sporting pitch that aided batsmen if they showed the technique and perseverance.
Before the match, Delhi coach KP Bhaskar had said how in his days technique used to be the most important facet to judge a cricketer. “Now it has gone to number three, behind fitness and potential,” he had said. Bhaskar’s wards only vindicated his lament. Overcoming a 324-run deficit isn’t easy on the most helpful pitch but what matters more in these situations is the attitude. Delhi batsmen just kept playing reckless shots to give Karnataka a handsome win and a bonus point. “What happened today was absolutely silly. And I don’t think anybody got out because of the pitch. They were all silly shots that you don’t expect from a Ranji Trophy player,” said Bhaskar, visibly embarrassed with his team’s show.
Having failed in the first innings, Gautam Gambhir was expected to give a better account of himself at his second home but the tendency of poking the ball outside his off-stump again did him in. After a few play and misses, Abhimanyu Mithun succeeded in getting the edge that went to Robin Uthappa at second slip. Delhi’s woes had only just begun. Next delivery, Mithun bowled Dhruv Shorey with a ball that not only moved but also kept low. Nitish Rana then came to steady the batting a little before he was trapped leg-before by off-spinner K Gowtham who ended with five wickets.
Most outrageous however was Rishabh Pant’s batting. He started with a six but then was caught at slip trying to go for an expansive cover drive off Gowtham. Having come to this game on the back of a triple century, Pant almost showed no regard for the situation his team was in. “There are certain pitches where you need good shot selection. You can’t just play in the same pattern, in the same gear,” said Bhaskar, adding that he had spoken to Pant later.
By the time Unmukt Chand had departed, trying to slog-sweep Gowtham but only managing a top edge to Karun Nair at slip, Delhi were looking down the barrel. Like in their first innings, Delhi second innings too could have finished before lunch had it not been for Varun Sood’s defiant and unbeaten 41. Overall though, Delhi fell short of even planning their response to the well-executed game plan of Karnataka. Lasting only 78.5 overs in the entire match is proof of how disjointed a batting side Delhi looked here.