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Off-colour Delhi blow knockout stage chance

cricket Updated: Dec 17, 2011 01:40 IST
Nilankur Das
Nilankur Das
Hindustan Times
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Delhi conceded the first-innings lead to Bengal in their Ranji Trophy Super League match at the Eden and with it ended their hopes of entering the quarterfinals. An outright win here could have sent Delhi to the last-eight stage but with one point from this match, they finished their league fixtures with 11 points from six matches.

Bengal got three points to take their tally to eight from five matches. They need three points from their next match against Baroda to save relegation. A loss would see Bengal relegated. If Bengal manage just one point, they can only avoid the drop if Gujarat lose outright to Haryana in their last league match. http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/171211/17-12-11-metro22b.jpg

On the other hand, an outright win with a bonus point (a 10-wicket or an innings win fetches one extra point over and above the five for the victory) against last year's finalists would see Bengal qualify for the knockout stages. So, as coach WV Raman pointed out at the end of the match, "Bengal's job is far from over."

Baroda need just one point to qualify for the quarterfinals as the third team from group B after Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh, who have already ensured last-eight berths and play each other in the last round of league matches.

Going into the final day on Friday, Delhi needed to take the last two Bengal wickets within 34 runs. The in-form Manoj Tiwary was batting on 163 with rookie medium-pacer Veer Pratap Singh. Normally, one would have expected Delhi to continue doing what they did on Thursday: look to protect the boundaries when Tiwary was on strike, not give him a single off the fifth or sixth ball of the over and put pressure on Singh.

But surprisingly, when Pradeep Sangwan took the ball to bowl the first over of the day to Tiwary, skipper Mithun Manhas was in an attacking mood with the field in and three slips and a gully in place. Tiwary did not need any further invitation.

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