Gautam Gambhir (91) stood tall amid ruins but his teammates could not show the same belligerent obduracy as Rest of India trampled Delhi by 187 runs to lift the Irani Cup with more that one day to spare at the IPCL Stadium in Vadodara on Saturday.
Seven wickets separated Anil Kumble's men from an imminent win while Delhi pinned its hopes on Gambhir to score another 268 runs for an improbable victory. In the end, the miracle Delhi needed never happened and Rest of India shot out the Ranji Champions for 190 in their second innings.
After his defiant 176-ball knock, which had 12 fours in it, Gambhir at least returned with the satisfaction that he didn't let down his team. The same, however, could not be said of his teammates, who made a meek capitulation in the face of adversity.
Gambhir waged a grim battle, flaying the Rest of India attack even though his teammates kept coming and going at the other end. He ran down Zaheer Khan through the slips and walked cut fiercely to add salt to the wound.
Gambhir also walked out to thrash Munaf Patel through onside and disdainfully hit RP Singh to find the long on fence.
All along, his partners kept changing at the other end.
Aakash Chopra, who did not open on Friday after having twisted his ankle, took to the field with Virat Kohli in tow as his runner. But the gritty right-hander returned with a golden duck against his name, dragging the first ball he faced, from Zaheer, onto the stumps.
Veteran of many a battle, Mithun Manhas (12) wanted to leave Harbhajan Singh's first delivery of the day but the ball kissed the blade and flew to Rahul Dravid at slips.
Having removed Rajat Bhatia with his previous delivery yesterday, the off-spinner was on a hat-trick but next man in Puneet Bisht (9) foiled the bid.
Harbhajan was exasperate to see the diminutive Delhi stumper getting two lives - first Mahendra Singh Dhoni dropped him behind the stumps and then S Badrinath grassed one at leg slip - but the offie eventually had the last laugh.
Bisht forgot he needed to hang around to lend some support to Gambhir and stepped out to hit Harbhajan out of the park only to see Zaheer getting beneath the ball at mid-on.
Delhi had a tail but Kumble ensured it didn't wag. The Rest of India captain trapped Chetanya Nanda (1) and castled Pradeep Sangwan (1) before dealing the biggest blow to get rid of Gambhir.
The left-hander wanted to cut the delivery that bounced a tad more than he had expected and Dhoni didn't make any mistake in pouching the faint edge.
Harbhajan finally completed the formality by removing Ishant Sharma (0) as Rest of India tamed Delhi, with five full sessions to spare.
Harbhajan was the pick of the Rest of India bowlers, claiming four for 31, while Kumble and Zaheer got three apiece.