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Delhi need a miracle

india Updated: Nov 13, 2009 00:30 IST
Subhash Rajta

Delhi would be quite upset with themselves. They did all the hard work to crawl back into the game, and then threw it all away just when they could have actually pushed Karnataka to the wall.

At 176 for 2, with the dangerous morning session almost behind them, Delhi had survived the toughest phase, and looked well on their way to set a challenging target for Karnataka.

But, thereafter, the resolve and courage shown by Shikhar Dhawan and Rajat Bhatia faded away from the Delhi batting line-up as quickly as the light around them.

As a result, they found themselves reduced to 255 for 9 when bad light — in its third interruption of the day — snuffed out all hopes of play beyond tea, leaving Delhi with a modest lead of 149 runs.

Nevertheless, a superb hundred by Shikhar Dhawan (100) and his equally fine 135-run partnership with Rajat Bhatia (64) for the third wicket did light up things for Delhi on a foggy day.

Delhi's hopes of posing any challenge to Karnataka hung largely on these two batsmen, and they didn't let their team down.

They showed tremendous resolve and discretion in tackling the early morning conditions, made even tougher by overcast and foggy conditions, to add another vital 83 runs to their overnight partnership of 52 runs.

They were cautious to begin with, but gradually took control of the proceedings with some spectacular strokes.

Dhawan, who hit a double hundred in the last match against Baroda, looked in superb touch and played some outstanding strokes.

He leaned on to anything pitched up to him for some terrific drives, and rocked on to the back foot for crashing cuts and punches through the covers.

Bhatia, on the hand, was playing equally well, but an incoming delivery took off his off stump just before lunch.

Delhi were still in a decent position, but the quick departure of Mayank Tehlan (0) and Yogesh Nagar (0) after lunch and Shikhar Dhawan running himself out, put paid to Delhi's hopes of raising a big total.

Abhishek Sharama (34) did put up some resistance down the order, but that wasn't enough.

Delhi would need a miraculous effort from their bowlers to keep Karnataka from cruising to a victory on the last day.

But then, on an optimistic note , miracles do happen.