Sumit Narwal rushed straight to a container full of iced water and drowned himself in it. “It relaxes the tired muscles and refreshes you,” he said. A couple of yards away, Pradeep Sangwan was icing his shoulder after taking his lunch on Friday.
They had polished off the last two Baroda wickets inside seven overs on the final morning (Narwal picked both the wickets to complete a five-for) and enforced the follow-on. There would be no out-right result, however, and Delhi eventually settled for three points, gained on the basis of the first-innings lead, with Baroda finishing at 233 for four in the second innings.
Delhi would have been more than pleased with their effort and the result, but their joy, too, was spoiled when umpires no-balled their off-spinner Yogesh Nagar in his fifth over in the second session of the day. The call not only gave Delhi some food for thought on whether to continue using Nagar as a bowling option or just play him as a batsman but also effectively ended their pursuit for an outright win in this match.
Given that Nagar, who had been called in the just concluded North Zone T20 tournament, is on the suspect list and was picked up as a batsman in the squad, was it a mistake then to bowl him in the first place?
“You need to bowl spinners on the last day wicket when you are pressing for victory. So I had to bowl him at some stage,” said Delhi skipper Aakash Chopra.
“And then he had already bowled almost 15 overs in the match by the time he was called. So it's just one particular delivery that he didn't bowl correctly. So I didn't see any risk in bowling him,” he said.
Delhi would have surely hoped for some big contribution from their spinners on the last-day wicket after their medium pacers put in such a huge effort on a batting wicket. The fact that 12 of the total 14 Baroda batsmen dismissed in the entire match fell either caught behind or in the slips gives a clear indication about how well the pace trio of Narwal, Awana and Sangwan bowled.
Spin, however, turned out to be a weak link in the Delhi attack. With Chetanya Nanda missing out due to injury and umpires 'calling' Nagar, all Delhi had was Darshan Kajania, the debutant, to fall back on. The left-arm spinner looked much better in the second innings than he did in the first, but he never looked too threatening.
Another bright spot for Delhi was the performance of wicketkeeper Puneet Bisht. The diminutive keeper held on to everything that came his way and finished with nine dismissals in the match, just one short of the record in first-class cricket.
For Baroda, it's been a pretty disappointing outing. One could understand their travails on the field after they lost their two leading bowlers, but there couldn't be any justification for their inept showing with the bat.
They showed more grit and determination in the second innings, but they had already lost the plot in the first innings.
Delhi 1st innings 591
Baroda 1st Innings 326
Baroda 2nd Innings
Parab c Chopra b Sangwan 39, Williams c Bisht b Narwal 4, Bilakhia c Sangwan b Kajania 91, Martin c Bisht b Sangwan 5, Solanki not out 69, Pathan not out 5;
Extras (nb-6, w-1, lb-9, b-4) 20
Total (for 4 wickets) 233
Fall of Wickets: 1-12, 2-82, 3-100, 4-220
Bowling: Sangwan 16-1-42-2, Narwal 7-1-20-1, Awana 5-2-26-0, Bhatia 12-3-34-0, Kajania 21-0-85-1, Nagar 5-2-13-0.