Haryana could have learnt a vital lesson from Delhi's batting collapse against Himachal the other day. They chose not to, and, like Delhi on Thursday, sunk to defeat from a position of strength on Saturday, virtually allowing Delhi to walk into the knockout stage.
Haryana were coasting along at 77 for no loss in the 10th over. A huge score looked on the cards, even if they hadn’t tried too hard in the remaining overs. But that was not to be, as the batsmen seemed intent on self-destruction. As a result, they ended up with a meagre 128.
Their indiscretion aside, the Delhi bowlers deserve credit for clawing back into the game after openers Rahul Dewan (35) and Ankit Rawat (51) had clobbered them to raise a 77-run partnership.
But once both the openers were out of their way, the Delhi medium pacers hit back with a vengeance.
Pradeep Sangwan picked up three wickets to run through the middle order, and Sumit Narwal polished off the lower middle order with a hat-trick, picking two wickets on the last two deliveries of his third over and the third on the first ball of his last over.
The Delhi batsmen, building on the good work of their bowlers, turned in a clinical performance to notch up a comprehensive seven-wicket
victory. Shikhar Dhawan anchored the chase with an impressive unbeaten 75.
The left-hander lost his partner Farman Ahmad and then Punit Bisht early on, but he dug in his feet, playing some delectable strokes, especially straight drives, along the course. He shared a 77-run partnership with Aakash Chopra (31) for the third wicket, and that sealed Haryana's fate.
Delhi now play Services in their last game on Sunday, and, barring an upset, are virtually through to the knockout stage. The Punjab-Himachal contest on Sunday will throw up the second team qualifying for the knockouts.
Brief scores: Haryana: 128 for 9 (Rahul Dewan 35, Ankit Rawat 51; Sumit Narwal 3-23, Pradeep Sangwan 3-22) lost to Delhi 130 for 3 (Shikhar Dhawan 75*)
Madan, Gony shine
Punjab walloped Services by 55 runs to stay in the hunt. Riding on a breezy unbeaten 69 from Chandan Madan, Punjab amassed 173 runs. Services, in reply, were restricted to 118.
Brief Scores:Punjab 173 for 5 (Chandan Madan 69 n.o., Mayank Siddana 35, Sunil 2 for 34); Services: 118 for 8 (Yashpal 52, Gony 4 for 16, Loomba 2 for 16).
Himachal thrash J&K
Himachal beat J&K by six wickets to stay in hunt.
Brief Scores: J&K: 150/8: (Hiken Shah 33); Himachal: 152 for 4 in 18.1 overs (Sangram 65no).
Dhanbad: Jharkhand and Assam qualified from East Zone.
Brief scores: Orissa 170/8 (Niranjan Behera 57) vs Jharkhand 154 (Saurabh Tiwary 42).