Delhi couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season opener. They won the toss, opted to bat on a featherbed, and most importantly, the batsmen made the most of it.
As a result, they were 300 for 2 against Baroda.
That all the top batsmen, except for skipper Aakash Chopra, got big runs must have left the think-tank more than pleased.
Shikhar Dhawan (batting 122) led Delhi’s charge with a patient century.
The left-hander though may have been tempted to slip in a thank-you note into the Baroda dressing room, for he was dropped as many as four times.
Nevertheless, the left-hander deserves all the credit.
He traded his usual aggression and flamboyance for patience and hard work that laid the foundation for a mammoth total.
Dhawan found able partners in Gaurav Chabbra (65), in for an injured Mithun Manhas, and Rajat Bhatia (batting 70). Coming at one down, Chabbra shared a 137-run partnership with Dhawan to help Delhi get back on track after the early loss of the skipper.
The youngster displayed good temperament in his 65-run knock.
Once he departed, Delhi had another fruitful partnership between Dhawan and Bhatia. The all-rounder quickly got into the groove and the scoreboard kept moving.
By the end of the day, they had shared a 133-run partnership and looked good for much more.
Chopra, too, looked good during his brief stay. He saw the side off to a quick start, hitting three cover drives in his brief 21-run knock off just 18 balls before a Salim Veragi delivery disturbed his stumps.
In contrast, nothing went well for Baroda.
Their bowling left a lot to be desired, and the poor catching — they dropped as many as six catches — did not help matters.
Worse was to follow as opening bowler Veragi, who alone looked capable of causing some discomfort, was called twice for throwing by the umpires.
Baroda will lose him for the innings if he is called again, and that would leave the Baroda attack at the mercy of the Delhi batsmen.
Baroda will be in for a long haul on Wednesday if they don’t come up with a vastly improved bowling and fielding effort.