Double delight for Delhi
(by Arjun Sen in New Delhi)
Confidence can often border on arrogance. A supremely confident outfit can, in a matter of days, turn into a smug group of men belittling every obstacle in their way. Winning can, all of a sudden, appear a given, while defeat becomes an alien feeling.
Delhi are yet to lose a match this season. The closest they got to one was against Himachal Pradesh at Dharamsala. They, however, drew that game, and since then have kept a loss as far away from them as possible.
Despite all their success, however, the players still look as hungry as they did while stepping out on to the field for their season opener against Rajasthan. And if there was any more proof needed on this seemingly insatiable hunger, it came at the Kotla on Thursday.
Chasing Punjab's 274 in the second one-dayer, Delhi cantered to an amazing 10-wicket win in just 43.3 overs. The stars for the hosts were, once again, Aakash Chopra (130*) and his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan (139*). The two scored incredibly aggressive centuries - Chopra scoring his second successive - to hand Punjab what would undoubtedly be a debilitating loss.
A loss, which the visitors would hardly have expected when they got to 274 in their 50 overs. Punjab had a very bad start to their innings, when Amit Bhandari trapped Sunny Sohal off the second ball of the match. Things got worse in the fourth over as last game centurion Karan Goel fell to a brilliant reflex catch at second slip by Chopra off Sumit Narwal.
Delhi were well and truly on top and seemingly in control, when Punjab decided to stage a comeback. First, through an 80-run stand between skipper Pankaj Dharmani (33) and Ravinder Singh (64), and later, a century stand between Ankur Kakkar (59) and Ravneet Ricky (64).
Despite these partnerships, Punjab were still only scoring at 4.5 an over. Until, that is tailenders VRV Singh and Gagandeep Singh decided to use the long handle. The two put on as many as 87 off the final 10 overs. VRV ended the innings with a massive six off Narwal to finish unbeaten on a 12-ball 30.
275 was a target that was expected to test Delhi's batting. Punjab have one of the best new-ball attacks led by the venomous VRV and ably assisted by the tireless Gagandeep. But nothing seemed to work for either on Thursday. In fact, it was more a case of everything working for Chopra and Dhawan.
The two started cautiously, scoring at 4.40 an over till the 10th, and then, as if magically, shifted gears. On a wicket, which was bereft of any assistance for the bowlers, the duo added 82 in the next 10 and Delhi were on their way.
While Dhawan started the stronger, Chopra, after a brief lull, suddenly exploded with a series of delightfully struck hits to the fence. Slowly but surely, the futility of attempting to get a wicket was dawning on the Punjab bowlers. Their shoulders were drooping and defeat seemed a foregone conclusion.
Neither Chopra nor Dhawan were in any mood to slow down, and very soon, the only interest remaining in the match was who would reach his century first. Chopra inched ahead in that race, reaching his 100 with a trademark cover drive boundary - one of the 18 boundaries he smacked - while Dhawan got there with a savage pull. Then, as if to accentuate their dominance, Dhawan ended the game with a boundary - his 19th.
Chopra pulls hamstring
Just that little bit of sheen was taken off Delhi's win when Chopra pulled his hamstring and had to call for a runner. Though the opener lasted the entire innings, Delhi would be hoping he is fit and raring to go on Saturday.
Sunny Sohal lbw Bhandari 00
Karan Goel c Chopra b Narwal 04
Ravinder Singh c Dhawan b Mannan 64
Pankaj Dharmani b Bhatia 33
U Kaul b Bandari 64
Ravneet Ricky lbw Mannan 02
Ankiur Kakkar b Awana 59
Manpreet Ghoni run out (Shikhar) 01
Gaganpreet Singh no 12
VRV Singh 30
Extras: (lb-2, nb-1, w-2) 05
Bowling: Amit Bhandari 10-0-43-2, Sumit Narwal 9-1-63-1, Parvinder Awana 10-0-62-1, Rajat Bhatia 8-0-40-1-, Mithun Manhas 4-0-20-1, Chetanya Nanda 7-0-32-0.
Fall of Wickets: 0-1, 16-2, 96-3, 116-4, 124-5, 228-6, 232-7, 233-8.
Aakash Chopra no 130
Shikar Dhawan no 139
Extras: (lb-1, w-7) 08
Bowling: Gagandeep Singh 9-0-56-0, VRV Singh 10-0-63-0, Manpreet Goni 7.3-0-56-0, Ankur Kakkar 4-0-29-0, Sarabjeet Ladda 7-0-41-0, Karan Goel 6-0-31-0.
Vidarbha derail Railways in CZ one-dayers
(by Sharad Deep in Kanpur)
YOUNG VIDARBHA seem to have transformed them into a winning lot. In the Central Zone One-Day League for Vijay Hazare Trophy, they are turning out to be a strong side.
Continuing their good run in the six-day tournament, Vidarbha on Thursday scored a convincing five-wicket win against Railways to remain a strong contender for a place for the knock-out.
Railways with their third consecutive defeat in the five-team tournament lost all hopes of a knock-out berth with minus two points.
The young brigade of Vidarbha displayed their strong courage to handle the rivals, which had stars like Murali Kartik and Sanjay Bangar. Chasing 185 to win on the batsmen friendly pitch of the Green Park Stadium, after struggling for some time Vidarbha romped home in 46.3 overs.
Young left-hand batsman Ravi Jangid, who had scored a match-winning unbeaten 44 in the first match on Wednesday, began from where he had left. He cut, drove and pulled the Railways bowlers all around the ground. His unbeaten 87 run knock was a real treat to watch as he was striking the ball quite nicely. He faced just 97 balls to hit 13 eye-catching boundaries.
At one moment Vidarbha were 3/55 and a close finish was looming large, but Jangid along with Ranji Paradkar (43,95b, 6x4) made the things easy for Vidarbha. They enjoyed a crucial 119-run fourth-wicket stand, which proved worthy at the end.
Earlier, Railways had a shaky start as they lost three quick wickets for just four on the board in the fifth over. Skipper Kartik, who came as an opener, could make just one before giving a simple catch to A Paunikar off M Hashim. Thereafter, Sanjay Bangar and H Rawle also went back to pavilion in quick successions without opening their accounts.
Opener Amit Pagnis (43, 77b, 5x4) and Mahesh Rawat (35, 60b, 4x4) tried their best to adorn the innings later. But, it was right-arm seamer Sandeep Singh, who halted their progress with his swinging deliveries.
Pint-sized Deepak Yadav saved Railways from blushes as the reliable batsman struck a fine 65 in 80 balls with seven hits to the fence as Railways finished their innings at 184 after being sent to bat first.
With this win, Vidarbha now have nine points in two matches. Friday is an off day in the tournament and on Saturday, UP would be playing Madhya Pradesh, while Rajasthan take on Vidarbha. The final round of league matches would be played on Sunday.
Railways: M Kartik c A Paunikar b M Hashim 1, A Pagnis lbw b A Naidu 43, S Bangar c A Paunikar b S Singh 0, H Rawle c G Upadhaya b S Singh 0, S Joshi c R Jangid b A Lokhande 11, M Rawat st A Paunikar b R Jangid 35, D Yadav c&b S Singh 65, S Menager c F Fazal b G Upadhaya 2, M Khote c M Hashim b A Lokhande 10, K Parida not out 4, S Ojha b Singh 1. Extras (b1, lb3, nb2, w6) 12. Total (all out; 49.4 overs) 184. Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-3, 3-6, 4-45, 5-72, 6-127, 7-140, 8-165, 9-182, 10-184. Bowling: S Singh 9.4-1-30-4, M Hashim 8-1-20-1, A Lokhande 8-0-38-2, P Gandhe 6-0-18-0, A Naidu 3-0-15-1, R Jangid 8-1-30-1, G Upadhaya 7-0-29-1.
Vidarbha: F Fazal c&b S Bangar 23, A Paunikar c S Bangar b M Khote 13, A Naidu b M Khote 6, R Jangid not out 87, R Paradkar lbw b S Bangar 43, G Upadhaya c M Kartik b S Bangar 0, U Patel not out 2. Extras (lb2, n2, w8) 12. Total (for 5 wkts; 46.3 overs) 186. Fall of wickets: 1-28, 2-40, 3-55, 4-174, 5-174, Bowling: S Ojha 8.3-1-38-0, M Khote 10-0-44-2, S Bangar 8-0-25-3, K Parida 10-1-41-0, M Kartik 10-1-36-0.