The final day of the Delhi-Tamil Nadu contest saw some exciting moments before it petered to an expected draw. Delhi, though, couldn't push hard enough for a win but they will be glad with three points they snatched from the team that looked better on paper.
Delhi, at an overnight total of 122 for 2, lost their way a bit in the morning as they lost wickets rather quickly. Their plan was to score quick runs and then have a go at the hosts, but the script went slightly awry as they started losing wickets more quickly than they could get runs. R Ashwin, in particular, looked at his best and picked up four quick wickets in the morning to take his innings tally to six and match total to 11.
Shikhar Dhawan, who played a fluent knock, would be upset with himself for not getting the century he deserved. He fell for 88. Virat Kohli, for a change, fell cheaply and eventually Delhi fell for 209 just before lunch.
Nevertheless, they still set a stiff target of 319 runs in 59 overs to Tamil Nadu. The hosts, however, began nicely, with Abhinav Mukund making an aggressive start. The left-hander attacked the spinners to disrupt their rhythm. He ensured they went at about five runs an over until Manoj Chauhan struck twin blows to take the wind out of the sails.
First, he trapped S. Anirudha lbw, and then, two balls later, had Arun Karthick caught at short leg to cut short the Tamil Nadu chase.
For Delhi, apart from three points that had become vital after they conceded first innings lead to Bengal in the opener, the biggest gain from this contest is the performance of their young spinners. While left-arm spinner Vikas Mishra was as impressive as he had been in the previous few matches he had played so far, debutant off spinner Manoj Chauhan, too, made a strong impression.
"These youngsters have come into the team on the back of their fine performance in the age group tournaments. So we knew they would put in a fine show," said Delhi skipper Mithun Manhas.
Delhi, however have lost Rajat Bhatia for at least two weeks due to injury. It will be interesting to see who steps into his shoes until he returns.
Brief Scores: Delhi 318 and 209 all out (Dhawan 88; Ashwin 6/87) drew Tamil Nadu 208 and 148/3 (Mukund 59). Results