To win in bowler-friendly conditions, a team needs to display batting technique and application. On Saturday, the Delhi batsmen did not appear to possess any of the two in the second innings of their Super League Ranji Trophy match against Railways, and they lost by 22 runs at the Roshanara grounds.
Considered favourites, the hosts cut a sorry figure as they were bowled out for 113 while chasing 136 to win.
Overnight 48 for four, Delhi were always under pressure as the Railways bowlers bowled a tight line and tested Rajat Bhatia and Gaurav Chabra, the overnight batsmen.
Anureet Singh stuck first blood in the 26th over when he got Chabra to edge one to second slip and Faiz Fazal pouched it. JP Yadav then brought his experience into play as he first induced an edge off Bhatia to have him caught at gully and then got Punit Bisht caught behind for a duck.
Delhi's hero with the ball Sumit Narwal looked good with the bat too. The only time Delhi looked like chasing down the modest target was when Narwal and Pradeep Sangwan were at the crease. In the 43rd over, however, the surprise move of bringing on Harshad Rawle paid off. The off-spinner tempted Sangwan into offering a simple catch to Fazal at forward shot-leg.
After Sangwan's departure, Narwal had just Vikas Mishra and an injured Kapil Yadav as company and 22 runs were still needed required.
Bowling to a spread-out field, Bangar pitched one outside Narwal's off stump and forced him to commit the same mistake that some of his other teammates did. Wicketkeeper Mahesh Rawat pouched the easy offering.
Narwal was yet to take his pads off when Mishra called Yadav for a non-existent run. The former fell short of his crease to give Railways their first outright win.
Delhi coach, Manoj Prabhakar, fumed, "They (Railways) bowled better than us. The way we approached the target showed we did not have the technique and even lacked the application to bat on a wicket like this."
Railways skipper, Sanjay Bangar, said, "We won because we played as a team as apart from Delhi's second innings we never had an upper hand in the match."
The defeat means Delhi, who stay on 13 points, will face defending champions Mumbai in a do-or-die match at the same venue from Wednesday.
Railways, on 11 points, fancy an outside chance of making it to the knock-out stage if they can put it across Bengal.
The Delhi selectors made three changes in the 15-member squad against Mumbai. Kapil Yadav, Mohit Sharma and Aditya Jain have been replaced by Parvinder Awana, Mithun Manhas and Virat Kohli. Points Table (Super League)