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Delhi bow out, but do it in style

Mitthun Manhas registered his first century in two years while Puneet Bisht sets Kotla on fire. But, the hosts failed to qualify for knockout stage.

india Updated: Feb 19, 2006 16:58 IST

Any other time, it would have gone down as one of the most outstanding victories in the history of Delhi cricket. But Delhi’s win against Services at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground on Saturday proved futile.

Nevertheless, a massive victory by 233 runs was something that the hosts would savour, at least till the start of the next domestic season, but then, a total of 353 for three, which Delhi posted this day, would be hard to emulate in the coming years. The match was also an emotional one for Delhi skipper Mitthun Manhas (125 not out), as he scored his first ton in two years.

As expected, even five points were not enough for Delhi to book a ticket to the knockout phase. Punjab and Haryana ended up as the two superior teams from the North Zone, as they made it to the next phase.

After winning the second consecutive toss, Delhi went into the match with a new opening combination of Shikhar Dhawan and wicket-keeper Puneet Bisht. In the absence of regular opener Aakash Chopra, it was a tricky decision for skipper Manhas to promote a youngster at such a crucial and demanding batting position. However, the move paid off as Bisht constantly outscored his established partner during their 105-run stand for the first wicket.

Even after Dhawan departed, having made a fine 41, Bisht continued with his run riot in the company of his skipper.

Manhas, on his part, looked determined to get to his much-awaited three-figure mark.

His long stay out in the middle, indeed made a lot of difference to Delhi's fortunes. Especially, young Bisht had someone to look up to for any advice he needed at crucial times.

"Batting along with a senior player definitely gave me a lot of confidence. He (Manhas) only advised me to continue playing my natural game even when I was approaching my hundred," Bisht said after the match.

And what a manner this young Delhi 'keeper chose to reach his maiden first-class ton. When on 86, Bisht, in stead of slowing down, picked left-arm spinner Arun Sharma for some harsh treatment. A boundary through the covers, followed by a straight six and a four on the leg side compelled everyone at the Kotla to stand up and applaud. His hundred came in just 91 balls with the help of 17 boundaries and a six. He was finally dismissed after scoring 118 in as many balls.

Rajat Bhatia then joined an unfazed Manhas. Together they put on 130 runs for the third-wicket. But the most spectacular scene of the day came when Manhas reached his century in only 68 balls.

The raising of bat, punching of fists and kissing of Kotla pitch was proof enough to define his mental state at the moment.

"I can't tell you how am I feeling. I've been getting runs but not converting them into hundreds. This was something I was really looking forward to," said Manhas as he dedicated his ton to his resuscitating father.

Bhatia also contributed a fine 60 to the team's mammoth total.

In reply, Services fell prey to some disciplined seam bowling by Kuldeep Rawat. His first five-wicket haul (5-39) at the first class level destroyed the visitors' hopes of staging any kind of fight back.

Scoreboard

Delhi: Dhawan st Chawda b Mohanty 41, Bisht c Sarabjeet b Arun 118, Manhas not out 125, Rajat Bhatia c Mohanty b Yashpal 60, Bali not out 2.

Extras: (w-7) 7

Total: (for 3 wkts in 50 overs) 353

Fall of wkts: 1-105, 2-195, 3-325.

Bowling: Sudhakar V Ghag 10-2-43-0 (w-5), Fazil Mohammed 9-1-59-0 (w-1), Arun Sharma 10-0-66-1, Amrinder Singh 7-0-80-0, AK Mohanty 7-0-44-1, Yashpal Singh 7-0-61-1 (w-1).

Services: Reddy c Bisht b Rawat 6, Tomar lbw b Rawat 1, Amrinder c Nanda b Bhandari 5, Yashpal c Bisht b Rawat 7, Jasbir c Bisht b Rawat 0, Upadhayay c Bisht b Kuunal 25, Sarabjeet c Bisht b Malhotra 38, Chawda c Bisht b Kuunal 1, Mohanty lbw b Kuunal 7, Ghag c Malhotra b Rawat 10, Arun not out 2.

Extras: (lb-1, w-15, nb-2) 18

Total: (all out in 24.5 overs) 120

Fall of wkts: 1-8, 2-13, 3-22, 4-24, 5-28, 6-97, 7-99, 8-99, 9-112.

Bowling: Amit Bhandari 5-1-18-1 (w-1), Kuldeep Rawat 8-0-39-5 (nb-1, w-6), Kuunal Lall 7.5-0-36-3 (w-7, nb-1), Ashish Malhotra 4-0-26-1 (w-1).