Delhi in must-win situation
The unexciting predictability is gone. Himachal's stunning win over Delhi has pushed this contest into the realm of exciting possibilities. Until Thursday, Delhi's emergence as the top team from North Zone seemed a given and the fight was virtually for the second spot.
But that one big upset has altered the entire equation. Himachal are now virtually through to the knockout stage, and Delhi, quite surprisingly, find themselves in a must-win situation against Haryana.
If they falter here, the latter will whiz past them and will, most likely, make the cut, depending on the outcome of the last round of matches.
Delhi wouldn't want to leave it to the last minute permutation and combinations and would want to settle the issue on Saturday itself. A win here would assure them a berth in the knockouts. Whether they qualify as the top team or second will depend on how Himachal fare in their remaining matches.
They would want to forget Thursday's loss from their minds ahead of this crucial match, for it was more a case of Himachal winning the contest than Delhi losing it. Delhi, as usual, posted a huge total, but Himachal played out of their skins to chase it down.
Nevertheless, the Delhi management will be a little concerned over their bowling resources as the failure to defend a huge total of 281 doesn't reflect well on any attack.
The Delhi attack, especially the pace bowlers, looked a bit clueless whenever the batsmen decided to go after them.
Then, they bowled too many boundary balls, allowing the pressure to ease up on the batsmen when the match was hanging in balance.
Perhaps, the rather young attack missed the experience of Ashish Nehra.
The fielding too cracked under pressure on a couple of occasions.
For Haryana, the rather unexpected result has opened up a window of opportunity. "We have a good chance to make it to the knockouts if we can beat Delhi," said Haryana coach Amarjit Kaypee.
The opportunity is there, but Haryana will need to play a lot better than they have in their last two games to harbour any hopes of upsetting Delhi.
They clinched a thriller against Punjab in their opening game, lost comprehensively to Himachal and then huffed and puffed to victory against a weak Services side.
Delhi vs Haryana at Dharamsala
Himachal vs J&K at Una
Punjab vs Services at Una