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Delhi enter maiden Mushtaq final


25th January 2018
Delhi registered their maiden entry in the final of Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy when they beat an in-form Uttar Pradesh by 3 runs in the virtual first semi-final from Group B at the Jadavpur University Salt Lake Campus today.
Uttar Pradesh had come into the match as the firm favourites registering the highest score of the meet and skipper Suresh Raina in imperious form. But Delhi was playing better as a collective unit. With only 141 to chase, UP looked supremely confident till they fell 3 runs short losing the 10th wicket off the last ball of the match.
Delhi was structuring a different plot. Skipper Pradeep Sangwan and Kulwant Kejrolia began with precision and purpose as they kept the ball in the right lane that induced suspicion and made life uncomfortable for the UPites
In form bat Umang Sharma and Shivam Chaudhury got decent starts but got out on 17 and 14 respectively, to bring in Suresh Raina in company of Rinku Singh. But the skipper flattered to deceive giving away his wicket for 16 runs. Caught at deep point he virtually gave up the reins of match to Delhi. Akshdeep also returned cheap.
A fifth wicket partnership of 41 runs between Rinku Singh and Sarfraz Khan raised hopes of a comeback. But Khan fell for 13. Rinku fought gamely for his 34 off Pawan Negi to douse the last hopes.
After the match Delhi’s Rishabh Pant said: “It was a slow low wicket. Scoring was not easy. But we are playing well as a unit and that came in handy.”
Asked if the lack of runs from the openers were a concern, he said: “No they are in form. It’s just that they have not clicked in the earlier matches. In the final they should come good for sure. We are doing well in all the departments and are confident as a team irrespective of our opposition in the final.”
However, Saurabh Kumar kept them in the game with a delightful 33 off 18 balls including a six in the 20th over before he fell trying to force the ball in the deep to a direct throw from Milind Kumar. One more run out in the over put paid to UP’s hopes. Subodh Bhati and Pawan Negi with two wickets each were the pick of the Delhi bowlers taking two wickets each.
Earlier, UP won the toss and put Delhi to bat. The decision paid off as Amit Mishra got the dangerous Gambhir in the first over inducing a healthy edge of a delivery that rose and moved away. High on confidence after two back-to-back innings of 76 (vs Baroda) and 84 (vs Bengal), Dhruv Shorey walked in to join Rishab Pant.
It was Pant, who did bulk of the scoring from there on as he hit the UP pacers all around the park for some rollicking stroke play. He milked Mishra for 18 in the 3rd over in the innings. Shorey failed to build on the momentum as he was sent back by left-arm pacer Mohsin Khan.
Trying to pull Shorey lobbed the short ball only to be caught by skipper Suresh Raina at leg-slip.
Delhi lost Unmukt Chand in the 6th over, while Nitish Rana depated cheaply in the 9th over off Azim Khan. With Delhi reeling at 45/3 in six overs Pant showed his class playing some big shots to keep the score board rolling. His 50 came off just 24 balls but the feisty left-hander was sent back by a superb diret throw by Rinku Singh from deep mid-wicket.
The lower order hardly showed any resistance as wickets fell at regular intervals. The
UP bowlers kept tight control over the proceedings as they wrapped up the Delhi innings for 140 in 20 overs. Delhi could only manage only 31 in the last 5 overs.

CAB MEDIA DESK
Arindam Basu