It was a day of missed opportunities for the Delhi U-22 team. After having had the Punjab line-up in a spot of bother at the Ferozeshah Kotla,they let the game drift away from them in the third session on Day One of the CK Nayudu Trophy final.
After being precariously placed at 75 for 3 at lunch,and again 165/5 at tea,Punjabs middle-order of Pargat Singh,Gitansh Khera and Gurkeerat Mann held their own to put the visitors on track for a big score.
At stumps,they had put on 261/5 with Gitansh Khera batting on 54 alongside Gurkeerat who had scored 60 runs. The duo scored at a brisk rate and put together an unbeaten stand of 103 runs for the sixth wicket.
The fightback though started with Pargat,who kept his end up,with wickets falling at the other in regular intervals. Like a seasoned campaigner,not only did he play the sheet anchors role to perfection,he also punished the bad balls and had the elegance and time to score off good deliveries.
He reached his half century in the 44th over extracting couple of boundaries off left-arm orthodox Manan Sharma,including a deft reverse sweep to reach the milestone.
Hampered by injury
Pargat,was however,unlucky not to have crossed a much-deserved 100 as his movements were hampered by a groin strain. As the new rules dont allow for a runner,Pargat played on and had to switch gears looking for quick runs. Chasing all the wide deliveries,Pargat went for quick runs. Delhis pacer Vikram Dahiya then started testing him with bouncers. At 78,he succumbed to a short pitch delivery by the same bowler,that thudded off his glove and was pouched in the gully region. He had scored 78,including 10 fours and a six.
Earlier,Punjab openers started the day well after put in to bat by Delhi skipper Milind Kumar. Kunwar Raina,who was coming in this match on the back of a double ton in the semi-finals,was clinical in punishing loose deliveries. But his opening partner,Jiwanjot edged an away swinging delivery by Sunny Sehrawat to Dhruv Shorey at gully.
The breakthrough pumped the Delhi team,and not before long,Sehrawat found another edge. Raina was the next man to walk back to the pavilion. In trying to play on the onside,the Punjab skipper was caught in the cover off a leading edge.
The next pair of Pargat and Preet Kamal Rai slowed the pace of scoring and spent time at the crease to stave off the danger. Soon as the wicket eased out runs started to flow. Delhi then introduced spin from both ends with Varun Sood once again ensuring them a wicket in his first over,getting Rai caught behind on 10.
Punjab No.4 Himanshu Chawla joined Pargat and displayed a confident mindset from the onset. Chawla hit three boundaries in his 57-ball 21 before falling to Sood in the 43rd over. The pair added 52 to the total before Chawla,trying to drive Sood against the spin,edged one to Mohit Sharma at slips. With Pargat chipping in with runs,Khera took his time before settling down.
But the duo could only add 46 runs,before Pargat got injured. Mann and Khera complimented each other carefully building a partnership before switching on to their offensive modes. While both were going for quick runs the duo employed different methods in this objective. Khera relied more on his drives and touch play to get to register his half century while on the other hand Mann,used the long handle to upset the Delhi bowlers. Nearing his thirties,he dispatched Manan straight over his head for a big six.
By the end,Mann surpassed Khera and remained unbeaten on 60 facing 90 balls with 5 fours and a six. Kheras 54 consisted of 121 deliveries and five hits to the fence.
Brief scores: Punjab 1st innings 261 for 5 in 85 overs (Pargat Singh 78,Gurkeerat Singh batting 60,Gitansh Khera batting 54; Varun Sood 2/31,Sunny Sehrawat 2/61,Vikram Dahiya 1/55)