It is inevitable that the latest call-up to the Indian ODI squad,Stuart Binny would face additional scrutiny for being the son of selector Roger Binny. However,at least on the day he made the cut for the New Zealand tour,Binny Junior,gave enough and more testament to his ability with a game-changing knock albeit in a different format.
Coming into bat with his side both stuck in first gear on a tricky Feroze Shah Kotla pitch and precariously placed at 73/4 after 35 overs,Binny resurrected the innings,hitting six sixes and seven boundaries in a 94-ball 88. Binny would be dismissed with Karnataka two runs short of Delhis first innings total 202,but his side eventually took the first innings lead and at stumps were comfortably placed at 226/5.
While Binnys knock essentially pulled the rug from under Delhis feet. The hosts needed to win the game to have any chance of progressing to the knock outs,were hamstrung from the start of the day. Poor visibility delayed the start for close to two hours and it stayed bad enough for umpires to force spinner Varun Sood and military medium Rajat Bhatia to bowl first,instead of Ashish Nehra and Sumit Narwal,who would have been best-placed to take advantage of overcast conditions.
Bhatia though delivered for Delhi by bowling opener Mayank Agarwal in his first over. Eventually the light improved enough for Nehra to be introduced,and the pacer got R Samarth pulling to Sood at square leg. The pitch wasnt giving much turn but had no pace on it either,forcing batsmen to generate all the power. In addition the ball was keeping low and through two such deliveries,Varun Sood got last matchs centurion Manish Pandey and Abrar Kazi out LBW.
Kazis dismissal brought the game to a critical phase. A couple of wickets and Delhi would be bowling at R Vinay Kumar. Runs had slowed down to a trickle and as the batsmen persisted in defence,oohs and aahs emanated from fielders ever so often. There would be little stonewalling from next man in Binny.
I dont go out thinking that the wicket is difficult. One of the best things my father told me is to enjoy myself when I am playing and I always go out looking to play positive cricket, he would say after the days play.
Soods next over saw Binny stepping down and hitting with the turn for a six over long off. He followed up that stroke with a boundary. Off-spinner Manoj Chauhan was cut fine for four and then lofted over midwicket for another six. Delhi had gone into the game with three spinners and Binny refused to let any of them settle down. After surviving two loud lbw shouts in an over from Manan Sharma,he again walked down and hit the bowler over long on for his fourth six.
Binny would go to tea two short of his half century,but news of his India call up meant that the congratulations,from both Delhi and Karnataka team players started before he walked out to bat. This meant another challenge.
I was shocked,because I hadnt expected to make the squad. It took me a few overs to get my focus back on the game. It was even more difficult because Ashish Nehra was bowling from the other end, joked Binny afterwords.
Binny played out a few quiet overs before eventually reverting to type with an inside out six against Manan Sharma. He overtook partner,opener Karun Nair,with another slog swept six off the suffering Sharma who was also late cut for a couple of boundaries.
The only bowler to seem to pose any danger was Nehra and the pacer who would return figures of 2/33 off 15 overs,eventually had Binny trapped in front,12 short of his second century of the season. Binny and Nair had put on 127 runs at better than four an over. Nair had been scratchy initially,benefitting from keeper Rahul Yadav dropping two chances early. Batting through the day,he slowly found his touch,and close to the end of play pulled Nehra for a six. Nair was unbeaten on 92 at stumps and is in a good position to complete his maiden century on Day 3.
Brief scores: Delhi all out 202 in 67.4 overs; Karnataka 226/5 in 72 overs (K Nair batting 92,S Binny 88; A Nehra 2/33,V Sood 2/75