By: Karthik Kumar
On a two-paced pitch, Milind Kumar’s composed, unbeaten knock of 70 and veteran Mithun Manhas’ 68 ensured that Delhi, the defending champions, have a great chance of qualifying for the next round of the Vijay Hazare trophy. Delhi beat Haryana by six-wickets at Feroz Shah Kotla to climb to second place in the North Zone.
The win was crucial for the hosts as Services and Punjab, both above Delhi in the points table, were playing each other this round and Delhi had to win to make the loss of one team or the other count. With only two sides progressing from each group to the knock-out stages, the Delhi Services game on Thursday becomes a virtual knockout fixture. Punjab can progress despite a loss to Himachal Pradesh on Thursday by virtue of a healthy net run rate.
Delhi’s chase of Haryana’s 200 began badly as Unmukt Chand was out leg before first ball to Mohit Sharma. Chand, though, may have got an inside edge. Gautam Gambhir hit three boundaries in his 30-ball stay, but was caught at cover trying to play Harshal Patel on the on-side. When, last match’s hero Jagrit Anand was caught at gully off Joginder Sharma, Delhi slipped to 41/3.
Then, Mithun Manhas and Milind Kumar anchored the innings as they put on 96 runs in 120 balls before Manhas was caught and bowled by Bhupinder Lingwal at 68. The majority of Manhas’ runs, including his boundaries, came through the mid-wicket and cover region. After his dismissal, Milind completed the chase successfully despite the slow nature of the pitch.
Milind and wicket-keeper Puneet Bisht played watchfully, adding 66 runs of 83 balls to secure victory. Earlier, Gautam Gambhir won the toss and elected to field. Pawan Negi and Sumit Narwal, who were brought in for the match, proved the best bowlers, picking up two wickets each. Haryana started well, with Rahul Dewan and Avi Barot adding 49 runs before the side lost six wickets for 60 runs.
All-rounder’s Bhupinder Lingwal and Sonu Rathee put on an unbeaten partnership of 91 runs in 107 deliveries that took the side to a relatively respectable score of 200/6 in 50 overs, but it did not prove enough. Ishant Sharma went wicketless while Virender Sehwag missed the game with a fever.
Brief Scores: Haryana 200/6 in 50 overs (B Lingwal 51, R Dewan 49, S Rathee 39) lost to Delhi 203/4 in 46.1 overs (M Kumar 70, M Manhas 68).