Sahara Cup 2003-04 February 9, 2004

Chopra takes Delhi to thrilling victory

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Delhi 173 for 8 (Chopra 83, Thakur 3-27, Morris 3-31) beat Mumbai 172 (Bangara 49, Nair 49, Rawat 3-15) by 2 wickets with one over to spare

It was a match where a blow was struck for each one received, and after all the twists expected in a low-scoring game between two well-equipped teams, Delhi scraped past Mumbai by the skin of their teeth.

Mumbai won the toss and bat. Well, they tried to. Within 17 overs, the top five were back with 29 runs between them. This had much to do with an exemplary spell by Kuldeep Rawat, who dismissed three of the five, and gave away only 15 runs in 10 overs. At 50 for 5, and then 51 for 6, Delhi had only the tail to contend with. But the tide was turning. As the overs passed, more and more runs were scored, and not a wicket was in sight. Bangara, the keeper, and Nair stood back to back and held the bowlers at bay with an 86-run partnership. While the rest of the team could barely get the ball off the square, the two shared 10 boundaries and 98 runs. When both were eventually out for 49, it wasn't long before the innings terminated at 172 with a ball to go.

Delhi's start was not much different. Mumbai got wicket after wicket, and soon, the scoreboard read 55 for 5. That's when Aakash Chopra and R Bhatia put on the second match-altering 86-run partnership of the day. With victory well in sight, Nilesh Kulkarni dismissed Bhatia (33), and two balls later, Chopra became Thakur's third victim (141 for 7). Chopra played out 139 balls for his 83, and scored more than half his side's runs. His end gave Mumbai a small window of opportunity, but the lower order slammed the window down on the bowlers' fingers as they ran helter-skelter in a mad dash for runs, and got Delhi home with two wickets and an over to spare.