Sahara Cup 2003-04 February 12, 2004

Bonus point eludes Delhi

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Delhi 204 for 9 (Bhatia 100*) beat Rajasthan 181 (Khoda 68) by 23 runs

Even the inclusion of Virender Sehwag, Ashish Nehra, and Amit Bhandari could not give Delhi the bonus point it needed to challenge Mumbai for the Sahara Cup trophy. A paltry target of 205 looked eminently gettable for Rajasthan, but the middle order frittered away a good start, and the team fell 23 short of Delhi's total.

Sehwag took over captaincy from Ajay Jadeja for the game, and smacked a rapid 32, even as wickets fell at the other end. Shortly after his dismissal, Jadeja and Varun Kumar trudged back to the dressing room, and the score was a dismal 52 for 5. Rajat Bhatia stood firm amid the hail of wickets, and with Negi and the lower order, took matters into his own hands. Seven fours and two sixes flowed off his bat, while the rest of the batsmen could rustle up only seven boundaries between them. Bhatia's 55-run stand with Negi was follwed by a 61-run partnership with Rahul Sanghvi. After Sanghvi's dismissal, with Nehra and Bhandari for company, Bhatia got to a round hundred, as Delhi's innings came to a close at 204 for 9.

Rajasthan's openers put on 62 within 10 overs, before Bhatia got the breakthrough, removing Yagnik for 26. This opened the sluice gates, as Sarandeep Singh, Bhandari, and Sanghvi ran through the batsmen, picking up six wickets between them. Only Gagan Khoda resisted for a length of time, scoring 68 off 60 with three hits to the fence. It didn't win Rajasthan the game, but it did deny Delhi the single bonus point they badly needed.