Mumbai v Delhi, Ranji Trophy, Group A, 4th day, Mumbai November 17, 2013

Chand hits ton in drawn game

Mumbai 324 and 347 for 6 dec (Tare 122, Lad 85) drew with Delhi 324 and 198 for 0 (Chand 106*)

When Mumbai declared their second innings with 25 minutes remaining for lunch on the last day of the Ranji Trophy Group A league game, a gathering of about 150 to 200 spectators would have wanted Delhi to go for the stiff target of 348 runs off 63 overs at the Mumbai Cricket Association's Bandra Kurla Complex facility.

Unmukt Chand started off with intent, hitting Zaheer Khan for three boundaries before Delhi went into lunch at 21 for no loss off four overs. However, captain Gautam Gambhir dropped anchor once the openers came out in the second session and it resulted in a drab draw, following a thrilling tie in the first innings. Both the teams thus earned one point each, with Delhi in a spot of bother after tallying three points from as many games. The only positive for Delhi was that Chand made most of a life offered by Wasim Jaffer at first slip and registered his fourth first-class century.

Both teams shook hands moments after Chand reached his hundred in the last over before the mandatory overs were to begin. Delhi were 198 for no loss at that stage, with Virender Sehwag hitting a quickfire 35 after Gambhir retired not out earlier in the last session. Instead of his strokeplay, Gambhir's innings highlights were the manner in which he left the ball outside off and the two reprieves he received from sloppy Mumbai fielders.

Considering that Delhi were in a desperate need to maximise their tally, their decision to not even make an attempt at going for the chase surprised not just the spectators but even the Mumbai camp. "It was surprising that they didn't even try to chase it down. We thought that with such a star-studded line-up, with Chand, Gambhir, Sehwag and Manhas, who hit a brilliant century in the first innings, they would do their best to make a match of it. Somehow they didn't," Mumbai coach Sulakshan Kulkarni said after the match.

Once Delhi adopted the safety first approach, Mumbai also gave up the hunt for wickets on a flat deck, with Zaheer bowling just one over in the last two sessions. Though left-arm spinner Vishal Dabholkar and Zaheer's new-ball partner Javed Khan looked impressive, they were not aided in the field. The most lacklustre of them all was Balwinder Singh Sandhu, who was smashed for 25 runs off his last two overs by Sehwag.

Delhi coach Sanjeev Sharma, however, defended his team's tactics. "On a wicket with red soil, scoring over five runs an over was going to be impossible, so we decided to have some batting practice," Sharma said.

With 13 points from three games, Mumbai are sitting atop the Group A standings. While Zaheer and Co will enjoy a ten-day break before facing Vidarbha at home from November 28, Delhi return home after a string of away games to face Haryana from November 21.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mahadevan on November 18, 2013, 9:47 GMT

    @ jimbond: On a flat pitch and with an asking rate of about 3.0 an over, that would have been like Mumbai saying: "Here, you take the match and let's all go home!" Delhi, being at the bottom of the table, was the team that needed the win, and they should have gone for it. It's possible to say that an asking rate for 5.5 was a bit too much, but with a strong batting lineup, Delhi should at least have tried. It was in Mumbai's interest to prevent Delhi from getting into the middle of the table, so they were anyway going to make it difficult, especially having fought it out to deny Delhi a first innings lead. Notice that Delhi didn't lose a single wicket and still had a strike rate of just 4.15, as against Mumbai's 4.95 in the second innings.

  • Dummy4 on November 18, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    @amitdashore on (November 17, 2013, 18:06 GMT)

    Yes. Unmukt will be lost fighting for a place with guys like Gouti, Veeru .

    Future of Indian Cricket will be brighter, if we identify young talents well in advance and groom them, mainly through overseas tours to countries like South Africa, Australia & England. The concept of A-Teams is good; but it is meant for all age groups. What I am proposing is the concept of "Colts"; the really young ones.

    The two criteria I propose are: (1) They should be around 20; & (2) Should have clearly shown the potential over a few games -- should not be just a flash in the pans. Using these criteria, I suggest the following XI.

    1. Unmukt Chand 2. Mandeep Singh 3. Manprit Juneja 4.Vijay Zol 5. Baba Aparajit 6. Sanju Samson 7. Smit Patel 8. Rush Kalaria 9. Aksar Patel 10. Sandeep Sharma 11. Jaspreet Bumrah 12. Hanuma Vihari.

    Might have missed many. Please suggest names of similar players. We should have enough youmg batsmen & bowlers

  • Dummy4 on November 18, 2013, 5:46 GMT

    In this match Chand and Tare both hit hundreds, Surya was also playing, it looks like whole universe was there in the match.

  • James on November 18, 2013, 4:05 GMT

    Empty words from the Mumbai coach. If Mumbai wanted to make it a sporting event, they should have declared well before lunch with a lead of less than 300. Mumbai thus continues to be the unimaginative team that they have been for the past forty years. But yes, Delhi should have opened with Sehwag and Chand, their most attacking batsmen.

  • Dummy4 on November 18, 2013, 1:01 GMT

    Ganbhir was just being selfish. Getting some runs for himself to draw the attention of the selectors seems to be the motive.

    But Sehwag is something else. He will just be the same.!!! Whatever may be the occassion.

  • Dummy4 on November 17, 2013, 19:42 GMT

    Gambhir and Sehwag want to waltz into Indian team, they seem to playing the number game and hoping to make it to the team. I would let them play a whole season before even considering them

  • amit on November 17, 2013, 18:06 GMT

    i pity unmukt.. being an upcoming talent, he needs to play among more competitive n more talented teamamtes like virat n dhawan than struggling past-stars like sehwag n gambhir! this has affected his game n his chances to make into indian team very much..

  • Ribhav on November 17, 2013, 17:01 GMT

    It was clear that Gambhir was playing only for himself, for scoring another 50, as soon as he scored the 2nd 50 of the match, he retired to let Sehwag also score some runs so that both of them can come back into the reckoning for the national team. I had thought that they would go for the target especially considering their dire situation after 3 rounds. They had nothing to lose, they could have shut shop had they lost wickets but they did not even try.

  • Dummy4 on November 17, 2013, 14:44 GMT

    I was one of the spectator to watch this match....Gambhir in this match was too much defensive and his approach was just to draw a game.Inspite of big names Delhi disappointed all of us......

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