Gambhir, Sood make it Delhi's day
Haryana 138 and 63 for 5 (Sood 3-3) trail Delhi 201 and 312 for 5 dec (Gambhir 153, Bhatia 56*) by 313 runs
Gautam Gambhir showed a lot of intent during his knock of 153 while Virender Sehwag played a rank bad shot as Delhi closed in on their first outright win, against Haryana, in their fourth group league encounter.
Courtesy of Gambhir's 215-ball knock that contained 25 boundaries, Delhi declared their second innings at 312 for 5, and then had a considerable amount of time to reduce Haryana to 63 for 5 in their chase of the 376-run target.
Debutant left-arm spinner Varun Sood, who had bowled only three overs in the first innings, was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 4-2-3-3. Ishant Sharma and Parvinder Awana also got a wicket apiece as Delhi are all but sure to log home full points from the game.
The day was all about Gambhir's will to battle it out. He was prepared to get beaten and was squared up by Harshal Patel but looked determined not to throw away his wicket. At least 15 of his 25 fours came from unconvincing shots behind square. The only one worth remembering was a pull in front of square which he hit with precision.
His 36th first-class hundred came with a slash over point. The relief was palpable as he acknowledged the ovation from his childhood coach, Sanjay Bhardwaj, who was keenly watching his performance. Once Gambhir completed the 100, he put the team's cause before himself as he started belting the bowlers, notably one-bounce fours over extra cover with assured footwork, and a back foot cover drive off off-spinner Jayant Yadav. Gambhir took only 34 balls to get from 100 to 150.
Mithun Manhas (36) and Rajat Bhatia (56*) also complemented Gambhir well in their bid to set a stiff target. The Gambhir-Bhatia duo added 124 runs in only 20.1 overs which enabled the Delhi bowlers to get 27 overs at Haryana before close of play.
The hallmark of Gambhir's batting was his interest in making a substantial contribution, which didn't show in Sehwag's approach. Coming in at the fall of Unmukt Chand's wicket, Sehwag slashed hard at the first delivery he faced, over point for a boundary. Seven deliveries later, the same bowler, Ashish Hooda, bowled another full length delivery which he chased wildly, but this time it went into the hands of Sunny Singh at first slip.