Delhi stay in hunt with crushing win
Delhi 448 for 9 dec (Manha 100, Yadav 81, Nehra 57, Sehwag 56) beat Vidarbha 88 (Nehra 6-16) and 204 (Fazal 90) by an innings and 156 runs
The pace trio of Ashish Nehra, Parvinder Awana and Sumit Narwal hunted in a pack as Delhi walloped Vidarbha by an innings and 156 runs. The win at Roshnara Club Ground earned Delhi seven points and kept them in contention for a quarter-final berth.
Trailing by 360 runs after Delhi declared their first innings at their overnight score of 448 for 9, Vidarbha were shot out for 204 with each of Delhi's three quicks taking three wickets. The main resistance came from opener Faiz Fazal, who extended his solid run this season with a stroke-filled 90.
A Delhi win was a foregone conclusion as Vidarbha certainly don't have the quality to survive two days on a seamer-friendly track but it was the ineptness of their top-order that will worry the visitors. Nehra with 3 for 66 wiped out the top-order before Awana (3/29) ran through the middle-order and Narwal (3/52) polished off the lower-order.
The match started 50 minutes behind scheduled time due to fog. Once the proceedings began, Nehra started off from where he had left in the first innings as he trapped right-handed opener Akshay Kolhar leg before with a sharp incutter in the first over.
In Nehra's fifth over, left-hand batsman Ravi Jangid fished at an away going delivery which was neatly taken by Rahul Yadav.
Before Vidarbha realised, Awana took the next three wickets to reduce them to 40 for 5 as another sub-100 score looked imminent.
Awana bowled fast and straight, a tactic which provided dividends. Vidarbha captain Shalabh Srivastava was done in by a delivery that was bowled into his body and he was caught at Rajat Bhatia at short-leg.
Rashmi Parida (1) committed early to a stroke and the reflex return catch was taken by the bowler. Four balls later, Ranjit Paradkar couldn't get his bat down and the off stump went for a walk.
Fazal decided to play positively and in the company of Urvesh Patel, he frustrated the Delhi bowlers for the next 33 overs. Since Delhi captain Gautam Gambhir kept an attacking field, the wide gaps in front of square helped Fazal to hit plenty of boundaries, especially as the outfield was a quick one.
Finally it was Narwal who broke the partnership, even as the first signs of an afternoon fog set in. He bowled an effort ball that hurried Urvesh and the ball lobbed up for Unmukt Chand to take a simple catch running towards gully.
Once the stand was broken, Vidarbha's resistance also waned with another couple of wickets falling in quick succession.
First, it was Amol Jungade, who became Nehra's ninth victim of the match while Fazal's dream of getting another century went up in smoke as he poked to an away-going delivery from Narwal. Fazal now has 665 runs in the season and will get another match to get past 700 runs as Vidarbha doesn't have any chance of qualifying for the next round.
There was some entertaining batting by Shrikant Wagh, who played a cameo hitting 44 off 33 balls with 10 boundaries -- half of them were streaky edges and mishits.
After Narwal removed No. 10 batsman Ravi Thakur, Wagh hit the bowler for four boundaries in an over. This prompted Gambhir to bring in Manhas who finished the match with his first delivery as Virender Sehwag took a nice diving catch at first slip.
It will be interesting to see that whether Delhi players agree to play the last two matches at the Kotla. It is likely they will have to play the last match at Kotla as it is on New Years' Eve and the Roshanara being a private club, the main turf is used for a gala party.