Gambhir leads the way as Delhi win Ranji Trophy
Pradeep Sangwan produced a superb spell of seam bowling to bowl out Uttar Pradesh for 177 before Gautam Gambhir cracked an unbeaten 130 to lead Delhi's march to becoming the Ranji champions for the seventh time
Delhi 290 (Chopra 102, Bhatia 139, Praveen Kumar 8-68)and 230 for 1 (Gambhir 130*, Dhawan 54*) beat Uttar Pradesh 342 (Tanmay Srivastava 105, Shukla 96, Sangwan 4-80, Narwal 4-81) and 177 (Raina 85, Sangwan 5-46) by nine wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out
Delhi secured the Ranji Trophy thanks to Gautam Gambhir's cracking 130
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At 3.03pm, shortly after tea on the fourth day, Delhi's 16-year wait for the Ranji Trophy ended. Pradeep Sangwan produced a superb spell of seam bowling to bowl out Uttar Pradesh for 177 before their captain, Gautam Gambhir, cracked an unbeaten 130 to lead Delhi's march to a seventh Ranji title.
That march, which began with defiant centuries from Aakash Chopra and Rajat Bhatia in the first innings, quickened this morning when UP lost four wickets for just 23 runs as Sangwan produced a spell of 5-3-5-3.
As Gambhir and Shikhar Dhawan stole the winning single, the entire Delhi squad rushed to the ground, stumps were uprooted for souvenirs, and the players danced in a huddle of joy.
The platform was laid by Sangwan early in the morning. Sangwan struck in his first over, bending the ball back in to castle Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He then cleaned up Praveen Kumar with a peach of a yorker before pushing one across Amir Khan to take the edge. Manoj Prabhakar, Delhi's bowling consultant, had been working on getting Sangwan's wrist position right so that he could seam the ball in and that paid off today with Sangwan producing his best first-class figures to date.
Without too many runs to play with, UP had to strike with the new ball and for that Praveen Kumar had to repeat his first-innings heroics. However, the Delhi openers played him out with caution - his first nine overs went for 23 - while turning the heat on the others.
Gambhir started off like a runaway train, slamming Sudeep Tyagi for three fours in his first over before settling down. Yesterday, Praveen Kumar had bemoaned the lack of support from the other end and he got little of it today too. Tyagi, who picked up two wickets in the first innings to become the highest wicket-taker this season, couldn't make any headway and with Bhuvneshwar Kumar continuing to be listless, Delhi jogged along towards the target.
UP's fight evaporated with Praveen Kumar's wicketless opening spell and Gambhir took full advantage. He carved Tyagi for five boundaries, carted the left-arm spin of Praveen Gupta for 49 runs with five sweetly struck fours, and was untroubled by Piyush Chawla. He reached his second ton in successive matches - he had cracked one in the semi-final chase - with a slash over gully off Tyagi and brought up the nine-wicket victory with a push to point.
Sriram Veera is a staff writer at Cricinfo