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Delhi 153 for 6 (Chand 53, Khaleel Ahmed 2-23, Chahar 2-31) beat Rajasthan 112 (Garhwal 52, Sangwan 2-14, Negi 2-21, Khejroliya 2-24) by 41 runs
Unmukt Chand's half-century, and Delhi's bowlers helped the team secure a 40-run win over Rajasthan, and the Syed Mushtaq Ali title in the tournament final at the Eden Gardens. The victory marked the extension of a superb domestic season for Delhi, who made the final of the Ranji Trophy earlier this year.
Having elected to bat, Delhi got off to a fine start with Gautam Gambhir (27 off 23 balls) and Rishabh Pant (13 off 7) putting on 41 runs in 4.5 overs for the first wicket. However, two balls after Gambhir was bowled by legspinner Rahul Chahar, Delhi lost Pant, too, caught behind off Khaleel Ahmed.
Delhi's recovery, though, came soon, with Chand joining the in-form Dhruv Shorey (21 off 14) for a 48-run stand. After Chahar accounted for Shorey, Nitish Rana, a success story for Mumbai Indians last year, and an attractive batting option for IPL franchises at the auction, lasted only five balls for his seven as he registered his fourth consecutive single-digit score.
Chand, however, rallied with the lower order and was the last batsman to be dismissed, in the 20th over. In his second game in the tournament, Chand finished with four fours and two sixes. Pant finished as the joint-leading run-getter of the tournament with 411 runs, including a hundred and four fifties at a strike-rate 195.71, while Shorey finished with 303 runs in seven innings at a strike-rate a shade under 142. Gambhir, though, had an underwhelming tournament with 172 runs in eight innings.
Rajasthan's chase was largely held together by Aditya Garhwal, who made a 36-ball 52 and was dismissed by seamer Lalit Yadav in the 12th over. His wicket triggered a collapse as Rajasthan slipped from 93 for 3 to 96 for 7 in less than two overs. Two of those wickets were picked up by left-arm seamer Kulwant Khejroliya, whose steep bouncer pushed Chetan Bist back and hit on the helmet, causing him to fall on to the stumps.
Khejroliya finished as the joint fourth-highest wicket-taker of the tournament with 14 wickets in 10 matches. Shorey, Chand and Khejroliya have set their reserve prices at INR 20 lakh. Delhi captain Pradeep Sangwan finished with two wickets to take his tournament tally to 13 wickets, while left-arm spinner Pawan Negi took 2 for 21 to end with 11 scalps. Negi and Sangwan have set their reserve prices at INR 50 lakh and 30 lakh respectively.
Sangwan credited his bowlers for the victory. "We just spoke in the dressing room that we need our bowlers to step up," he said after the match. He also credited the presence of past captains like Chand and Pant. "Their presence helps when it comes to setting fields. When I concede runs while bowling, Rishabh and Unmukt help in setting fields."
Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy
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