Gujarat executed a first-rate demolition job to undermine a supposedly superior Delhi side by 139 runs and claim their maiden Vijay Hazare Trophy title here at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. If their manner of victory in Saturday’s semi-final against Tamil Nadu was worthy of applause, the style, the performance and result on Monday all gained a degree of perfection unseen thus far.
A maiden List A century for skipper Parthiv Patel (105, 119b, 10x4) and sizable middle-order contributions from Rujul Bhatt (60, 74b, 4x4, 1x6) and Chirag Gandhi (44 n.o., 39b, 4x4) helped Gujarat post 273. Then under lights, with the ball swinging appreciably, R. P. Singh (10-2-42-4) and Jaspreet Bumrah (9.3-1-28-5) ran through Delhi.
Only one among the top-five reached double figures. Singh bowled Rishabh Pant off the first delivery and then had Shikhar Dhawan charging at him and holing out at short cover. It brought to an end a disappointing recent run for Dhawan, and his form will certainly be a cause for concern ahead of the Australia tour.
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Skipper Gautam Gambhir endured a painful stay, repeatedly getting beaten outside the off-stump. He was finally relieved of his misery, again by Singh, who bowled a deadly first spell of 7-2-23-4. The only displays of resistance came first from Unmukt Chand (33) and then from Pawan Negi (57). But with wickets tumbling at the other end during their respective stays, there was only so much either could do.
Parthiv Patel, Rujul Bhatt shine for Gujarat
Earlier, after Gujarat was put into bat, Ishant Sharma bowled a tight first spell (5-0-12-1). From the other end, Navdeep Saini, though a touch profligate, kept control. The duo accounted for a wicket each as Gujarat reached 44 for two from 10 overs. It was then that Rujul and Parthiv took flight.
Aided by some insipid ground fielding – Delhi conceded five overthrows twice – the two scored at more than six an over for most part. Gujarat’s 100 came in 19 overs and then the 150 barely six overs later. Even as Parthiv scored the bulk of these runs, Rujul chose to do with the bat what he did with the ball against Tamil Nadu – of being the ideal foil.
Much of Parthiv’s runs came square of the wicket (seven of 11 boundaries), especially on the off-side. Though, when the ball was pitched further up, he did capitalise, working them mostly to the mid-on and mid-wicket areas.
The left-hander, after being reprieved once on 67, dropped by Manan Sharma off his own bowling, went on to bring up his century in 111 balls. For Rujul, the six into the mid-wicket stands off paceman Subodh Bhati’s bowling after stepping out was the highlight.
The association, worth 149 runs until then, ended when Rujul was out caught behind with the score at 193. It seemed a perfect launchpad for a final-overs flourish, but Gujarat suffered a mini-collapse. Three wickets fell for 11 runs and in the Powerplay overs (36-40) Gujarat scored just 23.
However, a 42-run stand between Chirag Gandhi and Rush Kalaria for the seventh wicket ensured a highly competitive total. Coupled with scoreboard pressure, it finally proved telling.