Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Delhi survive a Goa scare

Chasing 91 in the Group C game, the minnows fell short by two runs, giving the favourites their fifth consecutive victory.

Parwinder Awana... superb show for Delhi.   -  AKHILESH KUMAR

Goa suffered a defeat when in striking distance of victory against Delhi on a spinner’s paradise at Motibaug ground. Chasing 91 in the Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Group C game, the minnows fell short by two runs, giving the favourites their fifth consecutive victory.

In the contest against Andhra, later at noon, Baroda made tactical changes by sacrificing experienced seamer Munaf Patel for spinner Bhargav Bhatt. Familiar with the Motibaug wicket and having watched Delhi collapse earlier in the day, Irfan Pathan kept his cool at the crease and guided the home team to victory by three wickets.

Delhi and Baroda remain joint leaders with 20 points each with one game remaining in Group C. Sunday’s tie between these two powerful sides will determine the leader, with both assured of qualification for the knockout phase next week in Mumbai. Madhya Pradesh (12 points from five matches) remain at third place.

Competing after two days of rest and recovery, the Delhi batsmen were caught napping at the wicket, facing left-arm spinners Darshan Misal (4-0-7-0) and experienced Shadab Jakati (4-0-17-5). No. 6 batsman Milind Kumar (19 from 29 balls) was the top-scorer.

The Delhi bowlers hit back to deny Goa a surprise victory restricting them to 89-9 in 20 overs. Parvinder Awana’s experience in varying pace fetched him three wickets and medium-pacer and T20 debutant Akash Sudhan (4-0-10-2) delivered when it mattered, to help the Gambir-led squad maintain their unbeaten record. For Goa, Saurabh Bandekar’s unbeaten 31 in 28 balls went in vain.

Andhra batted first after winning the toss and grafted till the 19th over when Bandaru Ayyappa cut loose against seasoned Irfan Pathan, whom he smashed for 19 runs in one over. The home team’s spinner Bhargav Bhatt (4-1-5-2) was deadly on a helpful Motibaug track.

Baroda’s batting line-up, packed with talent, found the going tough in the face of a spirited Andhra fightback. They were struggling at 72-7 in 14 overs, losing in-form Kedar Devdhar, Hardik Pandhya, Deepak Hooda and Yusuf Pathan to tight bowling, before Irfan guided his team home with a stylish 28 (25b, 3x4).

Sunday matches: MP vs Assam, Baroda vs Delhi, Andhra vs Goa.

>Assam bt Railways (Full scorecard and ball-by-ball details)

>Delhi bt Goa (Full scorecard and ball-by-ball-details) >

>Baroda bt Andhra (Full scorecard and ball-by ball-details)