Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Unmukt and Aditya lead the way for Delhi

Delhi’s batting depth came to the fore in a clinical chase of 210 against Railways in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 Group C action at the Alembic ground.

Delhi's opener Unmukt Chand smacked a 11 ball 38 to lead the way for his team.   -  Sudhakara Jain (File Photo)

Delhi’s batting depth came to the fore in a clinical chase of 210 against Railways in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 Group C action at the Alembic ground. Unmukt Chand set the tone for Delhi, as the opener notched up a quick-fire 38 off 11 balls while Aditya Kaushik chipped in with a cautious 53 off 36 balls. Nitish Rana muscled in with four sixes in 34 off 15, paving the way for Milind Kumar (23) and Pawan Negi (35) to guide the team home by four wickets and four balls to spare.

This show of controlled hitting overshadowed a ferocious assault on Delhi bowling earlier by local boy Saurabh Wakaskar for Railways, partnered by an equally confident Asad Pathan. The left-hander cleared the ropes with astonishing ease in a 55-ball 118 before walking back to an applause. Railways top-scorer slammed 11 sixes and seven fours in a display of style and confidence at the crease. Pathan’s 81 featured 10 boundaries. For Delhi, only Ashish Nehra ended the innings with respectable figures (4-0-32-0).

Railways put a stout defence of 210, Pathan’s two steep catches the highlight of some outstanding fielding, but Delhi paced the innings comfortably and reached the target with four balls to spare. Leg-spinner and captain Karn Sharma got one wicket at the cost of 38 runs.

This show of might by batsmen at the leafy Alembic ground was a huge contrast with a bowler’s day out at the Reliance stadium wicket. Ishwar Pandey of Madhya Pradesh produced a four-wicket burst, including a hat-trick (4-0-20-4) to keep Andhra ambitions in check at 95-9 in the allotted 20 overs, in the Group C tie. MP medium-pacer Venkatesh Iyer picked two wickets on a bouncy track where survival at the crease demanded tight defence and patience.

Though Andhra bowlers Ayyappa Bandaru (4-0-18-2) and C. V. Stephen (4-0-5-0) kept the rival top-order batsmen under pressure displaying pace and control over swing, former India U-19 all-rounder Harpreet Singh Bhatia had the last laugh, winning the match for MP with his 40 off 44 balls. Things didn’t start well for MP and they were at meagre 23 runs at the 10-over mark before Harpreet took over the rescue mission.

Pandey was delighted with a hat-trick in a T20 game. “The wicket was helpful, so I focused on keeping a tight line. This is the first hat-trick in my career. Bowlers can also play a big part in winning matches on such wickets.”

Baroda captain Irfan Pathan led the way with five wickets as two-time domestic T20 champion beat a spirited Assam by 49 runs in an afternoon tie played at same venue. Left-arm spinner Swapnil Singh got two wickets to reduce Assam, who were chasing chasing a total of 166, to 116-9 in stipulated 20 overs.

>Delhi V Railways (Full scorecard and ball-by-ball details)

>Baroda V Assam (Full scorecard and ball-by-ball details)

>Andhra V Madhya Pradesh (Full scorecard and ball-by-ball details)