Delhi squanders advantage to share spoils

Needing 79 runs for a win in 14 overs, Delhi could only manage 49 in eight overs under fading lights. The match was finally called off at 5.32 pm even as both teams blamed the other for slow over rate and wasting time.

Assam's Sibsankar Roy, who scored 87, against Delhi in action during their Ranji Trophy Match at the Ferozeshah Kotla.   -  R. V. Moorthy

A match that looked all set to go Delhi's way at the start of the day ended up being a farce in the final two hours of play with the host only managing three points for the draw against Assam in the Group A season opener at the Ferozeshah Kotla here on Monday.

Needing 79 runs for a win in 14 overs, Delhi could only manage 49 in eight overs under fading lights. The match was finally called off at 5.32 pm even as both teams blamed the other for slow over rate and wasting time. Unmukt Chand was unbeaten on 25 while a livid Nitish Rana, out on four, had a run-in with a couple of Assam players, forcing their respective team staff to interfere and earning a rebuke from the match referee.

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But while Assam would be more than happy to get one point, Delhi had only itself to blame for missing out on a chance for a winning start to the season. On a flat pitch, its bowlers were unable to break past a stubborn partnership between Wasiqur Rahman and Sibsankar Roy that proved the difference.

Starting the day at 60 for three and still 117 runs in arrears, Tarjinder Singh became leg-spinner Manan Sharma's first of three wickets after consuming 108 balls for his 28. It was the template Assam followed all through. Roy scored 87 in 222 balls before being caught off-guard by one that turned and edging to Unmukt in the slips and his 61-run partnership with Rahman frustrated Delhi bowlers for 25.2 overs as the visitor made it clear it was playing for a draw.

Delhi was also unlucky on a couple of occasions. A rising return catch to pacer Navdeep Saini from wicketkeeper Rahman when he had just arrived onto the crease was adjudged off a no-ball and a vociferous appeal for a catch by Dhruv Shorey in the slips off Ishant Sharma was given not out. Those, however, were the only chances Delhi managed to create. Rahman went on to score 63, in 168 balls, and was the last wicket to fall as Assam managed 255.

Delhi could have still made a match of it but the inability of Unmukt to play big shots from the outset, the inexperience of debutant Anuj Rawat and two wickets in an over by Krishna Das ended any hopes for Delhi.

BRIEF SCORES

Assam 1st innings: 258 in 95 overs.

Delhi 1st innings: 435 in 135.3 overs (Gautam Gambhir 137, Nitish Rana 110, Anuj Rawat 71, Manan Sharma 69; Abu Nechim Ahmed seven for 68, Krishna Das two for 82).

Assam 2nd innings: 255 in 108.4 overs (Sibsankar Roy 87, Wasiqur Rahman 63, Tarjinder Singh 28; Manan Sharma three for 58, Navdeep Saini two for 56, Milind Kumar two for four).

Delhi 2nd innings: 49/2 in eight overs (Unmukt Chand not out 25; Krishna Das two for 22).

Result: Match drawn. Points: Delhi 3, Assam 1.