Vaibhav Rawal’s fighting unbeaten 95 stood out amid some truly mindless batting by his Delhi teammates on Friday afternoon and proved instrumental in denying Tamil Nadu an outright victory in their Ranji Trophy league clash at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground here.
For the record, Tamil Nadu bowled out Delhi for 262 and stared at the target of 139 for a highly improbable victory, in possibly single-digit overs.
Eventually, in the six overs that Delhi bowled in 50 minutes, Tamil Nadu hit up 54 for three before bad light brought about an anticipated end.
The resultant draw meant three points for Tamil Nadu for gaining the first innings lead and one to undefeated Delhi.
After three rounds, in the eight-team Group B, Tamil Nadu (6 points) is placed sixth and Delhi (2) seventh. Mumbai, Maharashtra (13 each), Saurashtra (12) and Assam (10) hold the top-four positions. After seven rounds, the top two finishers will qualify for the quarterfinals.
Tamil Nadu started the day looking to get nine Delhi wickets at the earliest. The wicket of night-watchman Vikas Mishra came easy but in-form opener Dhruv Shorey (70, 115b, 11x4) and skipper Yash Dhull (37, 33b, 7x4) batted positively to put on 51 runs off 68 balls.
With Delhi looking to not only hold on to the wickets but also score briskly, a tame draw appeared likely when Shorey and Rawal (95 not out, 142b, 13x4) added another 70 runs off just 84 balls.
Even after Jonty Sidhu (14, 59b, 1x4) came in at the fall of Shorey, Delhi looked safe. Another 43 runs came in 96 deliveries to reinforce the possibility of a draw.
Thereafter, it took a collapse, triggered by Sidhu’s ill-advised heave that failed to clear Vijay Shankar off part-time spinner Pradosh Paul.
Rawal could only watch helplessly as five more wickets tumbled for 30 runs to raise Tamil Nadu’s hopes of victory.
Expectedly, Delhi’s gamesmanship in denying Tamil Nadu the victory came to the fore. In the six overs of pace, Openers B. Sai Sudharsan and N. Jagadeesan, and later Washington Sundar, played to their reputation earned in white-ball cricket and hit four sixes and two fours. Desperation saw the dismissals of the openers and Baba Aparajith, but it meant little.
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