Saurashtra beat Delhi by an innings and 214 runs in a Ranji Trophy fourth-round Elite Group B game in Rajkot to pocket seven points and bolster its quarterfinal hopes.
Once Saurashtra declared on 574/8, leaving Delhi 441 in arrears, it was always going to be an uphill task for the visiting team.
Hrithik Shokeen, like he has all game, once again showed the stomach for a fight. Promoted to No. 3, he brought up his fifty with an assortment of drives and flicks.
His one-on-one duel with Jaydev Unadkat lent spice to an otherwise lopsided contest. However, his caught behind dismissal off Chirag Jani before tea was effectively the last nail in the coffin.
Gunned down for 133 in the space of 35 overs through a remarkably cheap eight-wicket haul from Unadkat, the Delhi openers showed a lot more gumption in their second essay. Ayush Badoni took on Unadkat, slamming his new Lucknow Super Giants teammate for a six and a four.
But the resistance was shortlived. He had added 67 for the first wicket with Dhruv Shorey when Harvik Desai effected a smart stumping to end Badoni’s stay.
Shorey was clean bowled by Yuvrajsinh Dodiya in the next over. Dodiya, who took 5 for 91, inflicted another blow before lunch when he had Yash Dhull caught at slip, the Delhi skipper undone by the extra bounce. Dhull’s scores of 0 and 4 were reflective of his side’s overall plight, which was all out for 227.
It was distressingly windy and bitterly cold in the morning, and Delhi seemed resigned to the fate that it didn’t have sufficient bowling wherewithal to withstand Saurashtra’s batting depth.
It became more evident in its choices in the first hour when spinners Lalit Yadav and Shokeen — who has endured a heavy workload — operated in tandem for the first 45 minutes. The pacers didn’t get a single over.
That seemed to have played into the hands of the set Arpit Vasavada and buoyant Unadkat, who made an enterprising 68-ball 70.
Funnily enough, on Wednesday, when his top order was digging in against a toothless Delhi bowling, Unadkat was gearing up for throwdowns in the practice nets, all the while saying, “Oh bhai, hope I don’t have to bat (smiles)!”
Unadkat began the day with a handsome drive for four off Shokeen and followed it up with a sweep shot for six over deep midwicket off the same bowler.
He reached his 50 off 52 balls and was looking good for plenty more when he was caught off Lalit’s bowling, trying one big shot too many.
In between, Vasavada reached his 150 with a late cut for four. He may not have got the chance to score a double hundred here, but the innings win will make this a memorable outing for the left-hander.