Vijay Hazare Final: Delhi take on confident Gujarat

Anyone who has followed the tournament closely wouldn’t consider a Gujarat-Delhi final an aberration. The two are perhaps the more balanced of all sides. Both have a fair sprinkling of international stars. But at various points they have demonstrated that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Delhi skipper Unmukt Chand is the leading run-scorer for his team.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

In this year’s Vijay Hazare trophy, the word atonement has been writ large. For, there were big egos hurt when the likes of Karnataka, Delhi, Tamil Nadu among others failed to qualify for the knock-out stages of the Ranji trophy.

In tune with the same, none of the four semifinalists was from the bunch which progressed to the knock-outs. And on Monday, when Delhi takes on Gujarat in the final here at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, it will offer the two a final shot at redemption.

“We have played really well throughout,” said Gujarat skipper Parthiv Patel. “We have had a good season. Unfortunately in the Ranji we couldn’t go into the knock-outs. But we are a good one-day side. We played a final four years back. It was just a matter of time before we played good cricket and that’s what we have done throughout this tournament.”

Delhi-Gujarat final not an aberration

“We need to go out there and win the match,” said Delhi’s Unmukt Chand. “We did not qualify because we lost one of the matches against Assam, when we were topping the table. So we wanted to recover from that setback and really prove that we were a good side.”

Anyone who has followed the tournament closely wouldn’t consider a Gujarat-Delhi final an aberration. The two are perhaps the more balanced of all sides. Both have a fair sprinkling of international stars–may be Delhi a tad more due to the presence of Shikhar Dhawan, Gautam Gambhir and Ishant Sharma to Gujarat’s Axar Patel and Parthiv. But at various points they have demonstrated that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

 

“In the shorter format you need everyone to play his role,” explained Parthiv. “Like scoring 20 runs at the end or scoring a quick 30 or 40 at the top. It can change the momentum, especially in low-scoring games. Bowlers have done their job too. The likes of Rujul Bhatt or Rohit Dahiya...if you look at their figures, you might think they haven’t performed exceedingly well, but they have done the job.”

Day-night match might result in a few changes

“Gauti bhai has backed youngsters to the hilt,” said Unmukt. “There are so many young players who have come in. It proves our mettle...what Delhi is capable of doing.”

The final might require the two to change tack a bit. After having played only day matches until now, the day-night affair might present a new set of challenges. Unmukt felt that it wouldn’t make that big a difference, but Parthiv seemed wary.

“We have played just one game here [Chinnaswamy]. The ball has seamed and swung. It’s a tricky wicket. We have thought about a couple of combinations. We will see the conditions tomorrow and then take a call,” he said.

If all that has happened in the domestic scene thus far is any evidence, another giant-killing act shouldn’t be discounted. “Can’t take any opposition lightly,” said Chand. “We have got enough instances to prove that.”

“Look at Tamil Nadu,” Parthiv said of the team which he helped vanquish in the semifinal. “They had five Test and a lot of India ‘A’ players. We usually don’t worry. We are focussing on our cricket and hope to go one step ahead.”

“This opportunity doesn’t come easily. We are here deservingly. We are looking forward to it.”