After Bhati's dream spell, Himmat guides Delhi to a five-wicket win

With Delhi opening its campaign with four points, Saurashtra stayed at four points after two matches.

Medium pacer Subodh Bhati’s (left) five-wicket burst spread over the last five overs, restricted Saurashtra to under 250.   -  R.V. Moorthy

Delhi’s lesser-known players took turns to play crucial roles, with ball and bat, and ensured an important five-wicket victory against last year’s runner-up Saurashtra in the Vijay Hazare Trophy league, here, on Thursday.

Chasing a none-too-formidable target of 238, Delhi seems to be losing its way at 105 for four with Gautam Gambhir falling for a well-made 62. But thereafter, Himmat Singh (74 not out, 93 balls, five 5s, two 6s) stitched together two fruitful stands, first with Manan Sharma (25, two 4s, one 6) and the other - of unbroken 86 runs - with Lalit Yadav (36 not out, three 4s) to see Delhi home with four overs to spare.

With Delhi opening its campaign with four points, Saurashtra stayed at four points after two matches. On Friday, Delhi plays Hyderabad.

As it happened: Vijay Hazare Trophy, Day 2

Earlier, medium pacer Subodh Bhati’s five-wicket burst spread over the last five overs, restricted Saurashtra to under 250. From 222 for four in the 46th over, Saurashtra crashed to 237 in 49.3 overs, with Bhati ending the 75-run fifth-wicket partnership and adding four more scalps in a 15-ball second spell.

Saurashtra, playing without Ravindra Jadeja as the all-rounder was called for National duty in the ongoing Asia Cup in Dubai and Abu Dhabi lost Robin Uthappa for a duck in the opening over. But, the blow stood softened once an in-form Sheldon Jackson and Cheteshwar Pujara raised 101 runs. Jackson followed his century against Uttar Pradesh with a dominating 78-ball 62. Even as Jackson his 11 boundaries, Pujara played his part well with an 89-ball 53, dotted with five hits to the fence.

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When Delhi chased, Jaydev Unadkat gave Saurashtra a dream start by sending back Unmukt Chand off the first ball. Delhi responded with a counterattack involving Gambhir and Dhruv Shorey. The duo maintained a brisk run-rate during the 63-run stand. Meanwhile, Saurashtra missed the services of an injured Jackson behind the wickets from the third over when he was replaced by substitute Avi Barot.

Shorey, looking in good nick, clearly missed a big knock when he lobbed a straightforward catch at cover. Soon, Rishabh Pant followed suit. After hitting a six, he was stumped in his bid to step out and defend. When Gambhir was trapped leg-before, Delhi was in trouble. But, Himmat and Manan Sharma denied Saurashtra any more success and resurrected the innings with a 47-run stand.

When Manan was declared leg-before, Delhi still needed 86 runs to win. Lalit, who earlier took two wickets, joined Himmat and the two took Delhi past the finish-line following their 95-ball association.

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Brief scores:

Saurashtra 237 in 49.3 overs (Sheldon Jackson 62, Cheteshwar Pujara 53, Arpit Vasavada 50, Prerak Mankad 35, Subodh Bhati five for 24) lost to Delhi 238 for five wickets in 46 overs (Himmat Singh 74 not out, Gautam Gambhir 62, Lalit Yadav 36 not out, Dhruv Shorey 30, Manan Sharma 25) by five wickets.

Toss: Saurashtra

Points: Delhi 4; Saurashtra (4) 0.

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