The dismissal of Kunal Chandela cast a gloomy shadow in the Delhi dressing room even as the Madhya Pradesh team celebrated the moment in a vociferous form in the middle. Chandela’s wicket took away the bonus point from Delhi’s nine-wicket victory. The home team needed a mere 29 runs to win with all eyes on the openers — Chandela and Hiten Dalal — to finish the job without being separated. It was not to be.
Two runs short of the target, Chandela found himself plumb against left-arm spinner Kumar Kartikeya, taking the sheen out of an otherwise brilliant victory in the Ranji Trophy match at the Ferozeshah Kotla here on Monday. The six points from the win took Delhi’s tally to 13 with two matches in hand against Bengal and Tamil Nadu. The visiting team has 18 points to its credit.
MP commenced the day at seven for no loss and succumbed for 157 to the guiles of left-arm spinner Vikas Mishra, who ended up with a 12-wicket haul from the match (six for 41 and six for 30). Finally, Mishra bowled to his potential and gave credit to the guidance of coach Mithun Manhas.
"I just backed my strength of bowling at one spot. Mithun sir advised me to reduce my speed and use the crease better. I realised the ball was coming out of my palm nicely. I know I don’t have variety and I also suffered from putting myself under pressure to perform when the season began. We needed to win this match," said Mishra.
Mishra’s accuracy left MP batsmen clueless and also desperate as they chose to hit their way out of the trouble. Wild shots did not show the MP batting in good light and it made Delhi’s job all the more easier. Off-spinner Shivam Sharma gave adequate support to Mishra and the pair did not ease its hold at any stage.
"The pitch could have been better keeping in mind the stature of the competition but hats off to the curators for doing their best in the given conditions. The shock (defeat) has come at the right time for us. We still have to games at hand. It was not easy making runs against the old ball, especially on a pitch where the odd ball stays low," said MP captain Naman Ojha, who also praised Avesh Khan for his exceptional bowling on the second day.
At New Delhi: Madhya Pradesh 132 & 157 in 64.3 overs (Anand Bais 46, Vikas Mishra six for 30) lost to Delhi 261 & 31 for one in 6.4 overs.
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