The Delhi team management debated the combination in the morning before skipper Rajat Bhatia decided to play Pawan Negi to assist Varun Sood. And the two left-arm spinners aided the team splendidly and crafted Assam's exit from the Vijay Hazare Trophy with an eight-wicket win here on Monday.
Assam was bundled out for 94 and Delhi knocked off the runs in style with Shikhar Dhawan playing some rousing shots in his 72-ball knock of 42 (six fours).
Delhi had an early scare when seamer Ashish Nehra limped off after three overs in the morning. “I have pain in the right thigh. I hope I'll be fine on Wednesday,” said Nehra.
“Good we decided against going in with a bowler less,” confessed Bhatia. The spinner-friendly pitch allowed Delhi to prosper on the strength of Negi and Sood as Yogesh Nagar was rested to accommodate the former.
“In any case, Nagar did not have much role as a batsman at number seven and Negi gave us the option of an all-rounder,” Bhatia added. Sood took four wickets and Negi two to reduce the match to a one-sided affair.
Negi, who was recovering from an injury, grabbed the chance. His variation, with a good arm ball, was matched by Sood.
“Sood may have given away runs but he took wickets. It always helps to have a bowler who takes wickets in limited-over matches,” said Bhatia.
Delhi won a good toss and the pair of Pradeep Sangwan and Bhatia shared the first four wickets and left the stage for the spinners.
Assam lacked the will and the skill to tackle the slow pitch. Dheeraj Jadhav (23) and Rajdeep Das (20) were the only batsmen to put up some resistance.
“It was ideal preparation for us,” said the Delhi skipper. The home team will have Gautam Gambhir in the next match with Virat Kohli too looking at the possibility of playing against Railways.
Kohli spent time with his colleagues on Monday.
The scores: Assam: Pallab Das c Dhawan b Sangwan 8, Dheeraj Jadhav c Sood b Bhatia 23, Amit Singha b Sangwan 0, Sib Shankar Roy c and b Bhatia 0, Gokul Sharma st P. Bisht b Negi 15, Tarjinder Singh b Sood 10, Rajdeep Das b Sood 20, Sujay Tarafdar b Sood 5, Dheeraj Goswami st Bisht b Negi 9, Abu Nechim (not out) 1, Deepak Gohain lbw b Sood 0; Extras (b-1, w-2): 3; Total (in 32.5 overs): 94.
Fall of wickets: 1-14, 2-25, 3-27, 4-36, 5-53, 6-73, 7-84, 8-89, 9-93.
Delhi bowling: Nehra 3-0-12-0, Awana 6-1-11-0, Sangwan 6-1-13-2, Bhatia 6-2-9-2, Sood 6.5-0-36-4, Negi 5-1-12-2.
Delhi: Unmukt Chand c Rahdeep Das b Goswami 22, Shikhar Dhawan (not out) 42, Mohit Sharma lbw b Gohain 7, Mithun Manhas (not out) 19; Extras (lb-1, w-5): 6; Total (for two wickets in 20.2 overs): 96.
Fall of wickets: 1-35, 2-56.
Assam bowling: Nechim 3-1-8-0, Tarafdar 2-1-6-0, Gokul 3-0-15-0, Goswami 3-0-20-1, Tarjinder 5-0-29-0, Gohain 4.2-0-17-1.
Keywords: Vijay Hazare Trophy