A sense of relief was palpable in the Delhi camp after the side restricted Vidarbha to 257 in the first innings raising hopes of an outright win on the penultimate day of the Ranji Trophy Group ‘B’ match at the old VCA Stadium here on Monday.

Victory will reward Delhi with a quarterfinal berth irrespective of the outcome of the Karnataka-Maharashtra encounter at Pune.

Following on, Vidarbha, on one for no loss, trails by 265.

Against a persistent and disciplined attack, Vidarbha suffered from lack of application from its batsmen, who succumbed to the pressure of chasing a huge total of 524. This put paid to Vidarbha’s dream of making it to the knockout stage. Resuming at its overnight score of 20 for one, Vidarbha added 99 at the expense of Amol Ubarhande and Faiz Fazal in the opening session.

The two gathered 56 for the second wicket. When Shalabh Shrivastava (45, 123b, 7x4) and Hemang Badani (68, 155b, 11x4) came together, Vidarbha was still weighing up its chances of giving Delhi a strong fight. Shrivastava impressed with some wristy shots on the on side, while Badani showed patience, besides collecting odd boundaries with delicate late cuts.

The pair put on 52 for the fourth wicket before Rajat Bhatia delivered a double blow an hour after lunch. Bhatia’s nagging line and accuracy earned him the breakthroughs. The medium-pacer trapped Shrivastava and Gaurav Upadhyay in front within the space of three balls to provide a massive twist to an otherwise dull script.

The defiant sixth-wicket stand worth 71 between Badani and Sairaj Bahutule came to an end when the Vidarbha skipper edged Pradeep Sangwan towards slip. Three overs later, Badani, who was let off twice, was done in by a Sumit Narwal inswinger.

Shreekant Wagh’s unbeaten 21-ball 29, containing four boundaries and a six, was in vain as the Vidarbha tail wound up in a hurry.

The scores: Delhi — 1st innings: 523 for nine decl.

Vidarbha — 1st innings: Faiz Fazal c & b Mishra 34, Shiv Sundar Das b Sangwan 0, Amol Ubarhande c Dhawan b Tokas 28, Shalabh Shrivastava lbw b Bhatia 45, Hemang Badani lbw b Narwal 68, Gaurav Upadhyay lbw b Bhatia 0, Sairaj Bahutule c Mohit b Sangwan 17, Shreekant Wagh (not out) 29, Amol Jungade c Manhas b Narwal 0, Akshay Wakhare (run out) 1, Sandeep Singh lbw b Mishra 0; Extras (b-9, lb-16, wd-1, nb-9): 35; Total (in 85.4 overs): 257.

Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-56, 3-97, 4-149, 5-149, 6-220, 7-237, 8-256, 9-257.

Delhi bowling: Sumit Narwal 19-9-27-2, Pradeep Sangwan 18-3-74-2, Vikas Tokas 13-3-43-1, Rajat Bhatia 16-6-41-2, Vikas Mishra 16.4-6-38-2, Mohit Sharma 3-1-9-0.

Vidarbha — 2nd innings: Faiz Fazal (batting) 1, Shiv Sundar Das (batting) 0; Total (for no loss in 3 overs): 1.

Delhi bowling: Sumit Narwal 1-0-1-0, Vikas Mishra 1-1-0-0, Rajat Bhatia 1-1-0-0.

Keywords: Ranji Trophy

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