Cricket / Sehwag, Gambhir come good for Delhi
One thought Punjab would benefit immensely from playing all its Syed Mushtaq Ali North Zone T20 qualifying matches at the PCA Stadium here. Yet Punjab struggled, slipped and fell away.
Nearly a month ago, Haryana had succeeded in defending a low total against Harbhajan Singh’s side in a rain curtailed one-day match at the Jamia Millia Islamia ground in New Delhi. Curiously, Punjab collapsed in a similar fashion to lose to the same team, this time by 32 runs.
Inexperience hurt the Punjab side on a track that wasn’t the most favourable for batting. With Yuvraj Singh away on international duty, the squad’s batting line-up lacked stability and the weakness was conspicuous as Punjab failed to chase 137 down.
Delhi, on the other hand, felt at home on Tuesday, posting a six-wicket win over Himachal Pradesh earlier in the day. Like Punjab, it was set a seemingly facile task of pursuing 135 for a win. And Delhi did make it easy.
The presence of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir brought the required sanity to Delhi’s innings, even though the batsmen achieved it through different means.
There had been a marked restlessness to Sehwag’s batting lately. He seemed hurried, uneasy and diffident. On Tuesday, however, he looked self-assured; the runs, though, were acquired in the usual impudent manner.
Sehwag added 82 with Gautam Gambhir in 61 balls for the opening wicket. It was a partnership that also saw a patient beginning from the latter. Gambhir scored only eight off his first 21 balls as he struggled to time the ball. The only way to gain fluency was to endure the period. And endure, he did. The rewards arrived in a bunch soon. The next 18 deliveries saw him score 33 with six fours.
A four caressed through covers off left-arm spinner Gurvinder Singh was worth its place in the memory.
Delhi was forced to ride over choppy waters when it lost four wickets in 21 balls for 19 runs but the remaining 34 were accrued with ease.
A little appreciation for Delhi’s medium-pacers would be in order. Sumit Narwal, Ishant Sharma and Parvinder Awana conceded only 66 runs in their 12 overs for four wickets. Their lengths were exceptional as they hardly bowled full.
At the Sector 16 Stadium in Chandigarh, Services began its campaign with a seven-wicket thrashing of Jammu and Kashmir. Shadab Nazar’s four-wicket haul helped his side bowl J & K out for 91. The chase was accomplished without much difficulty thereafter.
The scores: At Mohali: Himachal Pradesh 134 for six in 20 overs (Paras Dogra 40 not out, Nikhil Gangta 29, Rishi Dhawan 27) lost to Delhi 135 for four in 18.2 overs (Gautam Gambhir 41, Virender Sehwag 42). Points: Delhi 4, HP 0 .
Haryana 136 in 19.5 overs (Avi Barot 27, Rahul Dewan 38, Himanshu Chawla three for 23) bt Punjab 104 for nine in 20 overs (Manan Vohra 28, Harshal Patel three for 35, Jayant Yadav three for 10). Haryana 4, Punjab 0 .
At Chandigarh: Jammu & Kashmir 91 in 18.4 overs (Shadab Nazar four for 13) lost to Services 93 for three in 16.4 overs (Anshul Gupta 25, Rajat Paliwal 29 not out). Services 4, J and K 0 .