Clinical Delhi have it easy against Punjab

Services edge out J&K in low-scoring encounter

A solid all-round performance by Delhi helped them down Punjab by 135 runs and earn their second successive victory in the North Zone leg of the National one-day championship for the Vijay Hazare Trophy here on Wednesday.

The resounding victory also earned the hosts their second bonus point in the tournament, and they now lead the table with 10 points from two matches.

After posting 265 for five in 50 overs, Delhi bowlers never let the opposition’s batsmen get off the hook, bowling them out for 130 in 32 overs.

It was also a battle between two out-of-favour veterans -- Delhi’s Ashish Nehra and Punjab’s Harbhajan Singh.

They didn’t exactly set the stage on fire but Nehra (1/37) bowled at a brisk pace during his eight overs. The Punjab batsmen were never at ease facing Nehra.

Punjab skipper Harbhajan, on the other hand, gave away 38 runs in his 10-over spell.

What the figures won’t tell is that he didn’t attack the batsmen much. He bowled flat without flighting the ball much in his bid to contain the batsman rather than trying to gather wickets. He drifted down the leg-side on a number of occasions.

Harbhajan’s bowlers kept Delhi under wraps till the 40th over but skipper Rajat Bhatia (60 n.o., 38b, 6x4, 2x6), Punit Bisht (73, 81b, 7x4, 2x6), Yogesh Nagar (21) then unleashed some cracking shots as Delhi scored 108 runs in the last 10 overs.

Former Delhi captain Mithun Manhas (60, 104b, 5x4) also added 111 runs for the third wicket with Bisht. But it was Bhatia whose big-hitting in the final five overs yielded 66 runs and put Delhi in driver’s seat.

In reply, Punjab lost three top-order batsmen within the first eight overs, courtesy a hostile spell by Parvinder Awana (3/27), and they never recovered from there.

Awana pitched the ball up and also got a fair bit of movement as he sent back Uday Kaul, Karan Goel and Gurkirat Singh Ahluwalia during his first spell of five overs.

Harbhajan (36, 29b, 5x4, 2x6) entertained the 100-odd spectators with some lusty blows but that wasn’t enough as Delhi romped home in 32 overs. It was rookie left-arm spinner Varun Sood (3/4) who polished off the tail with Bhatia, Manhas, Sangwan all chipping in with a wicket each.

In other matches, Services edged out Jammu & Kashmir by 14 runs in a low-scoring contest while Haryana overpowered Himachal Pradesh by 79 runs to pick up a bonus point too. These were the first points of the tournament for Haryana, who are second, and third-placed Services.

Brief scores: Delhi: 265/5 in 50 overs (Mithun Manhas 60, Puneet Bisht 73, Rajat Bhatia 60 n.o.; Brainder Sran 2-72) bt Punjab: 130 all out in 32 overs (Bipul Sharma 25 n.o., Harbhajan Singh 36; Parvinder Awana 3-27, Varun Sood 3-4). Delhi 5 pts, Punjab -1.
Services: 187 all out in 49.2 overs (Tahir Khan 29, Suraj Yadav 29 n.o.; Ram Dayal 2-24, Manik Gupta 3-28, Raman Dutta 2-36) bt Jammu & Kashmir: 173 all out in 44.3 overs (Hardeep Singh 58, Manik Gupta 39; Amrinder Singh 2-29, Nishan Singh 3-30, Avishek Sinha 2-42). Services 4 pts, J & K 0. 

Haryana: 291/7 in 50 overs (Nitin Saini 26, Sunny Singh 42, Sachin Rana 110, Rahul Dewan 54; Rishi Dhawan 4-64) bt Himachal Pradesh: 212 all out in 48.4 overs (Prashant Chopra 32, Mukesh Sharma 42, Vikramjit Singh Malik 33; Kuldeep Hooda 3-27). Haryana 5 pts, HP -1.

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