Imtiaz helps UP bowl out Delhi cheaply

Delhi had a batting line-up that could have send shivers down any bowling attack. Yet, at the end of the first day of their Ranji Trophy fixture against Uttar Pradesh, they left the Nehru Stadium with concern thicker than the evening haze enveloping their minds.

Fans thronged the stadium in thousands to catch a glimpse of their favourite stars, but Delhi’s performance was far from endearing in conditions that favoured bowlers, getting bundled out for a disappointing 235, barely fives overs into the last session. UP were 40 for one at close with Mukul Dagar (18) and Mohammad Kaif (3) at the crease.

Put into bat on a green top, Delhi batsmen found the going tough against the UP bolwers -- the young Imtiaz Ahmed (5-59) and the experienced Praveen Kumar (3-56). The 86-run fifth-wicket stand between Mithun Manhas (42) and Punit Bisht (52, 69b, 12x4) was the only saving grace for Delhi, helping them go past the 200-run mark.

The famed batting trio of captain Virender Sehwag (25),  Gautam Gambhir (32) and Virat Kohli (14) exited in a procession; all three in the pavilion with not even 100 runs on the board.

Chand, gave a good account of himself during his 46-ball innings, hitting four boundaries, but was unlucky to have mistimed a shot off Ali Murtaza that hit the toe of Tanmay Srivastava at short leg and ricocheted to Dagar at silly point.

With Delhi reeling at 106-4, Manhas and Bisht joined forces to stem the rot.
The two continued in the same vein post lunch, smacking Murtaza for three fours in the first over before they were consumed by Ahmed.

Manhas stroked seven boundaries for his 86-ball innings before being caught behind. Bisht, minutes after sweetly driving to the covers for his 50, fumbled and edged to Raina at second slip. Praveen, who had to leave the field after suffering a hamstring injury, returned in the final session to dismiss Sumit Narwal and Vikas Misra in succession to bring curtains to a miserable performance by Delhi.

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