A breathtaking 143-run stand for the seventh wicket between the duo of Anuj Rawat and Pradeep Sangwan helped Delhi stage a stunning comeback as the 2012/13 champions beat Uttarakhand to book their place in the next round. Delhi will now face Uttar Pradesh in the quarter-final on Tuesday, March 9.
Brief scores: Delhi 289/6 in 48.3 overs (Rawat 95*, Rana 81 and Fallah 2/64) beat Uttarakhand 287/8 in 50 (Kamal Singh 77, Kunal Chandela 62 and Sangwan 3/59) by 4 wickets
At 146/6, chasing 288, Delhi looked like they were on course to suffer an embarrassing exit at the hands of plate toppers Uttarakhand, but skipper Pradeep Sangwan and wicket-keeper Anuj Rawat had other ideas. Converging to bat in the 33rd over, with Delhi still needing 142 to chase down the total, Rawat and Sangwan had a next-to-impossible task at hand, but the duo put up a stunning exhibition of counter-punching to propel Delhi into the quarter-finals. Together, Rawat (95* off 85) and Sangwan (58* off 49) struck an astonishing 21 boundaries (13 fours and 8 sixes) between them, and the onslaught proved too much for Uttarakhand, who had no answers for the staggering display of batsmanship from the two men.
However, for a long while, it was the plate-toppers who had the game in firm control. After being inserted into bat by Sangwan’s Delhi, Uttarakhand got off to the perfect start imaginable, with openers Kamal Singh and Jay Bista putting on an 88-run stand for the first wicket. Both the openers then perished in quick succession, but a fine captain’s knock from Kunal Chandela (62) laid the platform for the plate team to post a daunting first innings total. Sangwan, who struck thrice, threatened to derail Uttarakhand’s ambitions, but a whirlwind cameo - 44 off 23 balls - from wicket-keeper Saurabh Rawat pushed the Chandela-led side to a total of 287.
Chasing 288 was always going to be tough, particularly without the services of Shikhar Dhawan, and Delhi got off to a horror start, losing their first three wickets for just 31 runs. Experienced left-armer Samad Fallah was the wrecker-in-chief with the new ball as he skittled out two of the top three Delhi batters. Wickets kept falling at regular intervals but Nitish Rana stood tall, taking the attack to the Uttarakhand bowlers. Despite wickets falling at one end, Rana went at a steady pace and in no time raced off to his 80s, after finally getting able support from Anuj Rawat. However, Rana perished on 81 with Delhi still 142 adrift of the Uttarakhand target and at that moment it did look like a major upset was on the cards. The hopeful Uttarakhand hearts were then, however, shattered by the duo of Sangwan and Rawat, who overpowered an inexperienced bowling attack to take Delhi over the line with 9 balls to spare.
The result means that Delhi will now face Uttar Pradesh in the quarter-final at the Arjun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi on Tuesday, March 9.