Visakhapatnam: Gautam Gambhir made an useful contribution of 44 coming in to bat at No 4 as Delhi thrashed Gujarat by eight wickets to enter the semi-final of the National One Day Championship for Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Delhi captain Rajat Bhatia opted to field on a two-paced wicket and seamer Sumit Narwal responded brilliantly with career-best figures of five for 21 in seven overs to skittle Gujarat for 126 in 32 overs.
In reply, Delhi knocked off the runs in only 28.4 overs with Gambhir remaining unbeaten on 44 from 67 deliveries with six fours and a six. Mithun Manhas was retired hurt on 23 while Unmukt Chand made 28. The senior pro was supposed to bat at No 3 but was forced to come in at No 4 due to different reason.
"Gautam was suppose to come in at No 3 as he didn't want to tinker with opening combination. But as soon as he went to attend nature's call and a wicket fell at the same time. Since, there was a possibility of getting 'timed-out', Mithun Manhas, who was supposed to go in at No 4, was promoted up the order," a member of the Delhi squad informed PTI.
In the morning, the cracks and variable bounce on the 22-yard strip helped Delhi seamers Narwal and Parvinder Awana (2/32), who used the conditions to good effect. Gujarat failed to build any major partnerships after openers Priyank Panchal (21) and skipper Parthiv Patel (18) were dismissed. The duo added 40 for the opening wicket. Gujarat lost seven wickets for 49 runs from being 77 for three in the 18th over. The target was never a big one for Delhi and they cruised home comfortably.
Brief Scores: Gujarat 126 in 32 overs (Akshar Patel 30, Sumit Narwal 5/21, Parvinder Awana 2/32).
Delhi 130/2 (Gautam Gambhir 44 no, Unmukt Chand 28, Mithun Manhas 23 retd).
Can Delhi win the Vijay Hazare Trophy?