Delhi succumbed to a nine-wicket defeat to Maharashtra in their season’s opening Ranji Trophy encounter in Pune on Friday, the fourth and final day.
To add to their woes, their pace bowling duo, Ishant Sharma and Mayank Yadav suffered injuries and could not bowl on the final day when Delhi were defending 177.
Ishant, 34, one of India’s most successful pace bowlers with over 300 Test wickets, suffered side strain (in ribs) while Yadav had to sit out due to hamstring injury, severely denting Delhi’s already slim chances of defending the total.
Delhi have themselves to blame for the loss.
They were shot out for 191 in first innings. Young skipper Yash Dhull (40), opener Dhruv Shorey (41) and Himmat Singh (49) were the only ones with notable contribution as medium-pacer Manoj Ingale took a fifer (5/43) to emerge as the most successful Maharashtra bowler.
Delhi bowlers responded well initially, reducing Maharashtra to 94/7 before left-handed batsman Azim Kazi (124) stitched a 219-run partnership for the eighth wicket with bowler Ashay Palkar (100). The partnership helped Maharashtra end their first innings at 324, with a 230-run lead.
Pacer Simarjeet Singh, who had picked the early wickets, emerged as Delhi’s most successful bowler with four wickets for 69. Mayank Yadav (2/46) and Vikas Mishra (2/83) took two wickets apiece while Ishant could take only one.
Delhi fared better in the second innings with Dhull (57), Vaibhav Rawal (55) and Himmat Singh (84) scoring important fifties. The visitors made 310 but the lead was only 177.
However, their hopes of defending the target on the final day got a setback when Ishant and Yadav got injured on the third day.
Maharashtra opener Pavan Shah scored 87 not out while Kaushal Tambe hit 64 .
Palkar won man-of-the-match award for his all-round show — century and match figures of four wickets for 127.
Delhi will now travel to Guwahati for the second match against Assam, but Ishant and Yadav will return to Delhi and are unlikely to play the second match.
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