Rampaging Mumbai opening batsmen as well as poor weather has put Delhi under-25 team’s chances of qualifying for the knockout stage of the Col CK Nayudu Trophy on a slightly shaky ground.
In their latest game, which ended on Wednesday at Palam Air Force grounds, Delhi conceded lead on first innings after Mumbai under-25 openers Musheer Khan (108) and Angkrish Raghuvanshi (153 not out) hit centuries. Mumbai ended at 284/1 replying to Delhi’s 277/6 declared in a game that saw just about one-and-a-half days’ play in total due to rain and bad light.
“We have to win or take first innings lead against Saurashtra in the next match in Rajkot if we have to qualify for the knockout stage,” said Pankaj Singh, a former India pacer, who is the head coach of the Delhi under-25 team.
Delhi are on third place of Group D with 16 points after four games while Saurashtra (18 in five games) and Mumbai (23 in four matches) occupy second and first spots respectively in the pool.
This will be Delhi’s penultimate game after which they will play Nagaland, who they fancy to beat. But if they lose to Saurashtra, even a win against Nagaland may not be enough. Even losing points on first innings may hurt their qualification chances a bit.
“We have been a bit unlucky with the weather in our last two matches. We couldn’t press for an outright win and full points against Uttarakhand in the last game. In this game [against Mumbai] too, we had to declare at 277/6 and then ask Mumbai to bat because we were eyeing full points,” Singh told Patriot.
The first day saw only a handful of overs, there was no play on the second day while the third day again saw a handful of overs. The fourth day saw almost full day’s play before the match was called off after Mumbai took the lead and there was no possibility of a different result.
“We missed a few chances – catches and a stumping — early on in Mumbai’s innings. You can call some of them half chances. If we had grabbed those chances, the cat may have been among the pigeons and Mumbai could have buckled under pressure. But that wasn’t to be,” said Singh.
For Delhi, Saurav Dagar scored 109 while opener Arpit Rana hit 50.
Skipper Vaibhav Kandpal too said that they have to ensure that they don’t lose the next match.
Asked if he was disappointed with the bowling in the game against Mumbai, he said. “We had bowled well in the previous three matches. We had taken 57 of the 60 wickets in those matches. In this game, we took a risk, setting only 277 for Mumbai and went on the attack. The wicket kept getting slow and that affected our bowlers too,” said Kandpal, who has scored 319 runs in four matches so far, averaging 53.17.T
The match against Saurashtra begins on February 5.