Delhi slip on top-order, pace bowling in Vijay Hazare one-dayers

- December 6, 2023
| By : Khurram Habib |

 Delhi lose four of their seven games to finish fifth in the pool following poor show by the top-order and lack of bite in pace bowling

Yash Dhull

Delhi’s run at the national one-day tournament for the Vijay Hazare Trophy ended on a dismal note with a 51-run loss to Uttarakhand which left them in fifth place among the eight teams in Group C. Delhi had already crashed out of the knockout round after loss to Haryana in the fifth match.

The poor performance in the one-dayers came after a good showing in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20s, where Delhi reached the semi-finals. The team could win only three of the seven matches in the one-day format, and those wins came against unfancied teams like Bihar, Mizoram and Chandigarh.

Among the causes of Delhi’s foundering were the failure of openers to provide a start, the struggle of skipper and top-order batsman Yash Dhull and failure of senior India pace bowler Ishant Sharma, who went wicket-less in the three of the four matches he played in the tournament.

“This is a poor show. The top-order batting was catastrophic. The team management also didn’t give opportunity to some specialist openers they were carrying,” said a senior office-bearer of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).

“We lost even to J&K, Uttarakhand and Haryana, teams we would beat earlier,” he added.

Delhi tried five batsmen in the opening position with Prashant Arya, who was successful in the T20 tournament, featuring in five of those matches. He failed to go beyond 45 and couldn’t get to double figures in three of the five matches.

Delhi’s openers had only one successful outing, in the first game against Bihar, adding 73. Post that, the partnership returns were well below par — 7 vs Mizoram, 6 vs Karnataka, 0 vs Jammu and Kashmir, 16 vs Haryana, 0 vs Chandigarh and 16 against Uttarakhand. There was not a single half-century partnership and among all the openers only Jonty Sidhu managed to score a fifty.

The problem was compounded with skipper Yash Dhull failing at the No. 3 batting position. The right-handed batsman, who burst into first-class cricket circuit with aplomb in the debut 2021-22 season before tapering off last time, failed to score a single fifty and returned with just 163 runs from seven games at an average of 32.6.

Dhull, who occupied the crucial No. 3 position in five of the six times he batted, got two scores in 40s and one in 30s.

That failure of the top three then put a lot of burden on the middle-order where Himmat Singh (337 runs in seven matches at an average of 84.25) and Ayush Badoni (277 runs in seven games at an average of 55.4) were the bright spots.

However, barring the two, none of the others succeeded.

Delhi’s pace bowling also came up short with Ishant failing to lead from the front and then returning after the match against Haryana. His yield in four matches was just three wickets, which came in the first game. Navdeep Saini played just three games, leaving the pace bowling unit unsettled.

Coach Devang Gandhi, who is new to the set-up as he was appointed this season, refused to comment to Patriot citing a gag order.

“I think the blame for the performance lies with us, the players. We failed to perform and let ourselves down. However, we are looking forward to improving the show in red-ball season,” said Himmat, who was Delhi’s top-scorer this season.