The thundershowers early on Saturday had left the Modern School ground wet and the ground-staff had to really hang on, braving the weather, to keep covers from flying and exposing the pitch ahead of Rann Star Cricket Club’s match against Rajnigandha Achievers.
The match, however, got delayed and began at 11.30 am with each team getting 25 overs each to play.
The prevailing sentiment that deduction of 15 overs and damp conditions would make batting conditions tough and impact the final score, was proved wrong as Rann Star raced to 291/8 in their 25 overs.
Delhi under-25 player Vaibhav Kandpal and Delhi under-19’s Sujal Singh added 111 runs in just 9.2 overs to put the team on course of a big total after opener Sarthak Ranjan (22 off 13) and No. 3 Yash Sehrawat (25 off 12) had played cameos at the top.
“It was a good batting track. When we batted first, we had in our mind that we will pile a big total. A big total, we thought, would make it easy for us to bowl,” Kandpal, who hammered 108 off 48 deliveries, said after the match.
“The game-plan was to cash in on loose deliveries. It was a good wicket and the ball was also coming on to the bat well,” added the batsman, who hit two centuries in four matches for Delhi in the Col. CK Nayudu Trophy for under-25 cricket.
The good start from openers Ranjan and Sujal made the long innings possible for Kandpal, who hammered 13 fours and six sixes against a demoralised Rajnigandha attack to keep the momentum going.
Opener Sujal said, “We wanted to encash the good batting surface and went with our shots. It is good that I am getting back into rhythm after an injury allowed me to play only a couple of matches in the under-19 season.”
Sujal cracked 78 off 42 balls with four sixes and nine fours.
The batsmen literally toyed with the bowling.
When the spinners bowled, Kandpal stepped out to hit sixes and against the medium pacers, he shuffled outside the off-side and picked the yorker-length from there.
“This is one of the best batting wickets, so it is safer to play the shots here,” he added.
The chase was anything but smooth and at one point in time, it seemed that Rajnigandha would lose by over a hundred runs.
But Manish Sehrawat’s 30-ball 63 (6x4s, 4x6s) and Deepanshu Phore’s 41 (22 balls, 3x4s, 3x6s) kept them in the game. The duo added 89 runs in 6.5 overs.
Even after Sehrawat’s dismissal, Phore kept the scoreboard ticking and brought the equation down to 27 off the last 12 balls. However, brilliant bit of fielding at long-off by Pawan Negi – he stopped a sureshot six from Phore – and a run-out through misjudgement by Ankit Chaudhary on the last ball of the 24th over sealed the game in Rann Star’s favour by 11 runs.