Puducherry couldn’t end its Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy on a high as the southern newbies suffered a crushing 110-run loss against Delhi in its final Group E tie on Tuesday.
With neither team being in contention for a spot in the quarterfinals, Delhi preferred to rest its regulars, including captain Shikhar Dhawan and speedster Ishant Sharma, and give vritually everyone on the bench game-time. But even a second-string Delhi outfit proved too hard to handle for Puducherry at the Bandra-Kurla Complex facility.
Despite Ashith Rajiv striking twice in as many balls in the first over, Himmat Singh’s fifty (53, 42b, 4×4, 2×6) helped Delhi resurrect the innings. Kshitiz Sharma (65 n.o., 34b, 6×4, 3×6) and Lalit Yadav (36 n.o., 19b, 5×4, 1×6) then snatched the game away from Puducherry with an unbroken 82-run partnership in the last six overs to ensure Delhi piled on a stiff 192 for five.
In reply, offspinner Shivank Vashisht (four for 9) led the spoils as Delhi bundled Puducherry out for a paltry 82. The fact that no Puducherry batsman could tally even 15 runs speaks volumes about its inability to even make a match of it. Their batting revolves around professionals Sheldon Jackson and Paras Dogra. But once Vashisht saw their back off successive deliveries in the eighth over after left-armer Pawan Suyal had struck twice in the Powerplay, the Pondicherry lower order staged a meek surrender.
Delhi thus finished its Group E campaign with 12 points from five games, while Puducherry ended with eight points, thanks to its stunning wins against Mumbai and Andhra.