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DOMESTIC Vijay Hazare Trophy: Unmukt Chand leads Delhi to victory


Unmukt Chand celebrated his recall to the Delhi team with a match-winning performance that saw the team defeat Kerala by four wickets at the DRIEMS cricket ground here in the Vijay Hazare Trophy group match on Saturday.

Unmukt Chand celebrated his recall to the Delhi team with a match-winning performance that saw the team defeat Kerala by four wickets at the DRIEMS cricket ground here in the Vijay Hazare Trophy group match on Saturday.
Chand’s strokeful 64 off 85 balls with five fours and a six was the feature of Delhi’s well-earned win against a combative opponent. Kerala presented Delhi a target of 232 which was achieved through Chand’s superb knock after openers Shikhar Dhawan (26) and Gautam Gambhir (25) had failed to impress again.
In a 50-run partnership with skipper Rishabh Pant and later with Milind Kumar, the latter a crucial 34-run association, Chand saw to it that Delhi did not falter. It was a crucial knock for him since he had been dropped from the original 16 for the tournament.
Having elected to bat, Kerala recovered from a shaky 138 for five to post a competitive total for its bowlers to exploit. It did not enjoy the start the openers had promised during their 44-run partnership. Rohan Kunnummal (23) and Mohammed Azharuddeen (28) hardly encountered discomfort in dealing with the Delhi pace attack of Subodh Bhati and Navdeep Saini.
Delhi included left-arm seamer Pawan Suyal to bolster its new-ball strength in the absence of Ashish Nehra, who chose to rest since the team was out of the race for a knockout berth. Nehra would rather conserve his energy for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) and a possible selection in the team for the Champions Trophy in June.
Kunnummal and Azharuddeen fell in quick succession and Kerala suffered a big blow when skipper Sachin Baby fell off the fourth ball he faced – edging Suyal behind. At 60 for three, Kerala had obviously blown away the advantage of first strike on a pitch that demanded decent shot selection.
It was left to Daryl Ferrario (26), Sanju Samson and Salman Nizar to set up a total beyond the 200-mark. Samson’s 41 off 50 balls (five fours) ended to a catch behind off Saini while Nizar carried on the good work until he became the eighth wicket to fall – a responsible knock of 59 off 92 balls with seven fours. For Delhi, Saini and Suyal picked two wickets each.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra qualified from this group following its four-wicket victory over Tripura, finishing its engagements with five wins. In its concluding round on Monday, Delhi, with two wins thus far, meets Uttar Pradesh while Kerala plays Tamil Nadu.

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