Delhi beat Himachal in Sehwag’s absence

New Delhi, March 3: Unmukt Chand, Jagrit Anand and Milind Kumar struck fighting half centuries in Delhi’s five-wicket win over Himachal Pradesh in the Vijay Hazare Trophy (North Zone) at the Ferozeshah Kotla here Monday. Out of form Virender Sehwag pulled out of the game at the last minute owing to “sickness”.

Delhi played cautiously to get past Himachal’s 230 all out in 49.1 overs. Milind (57 not out off 68) played a handy knock to get his team home after Chand (51 off 80 balls) and Anand (61 off 89) set the tone for a successful chase with a 79-run partnership.

The win was Delhi’s second in three games while Himachal are yet to taste victory in the premier domestic cricket competition.

Delhi, who had lost to Punjab here Saturday, made three changes in the side with Anand, Yogesh Nagar and Ishant Sharma replacing Sehwag, injured all-rounder Rajat Bhatia and pacer Sumit Narwal.

Delhi coach Sanjeev Sharma said Sehwag should be fit for the crucial tie against Haryana Wednesday.

“He texted me in the morning saying he was unwell. He might not be in great form but remains an integral part of the side. He should be fit for the Haryana game,” Sharma told IANS adding that Sehwag could return to open the innings after batting at No.3 against Jammu & Kashmir and Punjab.

Delhi lost captain Gautam Gambhir (14) early in the chase with the southpaw edging a wide delivery off fast bowling all-rounder Rishi Dhawan. Anand joined Chand at the crease and the duo was tested by Dhawan and his new ball partner Vikramjeet Malik.

A usually attacking Chand had to toil for runs, finding the fence only four times including a six off Gurvinder Singh. The former India Under-19 captain threw it away after crossing the 50-run mark, finding the long off fielder after mistiming an aerial hit off Gurvinder.

Left-arm spinner Abhinav Bali bowled Mithun Manhas (4) to make it 114/3. Anand continued to occupy the crease until Bali held on to a spectacular return catch. Though wickets fell at the wrong time for Delhi, the run-rate was never an issue.

Milind showed the required maturity after Anand’s fall and alongside Nagar (31 off 33) saw his team through. The two shared 67 runs for the fifth wicket.

Earlier, Bipul Sharma struck a valiant 57 off 46 to take his team to a respectable total. Prashant Chopra made 49 off 81 at the top.

Ishant, playing his first competitive game since India’s New Zealand tour, conceded 38 runs in eight overs and picked the wicket of opposition captain Paras Dogra.

IANS