Youngster Udit Birla showed nerves of steel as he anchored Madhya Pradesh to a two-wicket victory over Delhi in an Elite Group B Ranji Trophy match at the Emerald Heights High School Ground here on Friday.
On the final day, MP chasing a victory target of 299 needed 59 runs to win with five wickets in hand. They reached the target, when No. 10 batsman Ishwar Pandey (4 not out) dispatched Rajat Bhatia to the fence.
MP now have 13 points from four matches and are firmly in contention for a place in the quarter-finals. Delhi with 10 points, are certainly looking down the barrel, and will now have to depend on theoretical possibilities as well as a win against Bengal in their last group game may not be enough.
It was the eighth-wicket partnership of 22 runs between Birla (49, 107 balls, 7x4, 1x6) and Amit Sharma (14) that ensured that hosts will earn full points from this match after Parvinder Awana (5/93) sent back Harpreet Singh (8) and Taduri Sudhindra (0) quickly.
The 22-year-old Birla, showed lot of maturity as he didn't take any undue risks with the target round the corner. He found an able ally in Amit who hit three boundaries in his 22-ball knock.
Delhi bowlers were guilty of giving away 40 extras which had a telling impact on the final result of the match.
Left-arm seamer Pradeep Sangwan alone bowled all the 13 no-balls in MP's second innings. At no point did he look menacing. Sangwan's profligacy spelt doom for Awana as the pressure he created from one end wasn't complemented from the other end.
Delhi 158 & 296
Madhya Pradesh 156 & 300/8 (Naman Ojha 107, Devendra Bundela 68, Udit Birla 49 no, Parvinder Awana 5/93). MP beat Delhi by 2 wkts. Points: MP 5; Delhi 0.