Delhi clinched their maiden Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 trophy after beating Rajasthan by 41 runs at the Eden Gardens on Friday. Electing to bat, Delhi rode on Unmukt Chand's 53 to post a modest 153 in 20 overs with Rajasthan missing the services of Deepak Chahar who was ruled out due to a hamstring injury. In reply, Rajasthan flopped with the bat, managing just 112 all out in 19.1 overs. Rajasthan's chase was led by Aditya Garhwal (36-ball, 52) but sedate batting from his partners let him and the team down. Garhwal kept Rajasthan in the match scoring steadily as partners Ankit Lamba (1) and Salman Khan (10) went cheaply.
Garhwal, 21, cut and slashed the spinners and drove and pulled the pacers to reach his 50 off 31 balls creaming seven balls to the fence. With the asking rate reaching nine runs per over, Garhwal tried to free his arms to a ball from Lalit Yadav (1/10) that stopped and rose on him. He pulled straight to Nitish Rana at long on to depart for 52.
In-form Mahipal Lomror (17) tried to stem the rot after Garhwal departed, in the company of Tejinder Singh (7). But the pair departed in successive overs to plunge Rajasthan into further misery. Chetan Bist (0) was out hit wicket trying to fend off a Kulwant Khejrolia bouncer, who a ball earlier had claimed Lomror with another superb delivery.
With six down for 94 and six overs remaining, the game looked all but over. For Delhi, skipper Pradeep Sangwan (2/14), Khejrolia (2/24) and Pawan Negi (2/21) all took two wickets each.
Earlier, India veteran Gautam Gambhir and Rishabh Pant gave Delhi a brisk start. Gambhir, who has had a miserable tournament so far, showed glimpses of his vintage self racing to a fluent 27 laced with 4 boundaries and a six before being flummoxed by the young leggie Rahul Chahar (2/31).
Gambhir was gone in the last over of the fifth over, and in the first ball of the sixth Khaleel Ahmed (2/23) returned Pant to one that rose awkwardly and induced a top edge to be caught by the keeper. With two down for 41, Dhruv Shorey (21) and Chand built a vital 48-run partnership for the third wicket. They struck big shots in tandem to dominate the Team Rajasthan bowlers.
While the others failed to get the in-form Shorey out, it was braveheart Rahul, who struck once again.
Despite being hit for a six in the previous delivery, Rahul tossed the next one up inviting Shorey, who missed the flight trying to go for another big shot and was comfortably stumped.
Chand, playing his first match in the tournament looked confident right from the start.
He punished the bad balls with conviction taking his team to 100 in 12 overs. Nitish Rana once again failed to get going as he was sent back by Abhimanyu Lamba in the next over with the score just 105/4. Milind and Chand laboured to a 18-run partnership but couldn't convert it to a big one getting out cheaply to skipper Aniket Choudhury while trying to hit over the deep extra cover.
Lone fighter Chand showed his class with a dominating 49 ball 53. He was caught on 48 off Khaleel, but it was ruled a no ball. However, Khaleel had the last laugh trapping the young turk lbw his next over.
Brief scores: Delhi 153/6 in 20 overs (Unmukt Chand 53, Khaleel Ahmed 2/23, Rahul Chahar 2/31 beat Rajasthan 112 in 19.1 overs (Aditya Garhwal 52, Kulwant Khejroliya 2/24, Pradeep Sangwan 2/14, Pawan Negi 2/21)
(With IANS Inputs)