After centurion Himmat Singh ran himself out and left Delhi’s last-wicket pair of Harshit Rana and debutant Divij Mehra staring at the challenge of scoring 37 runs for the first innings lead, Andhra looked well poised to gain three points from this Group B Ranji Trophy encounter.
But what followed at the Arun Jaitley ground was sensational.
A robust counter-attack from Rana (33 not out, 46b, 4×4, 1×6) and Mehra (32 not out, 38b, 6×4) produced 65 runs off 77 deliveries.
Well after the pair helped Delhi overhaul Andhra’s first innings tally of 459 for 9 declared, the host declared at 488 for nine, 28 minutes from the scheduled tea-interval. During the advanced tea break, the teams saw the futility of continuing the game and the umpires called off the proceedings.
As a result of the draw, Delhi (5 points) gained three points for taking a 29-run lead to remain seventh in the eight-team Group B. Andhra (13) added one point to retain its fourth place.
Both the teams are out of reckoning for the two qualifying spots from the group, for the knockout phase. With two rounds to go, Saurashtra (26 points) and Mumbai (23) are the favourites to advance.
With Delhi opening a four-point lead over last-placed Hyderabad (1), its last-round clash could decide which team suffers the ignominy of relegation to next season’s Group C.
The engrossing final day saw overnight not-out Dhruv Shorey move from 142 to 185 but missed his second double century of the season when he stumped after being foxed by left-arm spinner Lalith Mohan.
Though the stand yielded 156 runs, Delhi was still 103 runs behind..
Lakshay Thareja and Himmat cautiously added 40 runs before Nitish Reddy struck at the stroke of lunch.
On resumption, much depended on how the tailenders supported Himmat but Andhra soon gained the upper hand once Pranshu Vijayran and Yogesh Sharma fell within three runs.
Thereafter, Himmat, whose 204-ball innings was dotted with 10 fours and three sixes, reached his maiden century – following nine other 50-plus scores – in Ranji Trophy.
Himmat’s run-out following a reverse sweep meant Delhi lost four wickets within 17 runs. But the last pair undid the damage.
Andhra-1st innings: 459/9 dec.; Delhi-1st innings: 488
Delhi batting: Dhruv Shorey st. Bharat b Lalith Mohan 185, Ayush Badoni lbw b Nithish 0, Hrithik Shokeen c Sudharsan b Khan 45, Yash Dhull b Khan 29, Vaibhav Rawal (run out) 25, Himmat Singh (run out) 104, Lakshay Thareja c Abhishek Reddy b Nithish 12, Pranshu Vijayran c Shinde b Lalith Mohan 4, Yogesh Sharma c Bharat b Nithish 3, Harshit Rana (not out) 33, Divij Mehra (not out) 32, Extras (b-2, lb-7, w-7) 16, Total (for nine wickets decl. in 147 overs)
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-89, 3-142, 4-210, 5-366, 6-406, 7-411, 8-414, 9-423.
Andhra bowling: K. V. Sasikanth 26-6-76-0, Nithish Reddy 32-8-90-3, Shoaib Khan 38-2-119-2, Lalith Mohan 39-4-153-2, K. Sudharsan 12-0-41-0.
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