Delhi beat Services by 3 wickets, enter Vijay Hazare knockouts

Dharamsala: Delhi medium-pacer Vikas Tokas picked up a four-wicket haul to help the Gautam Gambhir-led side edge past Services by three wickets in a North Zone match and enter the knockout stage of the Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day tournament, here yesterday.

Needing 147 for victory, Delhi made heavy weather of their chase by failing to get partnerships going but finally got their target in 34.4 overs. Juggling with their opening combination in every match of the tournament so far, Gambhir (4), who struck a fluent 93 in
the last match, came in with Unmukt Chand (2) but soon the score read 6 for 2.

Virender Sehwag, who also looked to be back in form after his smashing 80 in the previous game, threw away his wicket after a quickfire 20. The middle-order followed the same regimen and the batsmen withered away good starts to always give Services a ray of hope.

Rajat Bhatia top-scored with a patient 34 as wicketkeeper-batsman Puneet Bisht (15 not out) guided the team home alongwith Sumit Narwal (1 not out). Pace spearhead Suraj Yadav, new-ball partner Shadab Nazar and Nerender Singh picked up 2 wickets each.

Earlier electing to field, Delhi bowlers, led by the in-form Tokas, hurt Services by picking up regular wickets to bundle the Yashpal Singh-led side for a paltry 146 in 40.1 overs. Pace spearhead Narwal started the rot by picking up Services opener Pratik Desai (19) and wicketkeeper-batsman Nakul Verma (0) on consecutive deliveries to be on a hat-trick, only to be foiled by Rajat Paliwal (12).

Left-arm orthodox bowler Varun Sood also chipped in with a couple of wickets and sent back a dangerous-looking opener Devender Lochab (40), who remained the highest-scorer of the innings. But Tokas it was who troubled the Services batsmen time and again to pick up his second consecutive four-wicket haul after he registered figures of 4-41 in Delhi's previous win against Haryana by the same margin.

Delhi with three wins from five matches managed to scrape through into the next round with a better run-rate than Himachal Pradesh and ended second in the table led by Punjab.

Brief Scores:
Services 146 all out in 40.1 overs (Devender Lochab 40, Ashutosh Aman 22; Vikas Tokas 4-43) Delhi 148/7 in 34.4 overs (Rajat Bhatia 34, Virender Sehwag 20; Suraj Yadav (2-23), Shadab Nazar (2-36), Nerender Singh (2-37).

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