New Delhi: Talented right-hander Milind Kumar successfully anchored a modest run-chase with an unbeaten 58 as Delhi beat Maharashtra by five wickets in a group C encounter to inch closer towards the quarter-finals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, here yesterday.
Delhi have 16 points from five matches with four victories to their credit and are currently third in the group behind Vidarbha (+1.426) and Baroda (+1.114), who are also on 16 points but enjoy a better Net Run Rate (NNR) than the hosts (+0.727).
But Delhi have a match to go against Andhra and a win will straightaway put them in last eight. In case they lose, they will have to depend on other results. It was Milind, who hit Dominic Mutthuswamy for a six over long on, to complete the match, reaching the target of 195. He faced 59 balls and also hit five boundaries.
He added 59 runs for the unbroken sixth wicket with Pawan Negi (run-a-ball 28), which sealed the match in their favour. Put into bat, Maharashtra managed only 194 for nine in 50 overs with skipper Kedar Jadhav scoring 48 off 46 balls. He hit five boundaries. Opener Swapnil Gugale was the second highest scorer with a painstaking 44 off 88 balls.
Delhi's left-arm spinners Negi (3/38) and Manan Sharma (3/21) snared six wickets between them in 20 overs that costed only 59 runs. Veteran left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra, vying for another IPL contract in the two new teams, finally played a match and had decent returns of 1/32 in nine overs.
In reply, seasoned Unmukt Chand (11) and Gautam Gambhir (18) failed, but Dhruv Shorey (57) and Milind added 59 runs for the fourth wicket. Dhruv batted patiently, scoring his runs off 97 balls with five boundaries.
Maharashtra 194/9 (Kedar Jadhav 48, Manan Sharma 3/38, Pawan Negi 3/21) Delhi 197/5 in 48.4 overs (Dhruv Shorey 57, Milind Kumar 58 no). Delhi won by 5 wickets. Points: Delhi 4; Maharashtra 0.