New Delhi: Defending champions Delhi paid the price for complacency as they were knocked out of the North Zone leg of the Vijay Hazare Trophy after a 44-run defeat at the hands of a gritty Services, who qualified for the main round along with Punjab, here today.
The decision by Delhi team management to rest three seniors -- Ashish Nehra, Mithun Manhas and Ishant Sharma -- in the pretext of rotation policy backfired badly while captain Gautam Gambhir's bowling changes left a lot to be desired. Put into bat, Services scored a healthy 257 for five, riding on a fine unbeaten century by Rajat Paliwal (105 not out) and skipper Yashpal Singh's gutsy 75.
The duo came together at 36 for 3 and added 168 runs for the fourth wicket stand. While Paliwal smashed six fours and two sixes, Yashpal hit equal number of fours along with a six. In reply, Delhi managed only 213 in 48.2 overs with left-arm spinner Abhishek Sakuja, Diwesh Pathania and Suraj Yadav picking two wickets apiece.
The Services bowlers were also backed by some outstanding fielding. It was baffling to see some Delhi bowling changes as Parvinder Awana (0/17 in 7 overs) did not get to complete his spell while part-time spinners Milind Kumar (1/35 in 5 overs) and Yogesh Nagar (0/21 in 2 overs) gave away 56 runs in seven overs.
Delhi started confidently with Unmukt Chand (20) and Gautam Gambhir (27) adding 51 runs for opening stand before Sakuja struck twin blows. Chand was trapped plumb in front of wicket and Gambhir gave a simple return catch. Puneet Bisht was caught behind and Delhi never recovered from 59/3. Jagrit Anand scored 69 off 82 balls but never came to terms with the slowish nature of the track.
Meanwhile, Delhi pacer Ashish Nehra today came at the ground at 11:30 am despite the reporting time for players in the 15 is 8:15 am.
"Ideally, you should not be late 8:30 am but you don't know what's the reason," a member of Delhi team's administrative unit told PTI.
The discipline of the team has been pretty poor with some senior players not adhering to any rules while coaching staff turning a blind eye to all sorts of misdemeanour.
Services: 257 for 5 in 50 overs (Rajat Paliwal 105 not out; Sumit Narwal 2/40).
Delhi: 213 all out in 48.2 overs (Jagrit Anand 69; Suraj Yadav 2/44, Avishek Sinha 2/29).