Butter-finger Delhi settle for draw against Baroda

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New Delhi, Dec 12 (UNI) An outright win literally slipped through the fingers as hosts Delhi got two points and lost as many after Connor Williams' scrappy ton helped Baroda force a draw in the Group A Elite Ranji Trophy match here today.

Baroda were bowled out for 244 in the first innings and Delhi replied with a first innings total of 493 all out. It was the first innings lead of 249 runs that fetched the hosts two points from the match.

After Baroda resumed their second innings on 35 for no loss, Delhi's prospects of an outright win seemed quite bright this morning, especially with their main strike bowler Ashish Nehra, who bowled just eight overs in the first innings owing to giddiness, regaining match fitness. And Nehra had an able new ball colleague in Ishant Sharma, who scythed the Baroda line-up in the first innings with a five-wicket haul, and was relentless with his impeccable line and length.

But the butter-finger fielders let down the bowlers, dropping three catches at crucial junctures to forfeit an outright win.

Connor Williams (106) was dropped by Rajat Bhatia off Ishant at gully when the batsman was on 41 and the lanky pacer was left to rue his luck again when Shikhar Dhawan spilled a sitter in the slip with the batsman on 53. Connor went on to play a 275-ball knock of 106 runs with the help of 14 boundaries after spending six hours fourty minutes in the middle.

Ahit Bhoite (33) was also a beneficiary of the largesse as debutant stumper Punit Bisht floored a catch off Kunal Lall.

Apart from Connor Williams and Bhoite, Pinal Shah (30 not out) made useful contribution with the bat.

More than the runs they scored, it was the time they spent out in the middle that helped the visitors bat out the day and force a draw.

Later Delhi coach Chetan Chauhan rued missing two points which seemed up for grabs.

''I guess there are three reasons behind it not having a fully-fit Nehra in the first innings, the dropped catches and we simply didn't have the winner's luck with us. So many times the bowlers beat the bat but they just didn't nick it,' he lamented.

Delhi captain Mithun Manhas also felt his side didn't win to points but lost two in the match.

''It's quite disappointing to settle for a draw despite dominating the match. Things would have been just different had we taken the catches,'' he mourned.

Delhi host Karnataka in their next assignment, while Baroda play Andhra at home.

Scoreboard: Baroda 1st innings: 244 all out Delhi 1st innings: 493 all out Baroda 2nd innings: (Obernight 35 for no loss) Rishikesh Parab b Ishant 32 Connor Williams c Bisht b Nehra 106 Rakesh Solanki c Bhatia b Kuunal 6 Jacob Martin c Dhawan b Nehra 7 Ajit Bhoite lbw b Bhatia 33 Pinal Shah not out 30 Ketan Panchal c Dhawan b Ishant 6 Yusuf Pathan lbw b Kuunal 2 Rajesh Pawar not out 0 Extras (B-10, W-3, NB-18) 31 Total (For 7 wickets in 99 overs) 253 Fall of wickets: 1/77 2/92 3/108 4/198 5/224 6/235 7/249 Bowling: Ashish Nehra 30-7-73-2 Ishant Sharma 28-7-69-2 Kuunal Lal 20-5-50-2 Yogesh Sachdeva 5-0-31-0 Mithun Manhas 12-4-18-0 Rajat Bhatia 4-3-2-1 UNI AY PM VV1834

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