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Delhi chase 270 for outright win

Maharashtra rode on opener Harshit Khadiwale's spirited 96 to set Delhi a victory target of 270 from 98 overs on the penultimate day of their Ranji Trophy clash at Roshanara cricket ground on Monday.

Delhi dismissed the visitors for 266 on a clear day in which 86 overs could be bowled. The home team started positively as Sumit Narwal dismissed Virag Awate and Sangram Atitkar in the space of three balls to reduce Maharashtra to 22 for 2. However, Khadiwale and new batsman Ankit Bawne then played cautiously to deny Delhi any further success in the first session. Khadiwale hit some crisp drives to bring up his half-century while Bawne too came out of the shell after a quiet start as Maharashtra went into lunch at 100/2.

Bawne began the second session aggressively and reached his half-century by spanking Rajat Bhatia for a flurry of boundaries. Just when the duo looked like taking the match away from Delhi, Vikas Towke provided the breakthrough as Bawne’s (52) attempted glance went straight to substitute fielder Milind Kumar at square leg. Delhi then struck thrice in quick succession to leave Maharashtra reeling at 170/6. While left arm seamer Pavan Suyal accounted for Rohit Motwani and Kedar Jadhav, Tokas dealt the big blow by castling Khadiwale who fell short of well-deserved century (96, 195 balls, 4x12). At the end of the second session, Maharashtra were 192/6 with Chirag Khurana and Shrikant Mundhe at the crease.

The duo continued to frustrate Delhi bowlers after tea, stitching a crucial 67-run seventh wicket stand. However, Pradeep Sangwan brought Delhi back into the game by uprooting the stumps of Mundhe (33) while new man Anupam Sanklecha lasted just nine balls before holing out to Unmukt Chand off Narwal without troubling the scorers. Sangwan then dealt the death blow by dismissing Khurana (38) and Samad Fallah (0) in successive overs as Maharashtra’s second innings folded at 266. 

Commenting on Delhi’s performance, skipper Shikhar Dhawan said, ‘Everybody chipped in and we bowled well in the second session. Ours is a young team which doesn’t have much experience. We must begin well on Tuesday and build partnerships. Batsmen need to apply themselves in this wicket, just like Harshad and (Ankit) Bawne. We can win the game as the target is achievable.’
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