BENGALURU: Two consistent teams which have thrived as much on individual brilliance as team effort will fittingly face off in the Vijay Hazare Trophy finale on Monday.
Delhi and Gujarat’s run in terms of wins are quite similar – seven wins each from eight matches in the league and knockout stages combined but are as different as chalk and cheese in terms of performance and strengths.
Delhi have built their success on the back of all-round strength in the league stages and the stinging bowling attack, led by Ishant Sharma, in the knockouts. When their star players were away, the youngsters came to the party. While Unmukt Chand (308) and Nitish Rana contributed significantly with the bat, Subodh Bhati (16 wickets) and Navdeep Saini (13 wickets) were efficient with the ball. If you add the allround effort of Pawan Negi (113 runs, 14 wickets), this team hasn’t banked heavily on the stars that include Ishant, Shikhar Dhawan and skipper Gautam Gambhir, who hasn’t had a great run with the bat but has rallied his team together with his leadership qualities.
Parthiv Patel and his men, however, are no pushovers. Every member has contributed to the team’s run to the final, but the blazing form of left-arm tweaker Axar Patel has reduced the rest to the supporting role. The 21-year-old has been Parthiv’s go-to man, with both bat and ball. With 214 runs, he is their second highest run-getter, and his 19 wickets, which have come at an economy rate of 3.10, has put him on top of the tournament’s bowlers list.
Parthiv introduced Axar in the 17th over of the semifinals against Tamil Nadu, who until then had the match in their grasp. Axar’s devastating 6-43 swung the match in Gujarat’s favour as TN’s chase of 249 came a cropper. On a two-paced Chinnaswamy track, it will be interesting to see how the deep Delhi batting line-up will prepare to counter the Axar threat.