Ghaziabad, Nov. 5 -- Delhi lost their Ranji opener to Uttar Pradesh on Monday but Virender Sehwag won his battle. On Sunday evening, he was the last man to leave the dressing room, ensuring his fans weren't there to bother him on his way out. His occasional appearances on the field, due to his finger injury and the early first innings dismissal, had upset his admirers a bit.
But they came back again on the final day of the match and got treated to belligerent strokes. And the man himself acknowledged their support. Just before lunch, Suresh Raina called a fielder up to point to stop a single, but Sehwag, on 99, squeezed a double past that fielder.
The crowd raised a din and Sehwag raised his bat to them first. UP went on to achieve a creditable victory in the end, by six wickets, but that mattered less to the crowd, underlining Sehwag's aura.
Through the first session he played strokes all around to dispel notions of poor form and injury. A cut over point got him to fifty. Ten boundaries in his fifty and seven in the morning's first 30 runs revealed his mood.
Relaxed arms, hanging shoulders and no sweat. He gave just one chance, when on 70 he edged Imtiaz, but Raina dropped it.
The UP skipper had also dropped his counterpart in the first innings. Sehwag took time to move to 83, but reached his ton off the next five scoring shots, smashing four fours to get to 99 before taking a couple.
He finally fell playing a pull shot post lunch but had given Delhi a chance to save the match. It wasn't to be. The UP openers began well. Raina came in to bat at one-down and hit the errant Delhi bowlers for six fours on his way to 37. By the time he was out, UP were on their way.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.