Bengaluru: Eyeing their second title win in the tournament, a confident Delhi will take on a spirited
Gujarat in the day-night ODI cricket final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Monday.
If Delhi, who won their only Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2012-13, have banked on their bowlers all this while then bowling all-rounder Axar Patel has given Gujarat the much-needed impetus in crunch times.
For Delhi, Shikhar Dhawan, who was unable to make big scores in the recently-concluded South Africa tour and also in this tournament, will be determined to make a statement before embarking on India's tour to Australia, especially against the most successful bowler Axar, who has taken 19 wickets in the season.
Captain Gautam Gambhir will be heartened by his bowling attack led by Ishant Sharma and Pawan Negi, but he knows that individual brilliances apart his batsmen have been far from consistent.
Unmukt Chand's unbeaten 80 in the semi-final against Himachal Pradesh brought welcome cheers for the Delhi team before the summit clash.
Dhawan, Gambhir, Chand and Ishant will be the players on whom Delhi will banking on to see off the Parthiv Patel-led Gujarat outfit. Gambhir's side will go into the match with an advantage of having played their quarter-final and semi-final matches at this venue, unlike Gujarat who played their previous matches at Alur, better-known as a batting wicket.
Gujarat may find it difficult to adjust to these conditions because of the two-paced movement of the track as some balls have kept low and some others scooting off the deck, which has made batting that much more difficult.
Ishant may have bowled well in patches but has enough experience in his kitty to send shivers down the opposition anytime, and moreover Subodh Bhati and Pawan Negi have been admirably effective.
Gujarat, on the other hand, have been on a roll despite not boasting big names, except Axar, who has been their real hero of the season.
Axar has not only been among wickets, but also built a reputation around himself of being a pretty good finisher, bringing his team back on track from crunch situations. Axar is Gujarat's second highest run-getter with 233 runs. The leg-spinner wreaked havoc recording career-best List A figures of 6 for 43 as Gujarat beat Tamil Nadu by 31 runs in the semifinal match.
Rujul Bhatt has been Gujarat's top batsman with 275-odd runs to his credit, while Parthiv also has been in the thick of the action, sketching some sparkling innings. Priyank Panchal, too, has given good starts. Also, Chirag Gandhi and Manprit Juneja, who scored 71 and 74, respectively, have all the qualities to script brilliant performances in the finals.
Parthiv would expect Jasprit Bumrah and Rush Kalaria to fire, especially when they are coming into the match with 24 wickets between them on a slower Alur track.