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Hercules Champions

Shewag leads rally from hopeless position

The Barabati Stadium at Cuttack was the venue of the final 1998-99 Super League tie in Group B between Orissa and Delhi. The home team won the toss and batted Delhi out of the match, settling at a formidable 561 before being bowled out on the third morning of this four day encounter.

Opener Shiv Sunder Das pounded 178, one-drop Pravanjan Mullick compiled 113 and for good measure, Rashmi Ranjan Parida added another 156 off his own bat. The off spinners of Virender Shewag were among the eight bowling types seen in action and the 20 year old acquitted himself rather creditably. He snaffled wicketkeeper G Gopal and fellow offie Sanjay Satpathy in 15 overs for a cost of 54 runs.

The much vaunted Delhi top order proceeded to collapse in the face of a probing new ball attack manned by Debashish Mohanty and Jai Chandra. The top five, Ashu Dani, Vijay Dahiya, Akash Malhotra, Ajay Sharma and Mithun Minhas made just 22 runs between them and Delhi were on the verge of disaster at 22/5 in the 11th over.

Virender Shewag and Nikhil Chopra now led a marvellous rally that steered Delhi to a more dignified 237/5, although the follow on still loomed large. Out of those 237, Shewag had singlehandedly produced 141, almost 60% of the total. On the fourth morning, Chopra finally departed for 74, having added a priceless 236 for the sixth wicket in association with Shewag. Eleven runs later, with the score at 272, the latter's three hour effort at the crease was terminated for a magnificent 163 (236 balls, 22 fours, 2 sixes) and the Delhi tail folded up soon enough at 303.

With just about two sessions left in the match, Orissa were not interested in enforcing the follow-on. finishing on 211/5 at stumps. Time enough for Pravanjan Mullick to make his second century of the game. Also time enough for Virender Shewag to take two catches that sent both openers on their way besides scalping the wicket of Pradip Das, emphasising again what a fine all round prospect he was developing into.

Ranji Trophy, 1998-99

Orissa v Delhi at Cuttack, 13-16 Mar 1999

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Virender Shewag

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