It was game spirit, team bonding, and some exceptional play by best batsman of the tournament Aakarsh Malhotra, captain Kapil Dev, spin duo of Gurnoor Singh and Vivaan Jindal, wicketkeeper-batsman Saksham and Aman Sharma power hitters Deep Kumar Thakur and Pranav Pant that saw team Delhi clinch silver medal in Under-14 School Games Cricket tournament played in Kopargaon, Shirdi, Maharashtra from February 25 to 29.
In the finals on Saturday, Aakarsh Malhotra scored a fabulous 48 runs off 50 balls with 7 boundaries to post a challenging 105 runs but the six-times defending champion UP under-14 played team game to wipe off the target in 18 overs.
Aakarsh was adjudged the best batsman of the tournament with 143 runs with an incredible strike rate of 109.16, captain Kapil Dev got man of the match in the semi-finals against Uttarakhand for his match-winning 35 runs and 2 wickets for 1 run in 2 overs.
If Aakarsh was the most attractive and prolific scorer of the tournament, Kapil Dev won player of the match in as many as four matches -- highest by any player in the tournament. Kapil scored 104 runs and took 8 wickets and was easily the best all-rounder of the tournament.
Gurnoor Singh was adjudged the best upcoming bowler of the tournament with 6 wickets and an impressive economy of 5.57.
Vivaan Jindal was another left-arm orthodox spinner who took six wickets to steal the limelight with his impeccable and incisive bowling performance. Both Gurnoor and Vivaan were instrumental in winning the semi and quarter-final matches against Uttarakhand and Andhra Pradesh by their tight line & length and wicket-taking abilities.
Both Saksham Sharma and Aman Sharma were exceptional as substitute wicket-keeper batsmen as they chipped in with useful contribution with the bat apart from some good work behind the stumps.
Saksham and Aman managed to keep well in the absence of regular wicket-keeper batsman Aditya Naithani, the only player to feature in two successive U-14 tournament for Delhi, who missed out due to finger injury.
All-rounders and power hitters Deep Kumar Thakur and Pranab Pant played some useful match-winning innings for the team.
For Delhi, all-rounder Atharva Gupta took five useful and game-changing wickets while Arnav Jamwal bowled some exceptional off-spin to scalp four wickets in the tournament.
Sarthak Ray was the player of the match for his 3 wickets for 14 runs against Jammu & Kashmir in the pre-quarters.
Ishan Chhabra, Vansh Rajput, Vigyat Kapoor, and Anshpreet Singh also contributed to the team's success.
Inspirational Delhi coach Vinod Kumar Matta received the runners-up trophy along with team manager Dev Dutt for Delhi as Uttar Pradesh won the tournament for the seventh time in a row.