New Delhi: Leading from the front, skipper Shikhar Dhawan smashed an unbeaten 116 as Delhi thrashed Maharashtra by seven wickets in a Group B Ranji Trophy match to stay in contention for a knock-out berth.
Dhawan anchored the innings to perfection as his unbeaten century helped the hosts chase a challenging target of 270.
He got fantastic support from Mohit Sharma (51) and Mithun Manhas who smashed his way to a 40-ball-51 with the help of five fours and three sixes.
En route to his 16th first-class century, Dhawan faced 194 balls hitting 12 boundaries and a six.
Dhawan-Manhas combination added 83 runs in only 83 balls in the post lunch session which turned out to be decisive. Delhi now have 17 points from seven games and they still have a fair chance of qualifying if they beat Vidarbha in their final league game in Nagpur.
It was one of the rare occasion this season when Delhi batsmen, save Unmukt Chand, fired collectively.
Unmukt was again guilty of playing a rank bad shot as he tried to cut a delivery from Shrikant Mundhe and dragged the back ball onto his stumps.
However, Mohit Sharma was the partner that Dhawan was looking for as they slowly but steadily started the chase. Dhawan was in punishing mood on anything that was on his pads as well as deliveries that were dug in short.
Young left-hander Mohit also played some lovely drives and was the first to reach half-century.
The duo added 94 runs for the second wicket as Mohit was trapped leg before by left-arm seamer Samad Fallah at the stroke of lunch.
However, it was this partnership that became an ideal launchpad for Manhas to launch a furious assault on Maharashtra bowlers. He took on seamer Nikit Dhumal who was hit for three huge sixes.
The first two came off successive deliveries one over long-off and then a slash over deep point.