New Delhi: Veteran Gautam Gambhir continued his dream run in the Vijay Hazare Trophy with a career-best 151 off 104 balls as Delhi made short work of Kerala, winning the Group B encounter by a whopping 165-run margin in New Delhi on Friday.
In the twilight of his career and two weeks shy of his 37th birthday, Gambhir smashed his 21st List A hundred that had 18 fours and four huge sixes.
Gambhir has now scored 298 runs in four games with a century and a half century.
With Unmukt Chand (69 off 88 balls) and Dhruv Shorey (99 no off 69 balls) also making handsome contributions, Delhi scored a mammoth 392/3 and then restricted Kerala to 227 for 8 in 50 overs.
Left-arm spinner Pawan Negi (3/41) was the most successful bowler for Delhi while Navdeep Saini and Nitish Rana also picked up a couple of wickets.
However the day belonged to Gambhir, who took the depleted Kerala attack to cleaners. Without their premier fast bowler Basil Thampi and seasoned all-rounder Jalaj Saxena (both on national duty), the attack didn't have the teeth to bother Delhi.
While out-of-form Chand played cautiously, Gambhir was fluent on both sides off the wicket as he peppered the off-side field with monotonic regularity.
When the ball was pitched short, he was in a quick position to pull the deliveries as the opening pair added 172 runs. Gambhir completed his hundred off 74 balls.
Once Chand was gone, Kerala suffered even more as Shorey and Gambhir added 123 runs in just over 14 overs.
Once Gambhir retired having completed his 150, Shorey upped the ante hitting as many seven sixes and four boundaries.
Along with rookie Pranshu Vijayaran (48 no, 34 balls), Shorey added 92 runs in the last nine overs.
The chase was out of question for Kerala with only the pair of Sanju Samson (47) and Sachin Baby (47) adding 89 runs for the third wicket.
Delhi 392/3 (Gautam Gambhir retd out 151 off 104 balls, Dhruv Shorey 99 no off 69 balls, Unmukt Chand 69)
Kerala 227/8 (Sanju Samson 47, Sachin Baby 47, Pawan Negi 3/41). Delhi won by 165 runs.
Madhya Pradesh 277 in 49.3 overs (Yash Dubey 75, Deepak Behera 3/38)
Odisha 276/8 in 50 overs (Anurag Sarangi 78, Bipab Samantray 53). MP won by 1 run.