By 1735, Marathas conquered all Malwa and Gujarat but the Mughal Emperor Ahmed Shah was not ready togrant them formal rights.
Battle of Delhi – 1737
Peshwa Baji Rao sent two armies north, one under Malhar Rao Holkar and one personally under his command late next year. Malhar Rao’s army was mauled under by army led by the Nawab of Awadh and the Holkar escaped to Baji Rao. Thinking this as the end of the campaign, the Mughals lowered their gaurd. But, Baji Rao suddenly swooped upon Delhi and entered the city bypassing the standing army on 28 March 1737. The ten day march took two days for them. Delhi was looted for three days. The only resistance was from an 8000 horse under Mir Hassan Koka.
Battle of Bhopal – 1737
The Nizam advanced from Deccan to end the Maratha menace for good and a combined army of 2 lakh under him met the Marathas near Bhopal on 24 December 1737. The Mughal force constituted forces of the Nizam, the Nawabs of Awadh and Bhopal and Jaipur, Bharatpur and other subordinates. This was a decisive victory for the Marathas, 1 lakh strong and a treaty was signed on 7 January 1738 between Baji Rao and Jai Singh of Jaipur as a representative of the Nizam.
These two defeats – the sack of Delhi and the defeat of one of the most powerful forces of the country proclaimed to the world that the days of the Great Mughal Empire were over and India is open for plunder. Nadir Shah used the opportunity and looted Delhi of everything in 1738, Abdali continuously till around 1765. While Marathas were the only promising force capable of holding a united India, they were decisively beaten in 1761 and collapsed due to internal rivalries, making India a free for all, with the British emerging the victors.