Internet Desk: Delhi’s young pacer Navdeep Saini bowled his best spell of the season to help his side to beat Bengal by an innings and 26 runs to reach the final of Ranji Trophy 2017-18.
Saini bowled a spell of a 4/35 to destroy the Bengal batting line up as they could only managed to score 86 runs in 24.3 overs before getting all-out in the second innings. He was well backed by his fellow team mate Kulwant Khejroliya who eneded his spell on 4/40.
This was after Mohammed Shami bowled his heart out to take 6 for 122 in 39 overs to bowl out Delhi for 398.
Having kept the lead down to 112 runs, Bengal were expected to put up a fight, but ran into Saini — a serious India prospect — who unnerved the batsmen with raw pace.
He followed the ‘bible’ for fast bowlers — ‘top of off stump’ — something the Australian legend Glenn McGrath had mastery over.
Saini, who is certain to don India whites in 2018, followed it religiously as Bengal batsmen didn’t have a clue as to what he was bowling.
Sudeep Chatterjee (21) couldn’t bring his bat down as the delivery moved a shade to hit off bail.
Manoj Tiwary tried to cover the swing and the delivery was an unplayable one as he was beaten for pace.
Saini’s exploits helped Khejroliya, who bowled back of the length as the deliveries reared up, forcing the already pressurised batsmen to play false shots.
His match haul of seven wickets deservingly earned him the Man of the Match award, overshadowing the lion-hearted effort from Shami on an unresponsive track.
Delhi coach K P Bhaskar felt that rival skipper Manoj Tiwary must have taken his team lightly.
“I read some comments from Tiwary that he would teach us a lesson and all that. What did he think that a Delhi team comprising Gautam, Navdeep, Rishabh will be easy to beat.
Those comments were uncalled for,” Bhaskar said after the match.
In another semis, Ganesh Satish’s unbeaten half- century and a brisk 49 from Apoorv Wankhade helped Vidarbha wipe out the first-innings deficit and go ahead by 79 runs against Karnataka in Kolkata today.
The third day’s play ended with Vidarbha reaching 195 for four.
At stumps, Satish was going strong on 71 while Akshay Wadkar was batting on 19.
Sreenath Aravind was the pick of the Karnataka bowlers, claiming two wickets.
The 83-run partnership for the fourth wicket between Satish and Wankhade ensured Vidarbha get some runs to defend.
After losing in-form opener Faiz Fazal — the second highest run getter in Ranji trophy this season — for a duck, their innings was somewhat steadied by the experienced Wasim Jaffer (33).
Aravind was hitting the deck hard with his in-dippers, and they were troubling the batsmen a lot. The pressure finally paid off with the wicket of Jaffer.
Aravind got the most important wicket of Jaffer, who was looking set for a big one, and the batsman was clearly unhappy with the umpire’s lbw decision.
Brief Scores: Bengal 286 and 86 in 26.4 overs (Navdeep Saini 4/35, Kulwant Khejroliya 4/40).
Delhi 398 all out (Gautam Gambhir 127, Kunal Chandela 113, Himmat Singh 60, Mohd Shami 6/123).
Delhi won by innings and 26 runs.
Vidarbha: 185 and 195/4 in 47 overs (Ganesh Satish 71)
Karnataka 1st innings 301 all out in 100.5 overs (Karun Nair 153; Rajneesh Gurbani 5/94, Umesh Yadav 4/73).