Pune: On the eve of the Ranji Trophy semi-final, Bengal skipper Manoj Tiwari wanted to remind Delhi of a defeat his side handed them in 2015.
On Tuesday, on the third day of the match itself, he left the ground with a defeat, probably worse he will ever suffer as a captain and one he will never forget.
Delhi bowlers Navdeep Saini and Kulwant Khejroliya ripped apart Bengal in the second innings with harakiri from batsmen making things even worse, as they suffered an innings and 26 runs defeat at the MCA Stadium, sending Delhi to the final, to be played in Indore beginning on December 29.
Delhi take handy lead
Begining the third day 15 runs behind Bengal’s first innings total of 286, Delhi started poorly. India pacer Mohammed Shami trapped Nitish Rana lbw, before Ashoke Dinda trapped Delhi skipper Rishabh Pant for one, as suddenly Delhi found themselves half the side in the hut, still trailing by five runs.
27-year-old Shami bowled a fiery morning spell before Himmat Singh (60) and Manan Sharma (34) took Delhi to lunch, 92 runs lead.
But after the lunch-break, Shami once again came steaming in, cleaning up the tail to keep the Bengal’s lead at modest 112. Although he picked up six wickets, he had to bowl 39 overs for it conceding 122 runs.
Considering the form Bengal’s batsmen were in, one would have expected them to wipe off the lead before the end of the play, but not just Delhi bowlers, who later confessed that Shami’s show earlier inspired them, but even Bengal batsmen had other plans.
Despite bowling with a slight hamstring injury, Vikas Tokar earned Delhi their first break-through catching Abhishek Raman plumb on nought.
In the next over, Saini dropped a simple catch of Abhimanyu Easwaran off his own bowling when he was on six, but the dropped catch did not cost Delhi dear, as he was picked up by Khejroliya in his first over on 13.
Saini, who after the match expressed his spell as his dream spell started Bengal’s collapse in an emphatic manner. Sudip Chatterjee, Bengal’s first innings’ top scorer, had no clue about how his defence was breached when the bowl hit the top of off-stump.
Refreshed after the breather, Saini and Khejroliya exhibited a fine display of bowling, helped by woeful shot selection as Anustup Majumdar knicked one to Rishabh Pant down the leg side after Bengal had resumed at 40/4 post Tea session.
Bengal skipper Tiwari who missed the line and length of Saini’s delivery, making him look like a novice, with the ball once again knocking the off-stump, leaving Bengal tottering at 60/6, as innings defeat hovered around.
In the next over bowled by Saini, Aamir Gani made an even bigger fool of himself, leaving a delivery, only to lose his off-stump. On the next ball, B Amit had lost his off-stump too, putting Saini on a hat-trick ball for the first ball of his next over. Bowling figures of Saini read 12-2-35-4, where all his victims were castled in the same manner.
Khejroliya, who too was bowling an extended spell from the other end, wrapped up the victory when he first forced Shreevats Goswami to give a catch at short leg, before bowling the last man Dinda with a slower delivery.
The contest was over, Delhi had won by an innings and 26 runs having taken a lead of just over hundred; on a day where 17 wickets fell, with Saini and Khejroliya picking up four apiece, with Shami’s fifer only consolation for humiliated Bengal, imagine, if Sourav Ganguly had decided to stay back a longer!
Brief scores: Bengal 286 and 86 (Navdeep Saini 4-35) lost to Delhi 398 (Gautam Gambhir 127, Kunal Chandela 113) by an innings and 26 runs.