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Ranji Trophy: Sizzling Saini bowls Delhi into final

December 19, 2017 20:20 IST

A round-up of Ranji semi-finals played on Tuesday

Delhi's Navdeep Saini

IMAGE: Delhi's Navdeep Saini. Photograph: BCCI

Young speedster Navdeep Saini bowled one of the most devastating spells of recent times in Indian domestic cricket as Delhi humiliated Bengal by an innings and 26 runs to enter the Ranji Trophy final.

In one of the most hostile spells bowled in recent times, Saini’s impressive figures (12-3-35-4) saw the Bengal batting collapse as they were all out for 86 in 24.3 overs in their second innings. He was ably supported by left-arm pacer Kulwant Khejroliya (8.3-9-40 -4). 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.

Those two deliveries really affected the psyche of the Bengal batsmen, rattling them mentally.

He then bowled an off cutter that Aamir Gani (0) tried to leave and it hit the off stump.

B Amit (0) failed to cover the swing and another identical dismissal followed.

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.

Brief Scores:

Bengal 286 and 86 in 26.4 overs (Navdeep Saini 4/35, Kulwant Khejroliya 4/40) vs 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 fight against Karnataka

Kolkata: 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 in their Ranji Trophy semifinal against Karnataka here 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.

Just before tea, Vidarbha were dealt a body blow when Wankhade holed out at mid wicket, driving a Aravind delivery straight to Vinay Kumar.

The score at tea was 174 for four for a lead of 58.

Earlier in the day, Karnataka were all out for 301 to take a vital first-innings lead of 116 runs.

Overnight batsmen Karun Nair and R Vinay Kumar could add only seven runs to the total. Karun was dismissed after playing a superb knock of 153.

Rajneesh Gurubani picked up five wickets while India pacer Umesh Yadav claimed four.

Brief scores:

Vidarbha: 185 and 195/4 in 47 overs (Ganesh Satish 71) vs Karnataka 1st innings 301 all out in 100.5 overs (Karun Nair 153; Rajneesh Gurbani 5/94, Umesh Yadav 4/73).

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