Pune: 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. Saini was at his devastating best with the figures of 12-3-35-4 to bundle Bengal 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. 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.
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 semifinal against Karnataka in Pune. 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.
Brief scores: At Kolkata: Vidarbha 185 & 195/4 in 47 overs (Ganesh Satish 71*) vs Karnataka 301 in 100.5 overs (Karun Nair 153, Rajneesh Gurbani 5/94, Umesh Yadav 4/73). At Pune: Bengal 286 & 86 in 26.4 overs (Navdeep Saini 4/35, Kulwant Khejroliya 4/40) lost to Delhi 398 in 117 overs (Gautam Gambhir 127, Kunal Chandela 113, Himmat Singh 60, Shami 6/123)....