New Delhi: Seamer Subodh Bhati triggered a middle-order collapse in the second session as Delhi gained upperhand against Bengal with a slender 20-run first innings lead after the second day in a Ranji Trophy group league encounter.
In a nippy five over spell, Bhati took three wickets as Bengal lost five wickets in the post-lunch session before being all out for 220 in reply to Delhi’s first innings score of 240.
Bhati got a good support from Kulwant Khejroliya (3/86) as the left-arm medium pacer dealt a big blow dismissing skipper Manoj Tiwary (15), whose wrong judgement proved to be costly in the context of the innings.
Tiwary shouldered arms to an incoming Khejroliya delivery that moved in a shade after pitching to take the off-stump for a walk. At stumps, Delhi were 41/2 in their second essay, with an overall lead of 61 runs at close on day two.
Ashok Dinda (2/22) took both the wickets in a spirited bowling display and was the only Bengal bowler to make an impact, something that kept Bengal’s fading hopes alive in the must-win Elite Group B fixture.
Both the teams need minimum six points to stay in contention for a quarterfinal berth. Dinda trapped opener Hiten Dalal (11) leg before with a delivery that sharply came back in with some pace while Anuj Rawat (10) threw his wicket away in a complete lack of application.
The wicketkeeper-batsman chased down a widish delivery only to mis-hit the ball to skipper Tiwary at mid-off.
Delhi skipper Nitish Rana survived some anxious moments and nearly got out before an inside edge off his gloves came to his rescue against Dinda. Earlier despite Abhishek Raman’s cheap dismissal inside seven overs, Bengal were looking comfortable with 81/1 in the first session before a couple of key wickets — Abhimanyu Easwaran (40) and Tiwary (15) — before the lunch tilted the momentum in favour of Delhi.
Easwaran was done in by left-arm spinner Shivank Vashist as he tried to cut with very little room available and was caught behind. Struggling for form, Bengal No 3 Sudip Chatterjee (56) made his first half-century of the season in a chancy knock but could not make it big and became Bhati’s first victim in an incisive third spell (5-0-11-3). Known for his wicket-to wicket bowling, Bhati got one to rear up from length as Sudeep edged it to Rawat behind the stumps.
Bhati later dismissed Writtick Chatterjee and Aamir Gani in successive overs, in what appeared two dubious decisions. Umpires Anil Dandekar and Saiyyed Khalid have had a pretty poor match so far failing to hear big nicks and giving decisions when there is none.
However there was no such things with Anushtup Majumdar, who has had a penchant of playing irresponsible strokes over the years when the situation called for a little discretion.
Urging his batsmen to score runs collectively, Bengal skipper Tiwary said the match was still wide open.
“I’m tired of answering for others, we have experts who can answer better. I just want all our specialist batsmen should score big runs,” Tiwary said. On his misjudgment to be bowled by Khejroliya, Tiwary admitted that it was a technical glitch. “But, I can’t score in every match. There will be ups and downs. I scored a 90 and got an unfortunate run-out in last match. Yes, a big score was expected from me in this must-win match. But I want a collective consistency from our batsmen.”
Brief Scores Delhi 240 and 41/2; 19 overs (Ashok Dinda 2/22). Bengal 220; 58.4 overs (Sudip Chattterjee 56, Abhimanyu Easwaran 40, Pradipta Pramanik 37 not out; Subodh Bhati 3/28, Kulwant Khejroliya 3/86)