Before the start of the Ranji Trophy semifinal between Delhi and Bengal, Manoj Tiwary,  the Bengal captain fired a few shots by terming his side favourite and reminded Delhi the result of the game when these two sides met the last time.

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On the eve of the game, the side was further bolstered with the addition of Mohammed Shami but what happened in next three days was nothing less than a cry for Bengal Ranji team.

After being bowled by for 286 in the first innings, they let Delhi make easy runs. Opener Gautam Gambhir and Kunal Chandela shared 232 runs for the first wicket to pile on the misery for Bengal, and when they made a comeback on day three, it was rookie Himmat Singh who came in Bengal’s way.

On the third day itself,  Bengal was skittled out for 86 in just 24.4 overs.

KP Bhaskar, Delhi coach, after the win, said Bengal team was overconfident and added that Manoj Tiwary’s comments ahead of the game were uncalled for,

“It was uncalled for. I thought they were probably overconfident, getting 850 [695 for 6] against Gujarat. How can you go with four bowlers against a side like Delhi with Gautam and some of the youngsters around? Probably that means they were relying more on their batting. Guys like Kunal Chandela have been a revelation. Vikas Tokas played gritty innings today along with Himmat Singh. Tokas has a slight hamstring tear, but he should recover [ahead of the final]. He bowled his heart out today.”

Undoubtedly, Bengal went in as the favourite side in the contest, but as Bhaskar mentioned, the strategy of Bengal playing four bowlers was surprising.

As a result of it, Mohammed Shami had to bowl 39 overs while Ashoke Dinda and Bodupalli Amit bowled 27 and 33 overs, respectively. At one of time in the game, both Shami and Dinda were out of the field at the same time, which explained that they both were over utilised.

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Photo credits: (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

On the other hand, both Navdeep Saini and Kulwant Khejroliya didn’t give an inch of a chance to Bengal batsmen on day three and bowled them out for just 86, thus winning the game for their side.

Saini, in particular, impressed the most, as the batsmen were dancing to the tunes of his swing deliveries. The presentation of swing impressed many, and with this performance, he has pushed a case selection on the national side once again. He was already one of the bowlers to fly out to South Africa as part of net bowlers contingent but had to pull out due to Ranji Trophy commitments.

Delhi will now face either of Karnataka or Vidarbha in the final game at Holkar Stadium in Indore. The chances of Karnataka making it to the finals look even but there remain two days in the game and predicting a winner at the moment is a difficult task to do.

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