New Delhi: An inspirational catch at first slip by Anushtup Majumdar off Ranadeb Bose’s bowling enabled Bengal earn three points against Delhi by virtue of 14-run first innings lead in a Group A Super League match of the Ranji Trophy at the Feroz Shah Kotla Ground here on Thursday.
In reply to Bengal’s first innings score of 473, Delhi were all-out for 459 in 148.1 overs. The last wicket pair of Pradeep Sangwan (23 not out) and Parwinder Awana (3)added 22 runs in 42 minutes before a magnificent effort from Anushtup gave Bengal the three points that they desperately needed for a good start.
Bose bowled a delivery wide outside the off stump and Awana slashed hard. Just when it looked that ball would fly past between the keeper and the first slip, Anushtup flung himself to his wrong side and pouched the red cherry with a one-handed effort, as Delhi were left with a point from their opening encounter.
Interestingly, Bengal fielders dropped some sitters throughout the Delhi innings but the one they pulled off would be difficult to repeat.
The Bengal pacers Bose and Ashok Dinda deserve all the credit for the first innings lead that the visitors got.
There aren’t too many instances in first-class cricket when two new-ball bowlers have bowled 89.1 overs between them on an unresponsive pitch which made things doubly difficult.
Bose (4/137 from 44.1 overs) and Dinda (4/132 from 45 overs) put in a workmanlike effort sharing eight out of the 10 wickets among themselves.
It was an intriguing final day’s play as Delhi needed 146 runs and Bengal needed four wickets. The two overnight batsmen Rajat Bhatia and Sumit Narwal played the first session well. However credit should go to Dinda for bowling with a lot of fire. He got one to lift from back of length and it hit Bhatia on the left forearm.
However Delhi’s ‘Crisis Man’ continued to fight it out with the determined Narwal for company. The duo added 119 runs and took the score to 414 before Narwal (60, 132 balls, 7x4) who was dropped by Shreevats Goswami on 47 was done in by a Bose delivery that found the batsman plumb in-front.
Bhatia (65, 166 balls, 4x4) who was in considerable pain after being hit by the Dinda snorter carried manfully along with Sangwan taking the score to 436.
Disaster struck when Bhatia played on to an incoming delivery from Dinda. Chetanya Nanda (1) who is unlikely to get a look-in for the Tamil Nadu match then pulled a wide delivery from Bose straight into Wriddhiman Saha’s gloves.
It was an entertaining last 42 minutes of the Delhi game when the final pair was making a last ditch effort to take lead while bowlers toiled hard.
After hitting Bhatia in the morning, Awana was Dinda’s ‘second victim’ as another one that lifted from short of length hit the Delhi pacer on the shoulders, which made it difficult for him to chance his arm. The moment he tried, he perished.
The Bengal second innings was a mere formality with the visitors scoring 92 for three in 30 overs.
Brief Scores: Bengal – 473 & 92/3 (A Das 36 not out). Delhi – 459 (V Kohli 173, R Bhatia 65, S Narwal 60, R Bose 4/137, A Dinda 4/132).
Bengal 3 points; Delhi 1 point.