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Delhi lose sheen, fall three runs short

The 'snake' delivery isn't something you'll be taught at an academy. But when Maharashtra's former Aussie coach Shaun Williams spotted his strike bowler Samad Fallah running zig zag in his run up to unnerve the batsmen, he declared it a vital element in the bowler's armoury. Khurram Habib reports. Elsewhere in Ranji Trophy

cricket Updated: Dec 17, 2012 01:57 IST
Khurram Habib

The 'snake' delivery isn't something you'll be taught at an academy. But when Maharashtra's former Aussie coach Shaun Williams spotted his strike bowler Samad Fallah running zig zag in his run up to unnerve the batsmen, he declared it a vital element in the bowler's armoury.

Over the years, it has become a potent weapon in the left-arm pacer's armoury, getting him 14-15 first class wickets. Called a 'kalakaar bowler' (go-getter) in domestic cricketing parlance, Fallah, with 164 wickets in 40 first class games, swung the ball both ways, changed ends frequently, and got in the snake deliveries.

He admits that on the usual flat Maharashtra tracks, he has to use such ideas to get wickets.

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In the end, his five-wicket haul helped the visitors dismiss Delhi for 193 for a three-run first innings lead. With two days to go, Delhi need a win to keep their diminishing hopes of advancing alive, having lost the last two games.

Despite a quality batting line-up that has India hopefuls in openers Shikhar Dhawan and Unmukt Chand and the seasoned Mithun Manhas and Rajat Bhatia, Delhi was left to depend on the 20-year-old Vaibhav Rawal to keep their hopes of securing a lead alive.

Rawal, playing in his first season, batted for over four-and-a-half hours to score 65 and fell when Delhi were just short of Maharashtra's total.

The second day's play began two hours late as overnight and early morning rain had left the bowler's run up wet and some patches in the 30-yard circle soft and slushy. And despite not having to bat in the morning session, the Delhi batsmen showed no spine.

Brief scores: Maharashtra 196 and 3/0 v Delhi 193 (V Rawal 65, S Fallah 5/67)