Ranji Trophy 2018: Advantage Delhi after last-wicket stand between Bhati, Kejroliya
Till Bhati was run out after bludgeoning 62 (53 balls; 5x4, 6x6), his highest first-class score, the last wicket added 80 runs in 64 balls for Delhi against Bengal in the Ranji Trophy.Updated: Jan 01, 2019 20:07 IST
Needing 304 runs on the final day against Delhi to stay in the hunt for a Ranji Trophy quarter-final berth, Bengal will need every bit of the positive attitude Ashoke Dinda radiated in Kolkata on Wednesday.
“If you survive the early morning swing, this wicket is easy to bat on. This is my understanding of the pitch based on bowling 52 overs in the game and I have told our batsmen that. We will win with some 15 overs to spare,” said Dinda after play ended on Tuesday with Bengal, set a victory target of 321, on 18 for no loss.
Abhimanyu Easwaran (6) had been given a scare by Subodh Bhati when it couldn’t be confirmed that Kunal Chandela at first slip had not taken the edge on the bounce. Easwaran was then on zero. Abhishek Raman was on eight at stumps.
With Mukesh Kumar dismissing Shivank Vashisth, Dinda getting Shivam Sharma (27) and striking again to dismiss Akash Sudan to complete a fifer with the second new ball, Delhi were 221/9 when Kulwant Khejroliya joined Bhati.
Till Bhati was run out after bludgeoning 62 (53 balls; 5x4, 6x6), his highest first-class score, the last wicket added 80 runs in 64 balls. Not for the first time in this tie had Bengal squandered the advantage.
In trying to bounce them out, Kumar and Dinda ended being fodder for Bhati. “I knew I wouldn’t get out to a bouncer. I will either be hit on the helmet or I will let it go,” said Bhati who scored a double-century in a T20 game in Goa last year.
Kumar went for 19 in one over. The spinners too had their line disturbed but after another display of indiscreet batting --- Chandela trying to sweep Pradipta Pramanik when he could have defended, Nitish Rana not playing a Dinda delivery that came in, Himmat Singh reaching for one from Kumar and Jonty Sidhu playing the wrong line to be stumped --- Delhi got runs that could make the difference in this Elite Group B tie.
That happened because surprisingly Bhati, who said he takes his batting seriously and has even opened for clubs in Delhi, was also allowed to free his arms. He went down on one knee to hit off-spinner Aamir Gani for a six over long-off to reach his maiden Ranji Trophy 50. And because the field was spread, Bhati could also farm the strike. Not that Kejroliya needed protection because he too smashed 21 off 18 balls (3x4; 1x6).
The amount of runs Bengal need to score on a fourth-day pitch hasn’t been possible since Sunday. They could also run out of time because it gets dark early.
First Published: Jan 01, 2019 20:06 IST