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Ranji Trophy 2018: Bhati, Khejroliya help Delhi take first innings lead

Khejroliya and Subodh Bhati took three wickets each with Bhati, who ended with 3/28 in 14 overs, producing a spell in the second session that read 5-0-11-3.

cricket Updated: Dec 31, 2018 20:21 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Ranji Trophy 2018,Kulwant Khejroliya,Subodh Bhati
Kulwant Khejroliya bowled brilliantly for Delhi against Bengal in the Ranji Trophy.(Twitter)

Less than a day had passed between Arun Lal speaking of the advantage of batting on the second day at Eden Gardens and Bengal proving their mentor wrong by unravelling in 58.4 overs to be all out for 220 and trail Delhi by 20 runs in this Elite Group B Ranji Trophy tie.

The rot began at the top with skipper Manoj Tiwari (15; 2x4; 21b) shouldering arms and having his furniture disturbed by left-hand medium-pacer Kulwant Khejroliya. It continued till the end when Mukesh Kumar was run out when Pradipta Pramanik (37; 2x4, 2x6; 38b) was narrowing the deficit by hitting Delhi bowlers out of the park.

Ashoke Dinda again took two top-order wickets to ensure Delhi didn’t run away with what is a must-win tie for both teams. Surviving a close leg-before shout off Dinda, Delhi skipper Nitish Rana was batting on five with opener Kunal Chandela (15). Delhi were 41/2 at stumps on Monday, a lead of 61.

From 81/1, Bengal fell to 168/7, from 113/3 at lunch, they took tea at 192/8. Having squandered the advantage after having Delhi on 73/5 on the first day, Bengal did it again, this time with the bat on a track that was anything but a bowlers’ paradise and against a young attack devoid of key bowlers such as left-arm spinner Vikas Mishra and medium-pacer Navdeep Saini.

It didn’t look imminent though when Abhimanyu Easwaran (40; 5x4; 62b) and Sudip Chatterjee added 64 runs after opener Abhishek Raman fell to one from Khejroliya that came in. That five more batsmen, Easwaran included, fell to edges caught by wicket-keeper Anuj Rawat showed how uncertain Bengal were outside the off-stump.

Khejroliya and Subodh Bhati took three wickets each with Bhati, who ended with 3/28 in 14 overs, producing a spell in the second session that read 5-0-11-3. Bhati said it did reverse a bit in the afternoon but that was after he had removed Sudip Chatterjee, Writtick Chatterjee and Aamir Gani and Bengal had slumped from 147/4 to 168/7.

Had Akash Sudan held on to a regulation offering from Sudip Chatterjee off his own bowling, Bengal would have fallen for less. Sudip Chatterjee was then on 47. He scored 56 but his highest this Ranji season needed a slice of luck when on one. In second slip, Hiten Dalal had pouched an edge off Khejroliya but the left-hander got the benefit of the doubt because it couldn’t be proved that the catch was clean. Symptomatic of Bengal’s batting woes was that after having done the hard work, Sudip Chatterjee snicked one off Bhati he could have left.

Anustup Majumdar dragged a wide Khejroliya delivery to his stumps. Agniv Pan tried a flick and ending up spooning a catch off Shivam Sharma to Jonty Sidhu. Gani too chased outside the off-stump and was adjudged caught at the wicket but replays couldn’t prove that he had connected.

Had Dinda not dismissed Dalal leg-before and induced a poor shot off Rawat, Bengal would have had little to look forward to on New Year’s Day.

First Published: Dec 31, 2018 20:20 IST