Delhi beat Bengal by an innings and 26 runs to make their first Ranji Trophy final in ten years. The last time the team reached this stage was way back in 2007-08 season and they ended as winners of that edition.
It was a complete performance by a very young Delhi unit which outplayed their opponents in the semi-final. After a brilliant show by openers Gautam Gambhir and Kunal Chandela in the first innings, Navdeep Saini and Kulwant Khejroliya starred with the ball to bundle out Bengal for just 86 in their second essay and seal an emphatic win over a team with players like Mohammed Shami, Ashoke Dinda and Manoj Tiwary in the playing XI.
Delhi needed just three days to blow the opposition away and had them on the mat for most of what turned out to be the final day of the match. In the morning, Delhi seemed to be in a spot of bother as they lost wickets in quick succession but young Himmat Singh’s resilience ensured Delhi take a 112-run lead. In reply, Bengal were rattled by Delhi’s pace trio of Vikas Tokas, Khejroliya and Saini and kept losing wickets at regular intervals.
Only Sudip Chatterjee managed to get into the 20s as others were found wanting, especially against Saini. The seamer operated at a brisk pace and moved the ball both ways to keep the batsmen under the pump. Both Saini and Khejroliya ran through the opposition middle-order and wasted no time in cleaning up the tail. Khejroliya came from around the stumps and bowled a brilliant back of the hand delivery to castle Mohammed Shami and trigger celebrations in the Delhi dressing room.
Brief scores: Bengal 1st innings 286/10 (Sudip Chatterjee 83, Navdeep Saini 3/55), Delhi 1st innings 398/10 (Gautam Gambhir 127, Kunal Chandela 113, Mohammed Shami 6/122), Bengal 2nd innings 86/10 (Navdeep Saini 4/35, Kulwant Khejroliya 4/40, Sudip Chatterjee 21)