Pune, Dec 16: Even as both Bengal and Delhi fancy their chances of featuring in their maiden Ranji Trophy fil since 2010, the inclusion of pacer Mohammed Shami and stumper Wriddhiman Saha bolsters the eastern powerhouse ahead of the semi-fil at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Sunday.
Shami, Saha boost Bengal in Ranji semis vs Delhi
While Bengal last won the elite domestic championship in 1989-90, Delhi lifted their last title in 2007-08.
Delhi rode on veteran Gautam Gambhir’s 95 to down Madhya Pradesh by 7 wickets and reach the last four, Bengal batted Gujarat out of the quarter-fil contest in Jaipur, to set up the semi-fil clash with Delhi.
Going into Sunday’s tie, which on paper turns out to be an exciting contest between Delhi’s batsmen and Bengal’s bowlers, the tide seems more in favour of the Manoj Tiwary-led side, considering the absence of Delhi’s pace spearhead and skipper Ishant Sharma, who is nursing a troublesome ankle.
Despite none of the Delhi batsmen featuring among the top-10 run-getters in the current edition, the onus will be on old warhorse Gautam Gambhir (505 runs) and the likes of young guns Rishabh Pant (261), Nitish Ra (515), Dhruv Shorey (374), Himmat Singh (215) and Kul Chandela (202) to pile up a massive first innings total.
In the bowling, left-arm spinner Vikas Mishra (31 wickets) has made a good comeback in first-class while vdeep Saini’s (22 wickets) exploits with new and old ball is now well-known in domestic circuit.
On the other hand, Manoj Tiwary’s Bengal also boast of a stellar batting line-up comprising the likes of Abhishek Raman (587 runs), Abhimanyu Easwaran (547), Anustup Majumdar (526).
Tiwary and the team magement are expected to have a sweet headache in selecting the batting line-up, with the experienced Sudeep Chatterjee back to full fitness while his replacement Writtick Chatterjee belting a century and a double ton in the previous two matches.
Moreover, the return of wicketkeeper Saha means Shreevats Goswami may have to make way unless Anushtup is made to warm the bench.
Bengal’s bowling will be spearheaded by India’s most potent red ball bowler Shami, who will get some serious match time ahead of the challenging tour to South Africa, later this month.
Partnering Shami will be Ashoke Dinda, who has been out of the tiol selectors’ radar for quite sometime and will be trying to prove a point.
Shami and Dinda accounted for 48 out of Bengal’s 94 scalps in the group stages. IANS