Gautam Gambhir powered Delhi to the semi-finals of the Ranji Trophy with a fine 95 following a seven-wicket victory over Madhya Pradesh on Monday. Delhi will take on Bengal in their semi-final. Chasing 217 for an outright win, Delhi relied on Gambhir's 129-ball 95, which was laced with nine boundaries and a six. Even as the bowlers failed to dismiss him, Gambhir was unfortunately run out by Mihir Hirwani as he approached what would have been a well-deserved century.
The out-of-favour India opener was well-supported by Kunal Chandela (57) and Dhruv Shorey, who remained unbeaten on 46, when the winning runs were scored at the Dr. Gokaraju Liala Gangaaraju ACA Cricket Ground. Delhi were eight for no loss at stumps on the fourth and penultimate evening with Kunal Chandela and Vikas Tokas in the middle.
Delhi were dealt an early blow when Tokas was sent back by medium pacer Ishwar Pandey with just 11 runs on the scoreboard. A 98-run partnership for the second wicket between Gambhir and Chandela ensured Delhi remained on course for a win. The two went along nicely till Hirwani, who had a five- wicket haul in the first innings, removed Chandela when the scoreboard read 111.
A 95-run stand ensued, for the third wicket between Gambhir and Shorey, as Delhi completed the job with plenty left in their arsenal.
Bengal oust defending champions Gujarat
Bengal made a mockery of the contest by not declaring their second innings on the final day of their quarterfinal Ranji Trophy match as they ousted defending champions Gujarat by virtue of first innings lead. Manoj Tiwary's men will meet multiple-time champions Delhi in the semifinals in Pune, while title favourites Karnataka will take on Vidarbha in the other last-four match, to be played in Kolkata. Both matches will be played between December 17 to 21.
Bengal batted for the better part of last three days to finish their second innings at 695 for six when umpires were forced to call off play in the post tea session as the heavens opened up much to the relief of battered Gujarat bowlers.
The last two sessions on the penultimate day and on the final day, it was a reserve wicketkeeper who took the field as a substitute and kept wickets, as per the new ICC rules. On the inconsequential final day, the in-form Anustup Majumdar got his seventh first-class hundred, having scored an invaluable 94 in the first essay. In fact, the fifth day was walk in the park for Majumdar, whose first innings contribution was far more crucial as it paved the way for Bengal putting up a decent total after a top-order collapse.
(With PTI Inputs)