Visakhapatnam: Bengal’s batting woes continued to haunt them as they capitulated against Delhi in the semi-final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, here, on Saturday.
Dismissed for a paltry 156 in 40.1 overs, the total was never enough for their bowlers to defend. In the end, Delhi won by six wickets, overhauling the target with 15.3 overs to spare. Gautam Gambhir stroked a confident 69 to help Delhi set up a date with Assam in the final.
For Delhi, leg-break bowler Arun Sood (3/48) impressed the most, taking three wickets, while Sumit Narwal, Pradeep Sangwan and Rajat Bhatia took two wickets apiece.
Bengal batsmen have struggled throughout the tournament. Their pathetic performance had forced the selectors and the team management to make quite a number of changes in the squad as well as tinker with the batting combination.
In the quarter final, however, the changes seemed to have worked as the move to send Wriddhiman Saha and Sreevats Goswami as openers clicked, with Bengal registering a 10-wicket victory over the Karnataka.
But it was all back to square one for the defending champions as their batsmen surrendered tamely.
Had it not been for a fantastic 87-run knock by Manoj Tiwary and his 73-run partnership with captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla (30), Bengal could not have even posted a respectable total.
Parvinder Awana drew the first blood by clean bowling Wriddhiman Saha and after that Narwal and Sangwan ripped apart the Bengal middle-order. Sood played his part by cleaning up the tail.
Delhi also did not have a good start, losing opener Dhruv Shorey (10) early but its middle-order responded well. Unmukt Chand, who opened with Shorey scored 22 while Gambhir scored 69 off 78 balls.
Delhi lost Chand and Milind Kumar (18) while Gambhir batted superbly from the other end.
Delhi needed only 23 runs when Gambhir was dismissed by Anustup Majumdar and Rajat Bhatia (28) and Jagrit Anand (7) steered the side to a comfortable win.