Maharashtra seamer Samad Fallah produced magical figures of 7/54 to wreck Bengal on Day One of the Ranji Trophy semifinal at the Holkar Stadium here on Saturday. Bengal were bundled out for 114 — their lowest-ever total against this side — in just 41.4 overs. Maharashtra ended the day at 164/4, already 50 to the good.
The day belonged entirely to Fallah and his 11th five-wicket haul. The Hyderabad-born, Pune-based pacer produced superb analysis of 16.4-3-58-7 over two spells. Four of those wickets came in the first spell. Fallah removed each of the top four batsman — Koushik Ghosh (1), top-scorer Arindam Das (37), Abhimanyu Easwaran (11), and Sudip Chatterjee (0) — with his incisive bowling. He also removed skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla (14), Sourav Sarkar (8) and last man Shib Paul (0). As many as six Bengal batsmen failed to reach double figures. Why, five of those failed to breach even the five-run mark.
Fallah was well supported by Domnic Joseph, who replaced the injured all-rounder Shrikanth Mundhe. While Joseph was disciplined all along, Anupam Sanklecha troubled the batsmen with his inswingers.
Later, openers Harshad Khadiwale (28) and Chirag Khurana (48) put up a 78-run opening stand. Maharashtra were reduced to 91/3 but Kedar Jadhav (40) saved them from the blushes.
Brief Scores: Bengal 114 all out in 41.4 overs (A Das 37, W Saha 29; S Fallah 7/58) vs Maharashtra 164/4 (C Khurana 48, K Jadhav 40, A Bawne 37*; A Dinda 2/45, L Shukla 2/45)
No play in Mohali
The first day of the second semifinal between Punjab and Karnataka was washed out. Mohali’s PCA Stadium is hosting this game. If the match doesn’t produce a winner after five days, there will be an extra day to ensure at least a first-innings result.