Delhi coach KP Bhaskar has said his players were fired up ahead of their Ranji Trophy semi-final as a result of comments from Manoj Tiwary, the Bengal captain. On the eve of the match, Tiwary had brought up the fractious 2015 meeting between the two sides, in which Bengal had taken the first-innings lead. It was also the match that saw Tiwary and Gautam Gambhir get into a heated exchange on the field.
“Delhi would not have forgotten that we had taken the first-innings lead against them in 2015,” Tiwary had said. “And if they have forgotten that, we will remind them on the field from tomorrow.”
Before the semi-final, Bengal had been getting the better of Delhi in recent meetings, taking the first-innings lead four times in five matches and winning the other one outright. On Tuesday, Delhi broke that run of results, bowling Bengal out for 86 in their second innings to wrap up victory by an innings and 26 runs.
Speaking to the media after the match, Bhaskar said Tiwary’s comments had been needless, and also questioned Bengal’s tactics.
“It was uncalled for,” Bhaskar said. “I thought they were probably overconfident, getting 850 [695 for 6] against Gujarat. How can you go with four bowlers against a side like Delhi with Gautam and some of the youngsters around? Probably that means they were relying more on their batting.”
Tiwary, though, remained defiant and reasoned that a bit of chatter was necessary.
“We did remind them [about Delhi having conceded the lead],” he said. “There is no two ways about it. I haven’t said that we we were going to beat them hands down. Let them say whatever they want to. It’s our fault and we didn’t capitalise on the start we got. Obviously we have to disturb the batsmen in the middle. But we have to give credit to their openers who played really well. But that’s the way the game goes.”
On Bengal’s capitulation in the second innings, Tiwary said the batsmen lacked “a little bit of skill, a little bit of determination and mental strength.”
“In a game, there are periods where the time comes where you have to be mentally prepared and determined, which we didn’t do,” he said. “But I am proud of them and credit to them for doing well all season. It’s a time where people want quick results but we need to give time. There were 15 centuries in the season which something Bengal isn’t used to. We are producing [quality] players as well.”
Bhaskar said he didn’t expect the match to finish so early, and reiterated his surprise at Bengal’s decision to bat first on what he felt was a damp pitch. He was also effusive in his praise for his young team.
“Guys like Kunal Chandela have been a revelation,” he said. “Vikas Tokas played a gritty innings today along with Himmat Singh. Tokas has a slight hamstring tear, but he should recover [ahead of the final]. He bowled his heart out today.”