Ranji Trophy: Samad Fallah swings it for Maharashtra

Left-arm pacer’s seven-wicket haul has West Bengal on the mat 

Indore: Maharashtra left-arm pacer Samad Fallah picked a seven-wicket haul to put his team in a strong position against Bengal on day one of the Ranji Trophy semi-final at the Holkar Stadium here on Saturday.

Maharashtra’s Samad Fallah during their quarter-final match against Mumbai earlier this month
Maharashtra’s Samad Fallah during their quarter-final match against Mumbai earlier this month

Fallah’s burst led to Bengal getting bowled out for 114 in 41.4 overs after the opposition put them in. Maharashtra were 164 for four at stumps, leading by 50 runs. Ankit Bawne (37) and Rohit Motwani (8) were in the middle.

On the eve of the semi-final clash, Fallah, who is playing his 50th first-class match, reminded mediapersons that he is closing in on his 200th wicket. At the end of Day One’s play, Fallah is just two short of the milestone.

Fallah was also impressive in the quarter-final match against 40-time champions Mumbai at the Wankhede Stadium where he four in the first innings and three scalps in the second essay, as Mumbai slumped to a shocking eight-wicket loss.

Not getting carried away
However, Fallah’s best in first-class cricket is 8-98 in Pune against Baroda. Fallah said his aim was to make the batsmen play. “I did not get carried away seeing a green wicket and tried to make the batsmen play as much as possible,” he told reporters after day’s play. 

Fallah’s idol is Pakistani swing ace Wasim Akram. “Wasim Akram is my idol and I am trying to learn and bowl like him. Of course, he is tall and I am a bit on the shorter side, so cannot do all that he did with the ball,” said Fallah, who met his hero during a clinic in New Delhi to spot fast bowlers. 

Jadhav, Chirag shine
The other contributions came from Harshad Khadiwale (28), Chirag Khurana (48) and Kedar Jadhav (40), who is among the India probables for the World Twenty20 in March-April.

Laxim Ratan Shukla and speedster Ashok Dinda shared the wickets for Bengal, who already find themselves on the back foot.

Shukla had India U-19 star Vijay Zol leg before besides removing opener Khadiwale. Dinda removed Khurana and Jadhav. 

Brief scores: Bengal 114 all out (Arindam Das 37; Samad Fallah 7-58) Maharashtra 164 for four (H Khadiwale 28, Chirag Khurana 48, Kedar Jadhav 40, Ankit Bawne 37 batting; Ashok Dinda 2-45, LR Shukla 2-45)  

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