Railways batsmen rubbed liberal amounts of salt into Bengal's wounds on the final day of the Ranji Trophy semi-final at the Karnail Singh Stadium, Delhi. Having already ensured their place in the Ranji finals with a massive 232-run first inings lead, the Railwaymen proceeded to bat out the rest of the day before declaring at 380 for 3 in their second innings, at which point play was called off.
In the morning, overnight not out batsmen Amit Pagnis and first innings centurion Tejinder Pal Singh added 40 runs before Singh was dismissed for 33. Pagnis, then, combined with new man Yere Goud to add 61 runs for the third wicket. The former Mumbai player made 98 before being dismissed by off-spinner Saurashish Lahiri. The 238-ball knock punctuated with six fours, coupled with the 81 in the first innings, signalled a welcome return to form for Pagnis.
Goud and No. 5 Raza Ali then put on a rousing 144-run stand off 46.4 overs. Ali was the dominant partner scoring exactly a hundred of these runs. Smashing the ball with gay abandon, the Railways middle-order batsman stroked nine boundaries and lofted three muscular sixes to reach his ton in just 145 deliveries.
Goud, the Mr Reliable of the Railways batting, was unbeaten on 61 off 205 balls when play was called off.
Railways now play defending champions Baroda in what will be a repeat of the 2000-2001 Ranji final. The Railwaymen, who seem to have run into peak form at the right time, will be hoping to avenge last year's defeat and run out winners this time around.