Madhya Pradesh defeated Bengal in the semifinals to reach the final © Getty
Bengal vs Madhya Pradesh, 1st Semifinal
Madhya Pradesh reached the final of the Ranji Trophy for the first time since the 1998-99 season after a comprehensive 174-point win against Bengal on Saturday (June 18). Bengal, who had a target for 350, folded for 175 with Kumar Kartikeya taking a five-wicket haul in the second innings. Gaurav Yadav and Saransh Jain split five wickets, while skipper Abhimanyu Easwaran (78) was the only half-centurion for Bengal in their second essay.
Bengal started the day 96 for 4, which quickly became 97 for 5 when Anustup Majumdar fell for 8. Easwaran and Shahbaz Ahmed tried to keep Bengal stable as they entered into a 38-run partnership before the Bengal captain was bowled out by Kartikeya. Sayan Mondal and Pradipta Pramanik also fell in quick succession as Bengal slid back to 145 for 8. Akash Deep and Shahbaz only delayed the inevitable with their 26-run stand as Gaurav took the last two wickets.
Himanshu Mantri’s 165 in the opening innings, along with Akshat Raghuwanshi’s 63, set the stage for Madhya Pradesh to finish with a challenging total of 341. Manoj Tiwary and Shahbaz Ahmed scored centuries in Bengal’s response, but lack of contributions from the rest meant she bowled out for 273 to allow a 68-point lead. Kartikeya, Saransh and Puneet Datey each took three wickets. Aditya Shrivastava (82) and Rajat Patidar (79) helped Madhya Pradesh to finish with 281 in their second innings, giving Bengal a 300-plus run goal that turned out to be way out of their reach.
Short scores: Madhya Pradesh 341 (Himanshu Mantri 165, Akshat Raghuwanshi 63; Mukesh Kumar 4-66) & 281 (Aditya Shrivastava 82, Rajat Patidar 79; Shahbaz Ahmed 5-79) beat Bengal 273 (Shahbaz Ahmed 116, Manoj Tiwary 102; Puneet Datey 3-48) & 175 (Abhimanyu Easwaran 78; Kumar Kartikeya 5-67, Gaurav Yadav 3-19) with 174 runs.
Mumbai vs Uttar Pradesh, 2nd Semifinal
Mumbai entered the final based on their first innings lead against Uttar Pradesh, as they continued their dominant display with the bat on the final day of the match. Sarfaraz Khan and Shams Mulani went undefeated for half a century as Mumbai scored 533 for 4 in their second innings before the teams shook hands before the draw. This will be Mumbai’s 47th appearance in the final of the Ranji Trophy, with the domestic heavyweights having won the competition a record 41 times.
Mumbai scored 393 in their first innings, with centuries from Yashasvi Jaiswal and Hardik Tamore, while Mulani also hit half a century in the first innings. Three wickets each for Tushar Deshpande, Mohit Avasthi and Tanush Kotian kept Uttar Pradesh at 180, with Shivam Mavi’s 48 being the highest score. If anything, Mumbai had plenty of batting practice in the second innings, as they played 156 overs for their 500-plus total, with Yashasvi Jaiswal (181) and Armaan Jaffer (127) coming up with impressive hits. Prithvi Shaw also struck for half a century after being rejected without scoring in the first essay.
Short scores: Mumbai 393 (Hardik Tamore 115, Yashasvi Jaiswal 100; Karan Sharma 4-46) & 533/4 Dec. (Yashasvi Jaiswal 181, Armaan Jaffer; Prince Yadav 2-92) tied with Uttar Pradesh 180 (Shivam Mavi 48; Tushar Deshpande 3-34, Tanush Kotian 3-35). Mumbai progress on first-innings lead.