Xtra Time Web Desk: Riding on a dominant all-round performance, Bengal stormed into the Ranji Trophy final after thrashing defending champions Madhya Pradesh by a massive 306 runs in the semi-final clash at the Holkar Stadium in Indore on Sunday.
Bengal, who last won the Ranji title back in 1989-90 season, will next face Saurashtra, who beat Karnataka by 4 wickets in the other semi-final.
Bengal will host the final against Saurashtra, by virtue of having secured more points than its fellow finalist in the group stage.
“There is a long way to go still. We have not yet achieved anything great so that we can celebrate. I can only say the boys are playing well and captain Manoj Tiwary is leading from the front,” said Bengal head coach L R Shukla said.
“The atmosphere is really good in the dressing room. The players are playing hard and backing each other. Of course, the team is happy on reaching the final. But they are focused. Winning the Ranji Trophy is a great motivation and flying the CAB flag high is something each and every one of us wants to do,” Bengal skipper Manoj Tiwary said.
The much-awaited final scheduled to take place at the Eden starting on Thursday, will once again be a repeat of the 2019-20 title decider, and Bengal will aim for revenge at home after being beaten by Saurashtra back then.
The star of the semi-final for Bengal was Akash Deep, who wrecked the home side with his six wickets in the match. Anustup Majumdar and Sudip Kumar Gharami also contributed heavily scoring 200 and 153 runs respectively in the match. While Pradipta Pramanik also impressed with his all-round skills, scoring an unbeaten 60, followed by a superb five-wicket haul in the second innings.
Earlier, in the fifth and final day of the semi-final clash, Bengal posted 279 in their second innings, thereby setting a mammoth 548-run target for the reigning champions.
Chasing a massive score, Madhya Pradesh got off to a positive start, thanks to openers Yash Dubey (30) and Himanshu Mantri (16).
But Shahbaz Ahmed and Akash Deep got rid of the openers to reduce the home side to 67/2.
Rajat Patidar (52) and Shubham Sharma (24) played sensibly to score some handy runs but the target was too tall to chase on a final day pitch.
Young left-arm spinner Pradipta didn’t let the batters settle in as he dismissed Shubham and incoming batter Venkatesh Iyer (19) while Mukesh Kumar got rid of Patidar to have half their side back in the hut at 179/5.
Thereafter, Pradipta also sent Kumar Kartikeya (6), Avesh Khan (0) and Gaurav Yadav (0) packing to bag a superb five-wicket haul and send his team into the final.
Courtesy: CAB Media