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All-round Bengal roar into Ranji Trophy final

3rd March 2020
As Mukesh Kumar ripped through the Karnataka middle and lower order 13-year wait was over as Bengal entered the final of Ranji Trophy defeating Karun Nair and men by 174 runs today at Eden Gardens.
Bengal took just 109 minutes on the fourth day to wrap things up with more than one and half days of play left against a mighty Karnataka team crafted with big names like K L Rahul, Manish Pandey and Karun Nair.
Resuming the day on 98/3 Karnataka’s hopes for the finals dealt early blow by Mukesh who sent experienced campaigner Manish back to the pavilion on 12 as Shreevats Goswami caught him behind the stumps while the young Bengal pacer further continued his fiery bowling to send Siddharth K and S Sarath back to the pavilion without scoring any runs and reduce Karnataka to 103/6.
Bengal coach Arun Lal said: “It’s the intent of the team, the hardwork that brought us here. A lot of hardwork went behind this and not only players but also CAB and our fantastic support staff.”
"He's in great form at the moment. He's bowling deliveries that can get big batsmen out, like a K.L. Rahul or a Virat Kohli. He's doing that kind of bowling, He's bowling in that channel. You won't see him bowling one outside leg stump. He's testing you all the time. He doesn't give too many runs, that's another pressure. K.L. Rahul is at the peak of his ability at the moment. He's magnificent, terrific. It's a great achievement to get him out cheaply," he added.
With more 245 runs to win this game Karnataka lost the man who was battling a lone fight out there against a potent Bengal bowling attack as Devdut Padikkal became Mukesh’s fifth victim on 62 and Ishan Porel who bagged five in the first innings got rid off Krishnappa Gowtham to virtually finish all the hopes for the visitors.
With only 2 wickets left Karnataka batters tried to go for big hits and were cleaned up by Mukesh and Akash Deep.
Bengal pacers continued their lethal form as Mukesh bagged 8 wickets, Porel took 7 while Akash got the rest of the 5 in a match that Bengal’s experienced batter and Man of the semifinal match Anustup Majumdar made a career defining unbeaten 149.
With one proverbial monkey off the back the other one a 30-year-wait for lifting the trophy beckons on the team as charged Bengal get ready to take on whoever is the opponent in final.

Rio Dutta